I asked my friend and watercolor artist Ann Schaffer to share what motivates her artwork. She does wonderful paintings that allow the viewer to wallow in the beauty of the immediate. In our conversations I discovered that Ann is committed to bringing more beauty to the world as an act of resistance. I asked her to share her work and tell me a little more about her thinking on art, beauty and the world.
Thoughts on Beauty as Resistance, by Ann Schaffer
My paintings are about beauty and the power of beauty to resist all that is soul stifling in this world. My current paintings of flowers are all about beauty and the power of beauty to resist all that is soul stifling in this world.
I have long been inspired by how those with the least in the most difficult circumstances create beauty out of nothing in a declaration of life, existence, and resistance to the oppressive circumstances that surround them. Just as the Cherokee nation, herded onto reservations in Oklahoma in the 1800’s by an oppressive government, beaded their ration cards. Just as in the poorest shanty towns of Nairobi, where I saw pieces of colored glass hung in windows. Just as the quilters of Gee’s Bend Alabama took their old clothes and turned them into works of art to shelter their bodies. All these acts and many, many more say to me….’We are human and you can’t have our souls.’ The making of beauty and of art says that we are alive and we have this beauty within us.
The flowers in these paintings are large and powerful in their delicacy. They interact with their environments and still emerge as whole. These are simple flowers that represent strength and hope, that represent beauty as resistance.
Thank you Ann!