When most people look at a painting they see the scenery, the atmosphere, the figures and the drama they are involved in. They see the whole picture. Maybe it has been my years of art history classes, seeing endless masterpieces on larger than life digital screens, but for me seeing an original painting, is like meeting someone for the first time. Walking through the rooms of the MFA is like catching up with old friends, seeing friendly faces around every corner, and having the honor of making new acquaintances.
And like any group of friends, every painting has its own striking personality. Its the brushstrokes. Most people look past them, but I can stare at them for hours, noticing every smooth curve or textured splatter. I always have the most obtruding desire to run my fingers over the layers of an oil landscape. Paintings become topographical maps of an artist working through their process. Pieces of art are windows to their creator's soul, who leave a part of themselves in every painting. But its the brushstrokes that are the connection from the artist to the canvas. They are what is left as a passage through time to see the artist's perspective, leaving behind a personality for us to analyze and enjoy while comparing Van Gogh's furious and destructive passion to Monet's delicate serenity. Museums, while inspiring to any artist's heart, are also comforting to mine. On this trip, I needed to surround myself with beauty and creativity, to let myself just stare for a while at brushstrokes that have become familiar and soothing.