Florida painter, Everglades, Marco Island, artist Jo-Ann Sanborn


What is Art? At Water's Edge daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

At Water's Edge
5x7, acrylic on board

Today's daily painting of a still morning at the edge of the swamp reminds me of the quiet places in my soul. Elusive, but treasured when I can find my way there.

What is art? Empty Easel asked this question on their blog this week. The question provoked thought, so I've done a little research on the subject.

Many of the objects we value and admire in museums are useful, if beautiful, objects of everyday living in the past. For centuries those with the means to have beautiful things around them did, and those who could not envied them.

The idea of art as art emerged during the Renaissance when beautiful objects became valued for themselves rather than being something practical and useful. Then along came Andy Warhol who showed us that almost anything can be art, totally confusing many people.

How to determine whether beautiful, everyday things are crafts, or might be art? Tolstoy says it is only " upon this capacity of man (the viewer) to receive another man's expression of feeling (the artist) and experience those feelings himself, that the activity of art is based."

Artist Shelley Essak, in her essay What is Art for about.com makes sense with her answer of form and content. Form being the design and materials, and content being the artists portrayal of intention and our reaction to it.

An artist works at creating art because they have a need to create, to find ourselves and our spirit through our work. Yet the reaction and response of the viewer is as necessary to the art as is the need of the artist to create. What's your take?

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