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Do you love to dance, sing, write, sculpt, paint, or debate? What’s your favorite way to express yourself, creatively?

Throughout my life art has been one of my interests. It’s matches reading as something I love.

I minored in art history in college, and have always enjoyed museums and seeing paintings. Nearby we have he National Gallery of Art, which includes almost every age and type of art. If what I want isn’t there, there’s the Museum of American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery, the other Smithsonian galleries, like the Freer and Hirshhorn and its Sculpture Garden, and several privately endowed museums, like the Corcoran. This list doesn’t include that art that can be seen in other public places, other museums and historical homes.

Medieval art, which of course is largely religious, is fascinating because of the big digression it represents from the art that went before it. The great artists of the Renaissance deserve their fame, for they injected a whole new quality into art which changed it forever. For instance, contrast the two pictures of the Madonna, one pre-Renaissance (1300’s) and one of Raphael’s in the 1500’s:

Art was changed again when the moderns like Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Chagall, Mondrian, Lichtenstein, and others shook things up. Not my cup of tea, but I do appreciate their precursors, the Impressionists.

I don’t like paintings to disturb me. A painting can be powerful, but not chafing. I do like beauty in painting, and that comes from many artists. Depictions of people in their normal settings are informative or charming. As is immediately apparent, I find El Greco’s pictures dark and disturbing, almost with a haze of death surrounding them. Even his portraits have this quality.

There are many artists of the nineteenth and twentieth century I seek out at museums and there are too many of them to mention. Generally they have an informality, unposed characters, a softness, and pleasant realism.

I’m actually very envious of all of these artists. When I was young, I wanted to be an artist. I drew pretty well, better than most of my friends, but I realized at some point in my teens that I didn’t have real talent. I could still appreciate art, and enjoyed learning about the ways in which we see art, and what makes it appealing. It’s hard to believe that some simple principles apply, but it’s true. It’s what makes architecture good to look at, too.

My artistic skills came out later, though, when I created publications for a trade association in my twenties, BC — before children. I’ve had the opportunity to work on school yearbooks, learn and teach Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to middle school children in computer class, and edit photos for printed photo albums. calendars, and other personal items for my family.

Art is part of my life in one form or another, and I’m grateful for the eyes to see and the heart to appreciate the beauty created in the world around me.