Art and soul

The eye is meant to see things. The soul is here for its own joy.” –Rumi

RumibetterFor collectors of inspirational quotes, the ecstatic poems of the Persian mystic Rumi are pure gold. I find most of my favorites in one of the finest anthologies of Rumi’s work, The Soul of Rumi, translated by the incredible Coleman Barks. “The Soul is here for its own joy” is such a powerful line that I just had to use it in a collage earlier this year.

Click on the images for a detailed view. You’ll note that the dress was assembled from magazine ads and scraps of wrapping paper. The word “ops” appears on the elbow of the figure. This was totally unintentional; I didn’t notice it until after I layered another coat of glaze on the piece. Talk about a message for a recovering perfectionist!

13 thoughts on “Art and soul

  1. OMG BatGirl – you knocked this out of the ballpark. When I opened up your blog it sent chills up and down my spine, literally. WOW what an inspirational piece this is – I really haven’t seen anything quite like it in a while. LOL on the OPS! Yes, chuckling in my office and no one is hear to see me. I may have to try something like this soon. Love the idea of the magazine ads as the dress. I’m telling you, you are an inspiration to me, literally. Hugs and take time for yourself while you take care of your Mom. M

  2. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned here it in the past, if I have please forgive my forgetfulness. I graduated from UGA and had a writing class with Coleman Barks. I loved him and not just because I received an A in his class, but because he was such an interesting person. He wore flip flops and wrinkled shorts and he wrote his notes on napkins at the local Waffle House restaurant. Have you heard the recordings of Coleman reading Rumi’s poems? He has a great voice.

    Even though it was 25 years ago, I still have a paper that I wrote for his class with his grading and notes on it.

  3. Elizabeth, you didn’t tell me about your Coleman Barks experience before, and now I am insanely jealous, envious. What an amazing experience that must have been. I attended a reading he did years ago with Robert Bly — a wonderful moment. I just ordered a new Rumi book — a poem a day with Rumi sort of thing — edited by Barks. Can’t wait. Thanks for sharing your story!

  4. an inspiring and uplifting piece of visual art! And ONLY a perfectionist would point out the “ops.” I would have never noticed it. Well, maybe many viewings later and then I would wonder what enigmatic thing you meant to say.

  5. Thanks, Tara! Actually, I’m sort of tickled with the “oops” on the elbow. One of my favorite things about the process of making art — especially mixed-media collage — is that “mistakes” or surprises often turn out to be the most interesting parts of a piece. You can’t say that about mistakes in writing … which is why, for me, artwork is a lot more fun than writing, when you get right down to it 🙂

  6. hmmm…starlife, coleman Barks, Rumi and now YOU!. I’m so happy to be here, talking with you and….allowing myself (my soul) the space-time to experience joy.

    I’m so fascinated with the ways that art crosses borders – and so I ask, “how does art shape your writing?”

  7. Candee, I am happy to see you here, and am very excited to discover your work as well (thank you, Starrlife!) Like you, I am intrigued by the connection between art and writing. I’ve always loved both. When I am blocked, or just can’t figure out what I have to say on paper, I always head upstairs to the art studio and start making something, anything. Shifting to a different medium always helps.

    Likewise, I consider cooking and housework to be art/craft as well. Nothing clears my head better than cleaning a room, or even the top of my desk! 🙂

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