How to See the Beauty Around Us (partial re-print)
(click on photo's to enlarge)
all languages, one of our earliest expressions is ‘let me see!’”—William
little child who stares at the fluttering butterfly, the elderly couple who gaze
at a glorious sunset, the housewife who admires her display of roses—all are
momentarily focusing their attention on beauty.
the beauty of God’s creation is everywhere, it isn’t necessary to travel
hundreds of miles to behold it. Awe-inspiring scenery may be distant, but
impressive art can be found in your neighborhood if you look for it and—more
important—if you know how to look for it.
has often been noted that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” However,
although the beauty is there, not everyone will spot it. It may take a painting
or a photograph to make us sit up and take notice. In fact, many artists believe
that their success depends more on their ability to see than to draw. The book The
Painter’s Eye, by Maurice Grosser, explains that “the painter
draws with his eyes, not with his hands. Whatever he sees, if he sees it clear,
he can put down. . . . Seeing clear is the important thing.”
we are artists or not, we can learn to see more clearly, to notice the beauty
around us. In other words, we need to go out and look at things in a new light.
this regard John Barrett, a writer on natural history, emphasizes the value of
personal involvement. “Nothing replaces seeing for oneself, touching, smelling
and listening to living animals and plants with all the forces of nature acting
upon them,” he says. “Let the beauty sink in . . . Wherever one may be,
first look, enjoy and look again.”
what should we look for? We could start by learning to notice the four basic
elements of beauty. These elements can be discerned in almost every facet of
Jehovah’s creation. The more often we pause to observe them, the more we will
enjoy his art.
the Elements of Beauty
and Patterns. We live in a world of multiple forms. Some are
linear like the columns of a clump of bamboo or geometric like a spider’s web,
whereas others are shapeless like a cloud that changes constantly. Many forms
are attractive, whether they be an exotic orchid, the spirals of a seashell, or
even the branches of a tree that has shed its leaves.
the same form is repeated, it creates a pattern that may also be visually
appealing. For example, imagine a stand of tree trunks in a forest. Their
forms—each one different, yet similar—create a pleasing pattern. But to
discern the forms and the pattern they create, there must be light.
The distribution of light gives a special quality to the forms we find
attractive. Details are highlighted, the texture is colored, and a mood is
created. Light varies according to the time of day, the season of the year, the
weather, and even the place where we live. A cloudy day with its diffused light
is ideal for appreciating the subtle tones of wildflowers or autumn leaves,
whereas the crags and peaks of a mountain range show off their dramatic forms
when sculptured by the rising or setting sun. The soft, wintry sunlight of the
Northern Hemisphere lends romance to a pastoral landscape. On the other hand,
the bright sun of the Tropics converts the shallow sea into a transparent
wonderland for snorkelers.
there is still an important element missing.
It gives life to the different objects we see around us. While their form may
distinguish them, their color highlights their uniqueness. Furthermore, the
distribution of color in harmonious patterns creates its own beauty. It may be a
vibrant color like red or orange that cries out for our attention, or a relaxing
color like blue or green.
a patch of yellow flowers in a glade. The light catches the yellow blossoms,
which seem to glow in the morning air, while dark tree trunks fringed by the
morning sun form a perfect backdrop. Now we have a picture. All we need to do is
“frame” it, which is where composition comes in.
The way in which the three basic elements—form, light, and color—combine
determines the composition. And here we, as observers, have a crucial role to
play. Just by moving slightly forward, backward, to one side, higher, or lower,
we can adjust the elements or the lighting in our picture. We can thus crop the
picture to include only the elements that we desire.
we automatically compose a picture when we come across a magnificent view that
is framed by nearby trees or vegetation. But many exquisite pictures, on a
smaller scale, may be underneath our feet.
the Small and the Great
God’s handiwork both big and small are beautiful, and our pleasure will be
multiplied if we learn to see the details, which also combine pleasingly. They
form miniature paintings that are scattered across nature’s large canvas. To
appreciate them, all we need to do is stoop down and take a closer look.
pictures within a picture are described by photographer John Shaw in his book Closeups
in Nature: “It never ceases to amaze me that a close view of a
natural detail always invites an even closer view. . . . First we see the great
vista, then a patch of color in one corner of the frame. A closer look reveals
flowers and, on one flower, a butterfly. Its wings reveal a distinct pattern,
the pattern is produced by a precise arrangement of wing scales, and each scale
is perfect in and of itself. If we could truly understand the perfection that
makes up that one butterfly wing scale, we could conceivably start to understand
the perfection of the scheme that is nature.”
Apart from the aesthetic pleasure it gives us, nature’s art—both large and small—can draw us closer to our Creator. “Raise your eyes high up and see,” exhorted Jehovah. By stopping to see, to gaze, and to wonder, whether we fix our sights on the starry heavens or any other of God’s creations, we are reminded of the One “who has created these things.”—Isaiah 40:26................
Do you have an article or thought to share? If so, please feel free to submit it to me for submission. If it is in good taste and in harmony with this Website, I will post it for everyone to enjoy.
© No Copyright 1999.2009 Don Leske II / webmaster BCIwire.com
*Free to share with everyone... I have NO copyright.