I wrote my "This I Believe" essay because I wanted to portray my profound love of art and rich color. I portrayed in my piece how art has changed me. I would be empty without it dancing in my eyes and showing up whereever I look. I was inspired by visiting museums and gazing at Frida Kahlo paintings and Richard Avedon photographs for hours, just being free, letting the art soak through me. Also, I was inspired by my Grana’s artwork. In my writing piece, I portrayed how art changed me. While writing this piece I learned who I was, and I found myself through art.

I Know Why Dying Flowers Bloom in the Artist’s Hand

The blues of Georgia O’Keefe’s clouds seep into each other revealing strokes fluid and distinct. As blue as eyes, the sky gleams, clouds float fluffy and white like satin sheets. I can feel them in my fingers and sealed over my body like a freshly licked envelope. As the clouds disappear into the distance, the blues and whites fall like rain in the palm of my hand, blending and transforming my own strokes to paper.

    I watch my Grana’s strokes, dots, and textures intensely. I follow every wiggly rattle snake, pink tulip, red rose, little bumble bee, pointy cactus, bottle cap heart, or “year of the black man” face, painted on bones she retrieves from her farm.  Everything is done flawlessly, without a thought; she just starts. My Grana’s painting of a bleeding heart cries her blood; it drips in beautiful swirls of deep reds: rose red, the brick red of the earth, the red of wine, and the red of her blood.  I am happy that she invites me inside her scarred and complicated heart. We drink jasmine tea, and I see and understand her soul. She opens in a way that she can never speak of. I truly know her through her art.

    Richard Avedon’s photographs portray a beauty that I have never seen captured by the human eye. The portraits he takes capture wrinkled faces with bags under the eyes, the simplicity of a young woman, her black hair tied back in a knot, or the kindness and complexity of a homeless man with no one left to love him. The black and white photographs are hung on the walls of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, my source of inspiration. Grana’s farm overlooking the red earth of North Carolina is also my pull into a new world filled with magic and no judgment. The setting of glowing trees, yellow like they were dipped in the sun or the setting of the city overflowing with abstract people, brings excitement to naive me and a source to find myself through art.

    Jean Michele Basquiat draws with yellows from the sunset and crazy colors like wacky characters! His mind and art are so different from what my caramel eyes have ever seen before. There is a childish way about everything he paints, yet his work ties together in a tight package, the brown paper bulging art, art, art! When I see his work, I see a free mind, pained, but free.

    Frida Kahlo paints with the spices of españa and beautiful colors that weave and work together to form something rich with life and heartache; it takes my breath away. There is a clarity to every flower, self-portrait, tear, and drip of sadness. She has an eye for beauty, an eye that sees something more than what is.

    I see these paintings and photographs, dissecting them to truly see them. I look so close I can read the intentions of the artist. I see the strokes of the wooden paintbrush, a chalk pencil, or a camera that captures feelings in the lens.  By observing art and people, my creativity is set free. It’s like a whole new world has opened up to me, and life seems so much more worth living. I feel like I have been changed when I see art, art that is expressed in any way. Art can be expressed in any way, whether it is paint on canvas, old photographs, graffiti, birthday cards, fashion, music, dance, trees, flowers, and words that fit together so elegantly. Art is everywhere I look.

    I now know why dying flowers bloom in the artist’s hand. They embrace the glowing sun and let the color deepen through their roots; they transform to be rich and alive. I feel my inner red rose blossoming, and I know I am truly living; my creativity has been set free.


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