The tugboat and the snowboarder

It’s just a messy pile of color – seven pieces of construction paper that I drew at random this morning and tossed on the board.

What I saw in the pile was pleasant because of the colors. But no one would say it had beauty.

I played. The triangles suggested mountains. First I did “A Stoplight in the Mountains,” but it was awkward:

Stoplight in the Mountains

Then I saw the triangles as sound waves, and made “The Blast of a Stereo.”

The Blare of a Stereo

It might suggest sound, but not beauty.

Then I grouped the primary colors together, and saw a tugboat floating on a river. I put the mountains in the background. All those horizontal lines and the pastel mountains make for a tranquil scene:


Though the composition is too cramped due to the size of the board, I see potential for beauty. The mountains are peaceful, receding; they make a calm backdrop that contrasts with the bright tugboat moving smoothly through the water.

There were others – a joyful singer, a jumble of blocks going down a chute – and they came together in a fast-flying snowboarder:


Her energy comes from the color contrasts and the uneven, angular pitch of the pieces.

It feels something like beauty. To me.

I know that, like “art,” there’s no definition of “beauty” everyone would agree on.

Here’s how I define it today:

Beauty is the realization of the fullness of life.

Today’s penny is a 1985, the year I learned to ski.

1985 Jan 26