My favorite college professor, Julie Marks Blackstone, painted these dreamy landscapes over the summer in New Mexico and the Oklahoma Panhandle. I always look forward to seeing the work that comes from her summer vacations. Each were painted outdoors in the “plein air” (French for “in the open air”) style. They make me want to pack up my paints, wear a big hat, and head outdoors to find a lonely place where the sky is wide and the horizon is long.
I first met Julie on my first day of class at OBU–in my first art class, color theory. This class was the foundation for understanding the connection with art and ideas. We were taught to “re-see” the world, because we all seem to lose the simplicity of sight as we process what we see through learned frameworks. And art, in a small way, is about the translation of the physical world. We are just the mediums.
I am so grateful to wonderful people like Julie that taught me more than art (the techniques, skills, and disciplines), but to trust my eyes and think for myself. To see the world truly, and embark on the removal of filters that distort truth–which is perhaps the greatest duty we encounter as we move along reality.
It takes work to unravel these constructs, but this is to see ourselves and the world around us in true color, line, and form–so we can respond in honesty and fairness. Sometimes this happens with paint and pencil, and other times with pursuits that demand action–but the end result is always a thing of value. Activism and art will continue to walk together, as one cannot reflect without response.