Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Speaking of Love

Since last year I've been volunteering at Edmund D. Edelman Children's Court, with the Free Arts program.  We serve children who are dependents of the court by providing arts and crafts activities in the waiting area.  Our objective is just to engage the children and distract them from crappy stuff that is going on in their lives.  We provide them with an opportunity to be creative and express themselves.  We are not art therapists, but some of our projects are designed by art therapists, and all the projects are deemed to have potential therapeutic value.  One of the projects is a "Things I Love" collage.  We start conversations with the children about love, including how loving things is different from loving people.  You may love your sibling, your friend, a celebrity, your pet, french fries, your shoes, your video games, and doing art.  This is probably as far as the conversation with the children goes.

But really it isn't just a difference between loving people and things; we have a completely distinct feeling of love for every person and thing we love, and those feelings are subject to change.  The Greeks had two different words for love, but I don't think either of them would specifically capture many of the ways most of us love.  There are other words we use that are equally uncommunicative, such as thing, amazing and hate.  We could limit our use of these words, but I think love is a nice word and we should not hesitate to use it.  We can just add more information.  I could say to my children: I love you, and not a day goes by that your existence doesn't give me joy; my heart bursts with pride in you and the people you are, and you enrich my life by being good, kind, smart, responsible, hardworking, interesting and fun.  (And that is about my children collectively, rather than how I specifically and differently love each of them.)  About coffee, I could say: I love coffee because I am enticed by its aroma and distinctive flavor; it gives shape to my mornings, gives me a boost in the afternoon, and I am reasonably certain it makes me smarter.  Of this painting, I could say I love this painting; it is one of my very favorites that I have painted; it is big and has great colors, values, and calligraphy.  There is nothing I would change - not even the crooked windows; I am proud and happy that I painted this.  It was painted at California Institute of Technology in 2016.


  1. Beautiful work and an interesting post Barbara!

  2. loving someone or something is important but expressing your love is bridge towards one that you love which is meeting point of lovers

    outstanding post ,loved this fabulous painting

  3. i like what you are doing - and i love this painting.