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​ When Words Fail...

Posted by Elizabeth Toy on

Have you ever tried to explain something, but couldn’t quite find the right words?

Maybe said what you thought sounded right in your mind, but it “came out wrong?”
You’re not the only one. Sometimes words fail to express our ideas and feelings.  While language is a great way to communicate, sometimes words are just not enough to say exactly what we mean or feel.

What happens to all the emotions and ideas that don’t come across using words?

Many people and artists, especially, are familiar with the feeling and find solace in creating something to convey these very thoughts and ideas.

This week, I decided to ask our staff here at Maxwell Dickson how they feel about art as a means of communication.

Bart Cooper began drawing in pencil as a 3-year-old. As he’s grown in his life and skills, he admits, “Art helps my anxiety and is an escape from the normal, mundane world. It’s soothing and calming.”

There is freedom in art in that it allows one to disregard the boundaries that language sustains.

Whether an artist creates through painting, sculpting, sketching, building, welding, photography, dance, music, cooking, or even literature, art is one of the most therapeutic and freeing outlets to help us visualize or otherwise sense and experience a person’s ideas and thoughts.

“It’s easier to draw it than it is to speak because I’m more of a visual person. I try to use the least amount of words possible.” Bart says.

Our social media intern, Lauren Lamping, agrees, “I never felt confident in my skills to articulate my thoughts so that's where art comes in and helps me. I really take it as an opportunity to visualize my thoughts.”

As an artist herself, Lauren mostly sketches in graphite and the majority of her work is of female figures.

“Art is really visual, so assigning color to emotions and shapes helps me visualize my emotions. Sometimes (art) makes it more available for other people to relate (to you). As an artist, that’s your number one priority - to relate.”

Lauren feels that creating visual art is more freeing than some other mediums, “If you write, you might mean something so specific that others might not get it, but art is so open to interpretation that you can reach a fuller, wider audience.” 

One thing both Bart and Lauren have in common is the effect of nature on their creativity.

Bart turns to nature to find a sense of serenity in his life. “I go to the woods, the beach, a forest, basically away from the general population,” Cooper says.

Even though Lauren, like many artists, occasionally finds herself in a creative rut, she finds inspiration and calm in nature.

“I go to Harrison Park in Riverside. I’ll read a book or do a sketch and enjoy the breeze, trees, and sunlight. I feel a genuine connection to nature and animals and feel like I’m home. It’s nice, relatable. You don’t have to try so hard with nature, you feel it,” Lauren says.

Finding a space that nurtures peace and clear thinking is important when it comes to creating, in order to develop focus and direction in creating something that expresses the message of the artist and reaches others.

Art, as a whole, is meant to communicate and cannot be executed without an artist, artwork or audience.

Because Without the artist, there is no one to convey a message.
Without the artwork, we are limited to speech.
Without an audience, there is no one to share with.

Regardless of the form it takes, non-verbal communication through art is meant to share universal experiences and feelings, uniting people across the mediums of what we sense, think, and feel.

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