Brown. An undistinguished color, common as dirt.
In academic regalia, other more brilliant colors are claimed by various fields of study, but Brown – that turned earth color, that dirt-that’s-been-rained-on color, that sometimes mud color – is reserved for the Fine Arts. It’s apparently the color for the composers, the performers, the visual artists who are earthbound yet are called upon to touch, just touch, and to point out to something sacred in us all. That turned earth that’s been rained on? That’s us artists. That mud color? That’s us.
It’s in our DNA, I suppose. We are a blend of earthly material, physical matter with a density that results in a muddy color as when blending many paints. But the rain, the inspiration and the warmth can bring forth newness from the common dirt. Even cool temperatures can call forth life.
My hope for Fine Arts grads this season: Stay humble and enjoy your bit of earth. Cultivate it, prepare it, be ready like any farmer who watches and prays… like the farmer, the artist prepares to feed many people in and beyond acquaintance.
On his website, painter Madison Cawein writes: “Why do paintings hang on walls? To connect earth to heaven…We also stand vertically, perpendicular to the earth. Connecting earth to heaven is also our purpose.”
Congratulations, Fine Arts graduates. Now let’s get to work.