The following is an excerpt from “Beauty Unites Us” by plein air painter Rick Delanty.
The Beauty of Camaraderie
by Rick Delanty
I remember when my friend Jim Wodark phoned to ask if I wanted to paint together. I thanked him, but gave him four excuses why I wouldn’t be able to get out with him until the second week of next month.
When I hung up, I started thinking of what had been going on in Jim’s life: he had lost his father less than three months ago, and his brother last month. I value Jim’s friendship, and his painting skills have put him at the top of everyone who paints plein air in the nation. “I love to paint with Jim,” I told myself—“but I turned him down.”
So I called him back and asked if he’d like to paint in Laguna Beach next Tuesday, and Jim said Yes! It occurred to me that other artist-friends might like to support Jim, so I emailed four colleagues to invite them, too. They each responded within the next two hours that they would be there.
Tuesday came, and Jim and I got to the park early. One by one, the other artists showed, until all six of us were standing by the railing overlooking the cloudy ocean. It wasn’t a great day for painting the light, but the surprise in Jim’s face when he realized that we were all there for him was all the light we needed.
“I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.” ~ Robert Brault
About the book “Beauty Unites Us”
(from the introduction)
As a working artist, I have the privilege of being a professional observer of Beauty, and am constantly in a state of wonderment at the power of Creation that I see and feel. What we see in the natural world is the visual portfolio of the supreme Artist, the Creator, who has provided a world for us to enjoy.
As a landscape painter, creativity is a very important element in my life. It is the lens through which I see and sense the world. On a larger scale, I believe that the work of the artist is important work: creating and bringing beauty into the world in the face of sometimes challenging and destructive conditions.
In the spring of 2020, the world was just entering into the grip of a global pandemic. Extraordinary measures were being taken to prevent further illness and curb the loss of human lives.
That spring in my studio I continued to work. I was also painting en plein air in suddenly-deserted landscapes, national parks and beaches. My creative goal at the time was to create a body of work to be exhibited at a one-man show over a year later— in spring of 2021–at the Casa Romantica Cultural Center in San Clemente, California. I found myself painting more, and asking myself how I might use the abilities I have and the subject matter that I paint to bring a message of hope to a darkening world.
Some of the writings in this book appear here exactly as I posted them on Facebook during the 31 days of March 2020, accompanied by the hashtag #BeautyUnitesUs. Each post centered on some aspect of beauty, and included a painting and a quotation that might inspire readers to focus more on blessings than death and division. I was hoping that artistic inspiration would underline the evidence of the Beautiful in the world, and encourage others to appreciate it more deeply, both in Nature and each other.
The idea of creating a book that would combine paintings with the thoughts behind them had occurred to me before, but I had never been closer to pulling them all together into a collection than I was when I began writing daily. Asking for the Lord’s guidance, I moved ahead with the decision to publish my paintings and their inspiration as a book, focusing on the theme of Beauty, and how recognition of all that is good in life directly contradicts depression and hopelessness. The title of the book would be “Beauty Unites Us.”
Why do we flock to the hills or the coast to see a sunset, or marvel at the vastness of the Milky Way, thrill to the touch of a newborn’s tiny fingers, or profoundly respond to our pet’s unconditional love?
This book is about the reality of Beauty and the awe of what is wonderful: that the experience and appreciation of Beauty is good for the human race. Albert Einstein describes it this way: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”
Awe of the beautiful is part of our humanity. Awe binds us together as we realize that we are all part of Something much larger than any of us as individuals, more than we can imagine. Recognizing and wondering at Beauty gives us new perspectives, and enables us to see life with more possibility, like a scuba diver seeing new life forms underwater, or as astronauts see the earth from space. Beauty and the wonderment of living in that moment seem to break down barriers of “Self.” When the world looks larger, we can be inspired to live more generously. And that is most certainly better for our health, and the well-being of everyone around us.
I’m reaching out to you today to invite you to see the world through the lens of God’s beauty.
As you read this book and contemplate the paintings, I hope you will feel the same peace and identify with the deep appreciation for this wonderful world that I have experienced in creating this work.
If you’d like to order a copy of “Beauty Unites Us,” please contact Rick Delanty through delantyfineart.com.
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