We took the trek to Indianapolis once again to our daughter’s house for Thanksgiving. She wanted to host the gathering since it was her first one there. So, my wife and mom brought some dishes and we spent time enjoying each other’s company, some incredible food and tons of laughter. My family has never been very sedentary. If there’s a chance to get out and enjoy some activity, then we’re going to do it.
We piled into a car on Friday and drove out to Newfields and the Indianapolis Museum of Art to see the newest immersive “Monet & Friends” exhibit. We had seen the VanGogh experience a few years ago and were excited to see what this would entail. You enter a room and find yourself surrounded by flowing images of artwork covering the various walls and the floor !! There is a soundtrack that compliments the show and pulls you deeper into the artwork. It’s not possible to see everything that happens. You don’t really need to. It’s better to get lost and flow with the colors, images and sounds.
Interspersed with the famous works of the French Impressionists were descriptive slides to give you context about the time, society and culture these artists experienced. One of the slides which caught my attention described how radical this group was because they broke for the traditional art world. Most art, up to that point in time, had been more portrait driven. Artists depicted historical and religious figures and scenes. The paintings looked more like what we would consider pictures taken by a camera or phone. They’re beautiful but they lacked much variety. The impressionists chose to paint everyday life and “common” people.
They looked at the world around them and captured the “impression” of the situation they personally observed. They also deviated from portraiture and created a new form of art using a full palette of colors and various levels of light. They didn’t consider the life moving around them as mundane. Everyday life had a purpose, and the artists wanted to make sure their canvas kept each moment in time perfectly frozen. The result of their efforts has made their work considered classic now.
As I stood enraptured in the ever-changing visuals, I wondered how many scenes have flown by me and I never even recognize they occurred. They didn’t warrant enough of my attention to warrant an impression. However, maybe they should have because I’m sure those scenes involved people. People who wanted to be seen, noticed, or acknowledged, and I was focused elsewhere. It doesn’t mean I was trying to be dismissive or ignore them, it’s just how we experience life.
I didn’t like that feeling whatsoever. If this small group of artists could stop in the midst of the bustle of Parisian life in order to put their brushes to canvas, why couldn’t I do the same? What’s keeping me from taking in the impressions happening all around and savoring them? Nothing. I can enjoy every situation if I just choose to.
I think this is a better approach to follow at home, at work, and with those whose paths we cross. Taking the time to enjoy the humans and the situations we find ourselves in gives life so much more fullness and depth. This coming week slow down, look around you and see what impressions are happening. Jump into them and put them on a “canvas” of memories. See how much each day becomes brighter and more purposeful !!
(To give you some initial inspiration here’s a great tune from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones !!)