Cherry Blossoms

If you’ve lived in the DC area for more than 21 years, why would ya be crazy enough to brave the crowds and visit the Cherry Blossoms at their peak blooming season around the Tidal Basin — we all know what they look like? Good question. I try my best to avoid crowds and we have beautiful cherry blossoms on my street but I was inspired by this time last year, when my father passed away on April 2nd. I wanted to enjoy nature in its glorious abundance and take some lovely photos to document the moment. I noticed, however, I concentrated on the colors and the blossoms themselves, while everyone else seemed to be photographing each other and their neighbor with the cherry blossoms as a backdrop.

My husband and I lucked out in that we got to experience two events for our efforts. The annual kite flying festival around The Washington Memorial was also taking place. This and the cherry blossoms were pretty spectacular — all worth the effort of fighting the hoards of people, which I was pretty amazed by, afterall. It was an artistic venture inspired by family. We finally made it to Chinatown for a well deserved respite.

Accidental flash lights only Metro Guards by C. Ashley SpencerIncredible Long Lines in Metro by C. Ashley Spencer

Kite Festival by C. Ashley SpencerKite Festival/Close Up by C. Ashley SpencerForsythia in Bloom by C. Ashley Spencer

Jaw Dropping Traffic by C. Ashley SpencerThomas Jefferson Memorial by C. Ashley SpencerTJ Memorial and Basin by C. Ashley SpencerCherry Blossom by C. Ashley Spencer

Cherry Blossom Sun Blanket by C. Ashley Spencer Blossom Branch by C. Ashley Spencer
Sunlit China Town Gate by C. Ashley Spencer

And, what started this sentimental journey, Cherry Blossoms on April 2, 2007.

Cherry Blossom Street, 4/2/07 by C. Ashley Spencer

These photos capturing Nature’s beauty bring me peace as I travel back to New Orleans for a family reunion. I have the season’s renewal on my mind.

What is Art?

What is art? That’s an age old question isn’t it because art is subjective and means different things to different people. First, here’s the Webster’s Dictionary definition of art: “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” This begs the question is all art beautiful? I think it’s for the individual to decide but typically the artist wants to create something that impacts and connects with the viewer, whether it’s beauty or evoking a raw emotion. For me, there are a few criteria that I deem art worthy: 1) the artwork should connect on a humanistic, even inexplicable level, 2) when this happens, it is artistic purity, 3) to be pure, it should be appealing, and even beautiful and this can also evoke emotions of sadness as well as joy and laughter, 4) this requires skill, craftmanship and patience to achieve, 5) the best art, is that which exemplifies all of the aforementioned at once in the most profound, moving and memorable way. Even as an artist, it’s hard for me to put into words what is art exactly. I’m so used to just doing it and not explaining it. I love creating art and I always work with the goal to express God’s given beauty that surrounds life.

In looking for this answer to this question about art, I found Whit Whittlings’ informational blog post on What is Art — Today? I remember watching this 7 minute claymation video, Creature Comforts USA – Art, on TV when it first aired and just laughing hysterically. It includes animated folks imitated as animals while they are interviewed about the meaning of art. All of the YouTube videos that he’s collected for this post are worth watching but this one is artistic in an of itself.

Here’s a family photo that was “staged” on our road trip to New Orleans — just two weeks before Katrina in August 2005. Hopefully a certain iconographic painting will come to mind:
Card Group by the Spencer Family“A Friend in Need”/Dogs Playing Cards by C.M. Coolidge