Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What is Art?

What is Art?  A three word question that for centuries has been bantered about by philosophers. Philosophers who freely offer their theories to profound questions in life. Plato and Aristotle (a student of Plato answered art as the natural love of imitation). Personally I think emotions throughout our lives factor into the equations of logically answering the abstract question of what is art. Perhaps it should be answered what art means to you.

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."

(Angel ornamentation... Vintage book cover)

Now I am not a Philosopher but I do consider myself an artist. My belief of what is art is simply answered as my belief that art appeals to our senses through emotions and resonates in our heart. This post will be a departure from my normal format, although I will leave you as I always do with my poetry truly written from my heart.

Instead today I will show you some art I collect and engage in dialog with the artist and in between weave like a tapestry famous quotes from artists into this post. The artist featured is Doré Callaway of Burlap Luxe. Over the past few years I've been collecting her art and I thought this would be an interesting post reflecting on her emotional feelings creating art.  Doré Callaway is the blogger who inspired me to venture into blogging and has become an intriguing gifted and valued friend. I will show Papier Mâché which means chewed paper in French that I collect from Doré. I also own other art pieces created by Doré but in this post my concentration will only be on Cartapesta (Papier mâché) as the medium.  I find her art fascinating and soulfully rewarding and in its presence very thought provoking. All my photographs are taken inside our row-home to show you how we live with her art and how it is displayed. 

"The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place, from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spiders web."
~Pablo Picasso~

(Papier Mâché, Ephemera Angel Wings)

As a dialog starts, questions are asked and answers freely given.

Vera: To you Doré what is art?

Dore: You know Vera art is a strange word and it's all in how you interrupt it, taking something from nothing and turning it into a strong message. something that makes you stop and take a moment to think about it, testing its mood against yours, this is art to me. It is the mood within you that transforms it into something that speaks to you. Art has a language of its own and I am so connected to that language. Art's an emotional connection to having no boundaries in creating, what moves me are the materials I share with the pieces I am creating,

Vera: Dorè what is your best childhood memory that has guided you throughout your life?

Doré: I'm not sure I could commit to a good childhood memory that has guided me throughout life ... Yet sometimes sad events seem to build the artist person in you. When I was 14 my Father passed away, it was a tender age of loss and loneliness. All I could play over and over in my head was how my Father play acted out studio productions with me. I guess that may be the reason tiny theatre's play a big role in the drama I create with them. Having the time with my Dad allowed me to use my creative thoughts in holding tight to an imagination to create and a place to rest my heart on.

(This is a French theatre I purchased from Doré, the presentation I set up is my Springtime ballet).

Vera: Tell me about your papier mâché art.

Doré: I use natural and recycled materials as in your pieces of Cartapesta (Papier Mâché). My altered artistic identity allows me to create from my imagination in soulful 

"Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known"
~Oscar Wilde~

Vera: If you create with music what type of music do you listen to and at what volume level?

I do create with music and for me it's a big form of art in itself. How it moves you and how it bends your mind in the direction of movement with art. I have a wide range of listening, it all depends on the pieces I'm creating in the mood of the music I choose.
If it's an interesting direction I am heading in with creating you can be sure the MUSIC is being played LOUD enough for the neighbors to enjoy it as well. Anything from movie soundtracks, old Motown to classical.

(Cross, soulfully embellished and hangs on our bedroom wall)

Dore: Tattered fibers add emotion and strength in the message one may see in the pieces I create. In hopes that the new caretaker of my pieces find comfort and beauty in their story.

"Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
~Leonardo da Vinci~

(Creole Home, Angel Altar, shrine - French Quarters, New Orleans. Ephemera signed and one of a kind)

Doré: I live in the light and dark of my art where my soul is deepened with creative emotions. I work so intensely in many mediums finding myself with a deep connection to each piece. So much so, I have an emotional weeping attachment upon its completion; "it's who I am as an artist."

"The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery."
~Francis Bacon~

Upstairs in our sitting/reading room (Religious statue crown, as with all of Doré's Papier Mâché each is one of a kind).

Vera: Who are your three favorite artists - dead or living and why?

Doré: Pierre Augusto Renoir ; because his French art had its place in copied posters framed adding the right mood to the designs of my first apartment at age 18. (Chrysanthemums) (The Umbrellas) (La loge)

Claire Guiral : a.k.a Miss Clara, never having owned any of her pieces I am just enamored with the story she creates, it's purely magical and has no age limits to who her audience is ... Plus what I wouldn't give to live in her French art studio home in France, what artist wouldn't?

Elise Valdorcia: Cartapesta French artist sculpture/interior decorator. I would have to say Elise is someone I connect to as an artist and myself being an interior designer estate model homes, as well as commercial designs. I so get her mood and vibe.

(Spiritual Angel altar. Mixed medium with Papier Mâché) on the mantel in the sitting/reading room.

Vera: What do you do in your free time?

Doré: I don't have much free time, yet I do find time to hunt for salvage, thrift and flea market. The most interesting pieces can be found on a hunt at a reasonable tag price that you don't mind tearing it apart for a new art project. Making time for art is as free time as it gets.

(Guignol puppet Theatre. vintage ephemera, vintage mixed mediums, one of a kind)

Doré: The creator in me listens to each piece telling me what it wants to become and when it is completed.

"In art as in love, instinct is enough".
~Anatole France~

Vera: What experience have you felt through creating that has left you with a profound feeling?

Doré: The Art of living with purpose, a connection to life around me noticing everything in itself is art. Listening to each creative piece in what it wants to become. I often think quietly saying to myself if I were my own art piece this is what I would want to be.

(A little Papier Mâché bird tucked into my Christmas gift box from Doré of beautiful linen cocktail napkins this past Christmas.)
The bird sits upon a bookcase shelf in the guestroom, the ephemera from an old book holds a very special meaning for me. Indeed art moves, inspires and awakens deep emotions inside our souls ... I hope with this post I have evoked emotions in you and you will comment as to your own feelings of what is art, for I realize it is a very personal thing.

Vera: Do you think it more important to touch people through your art or though your choice of expression?

Doré: To not sound selfish I create for myself with a profound connection to the smallest of details where the end results nudge to be noticed by others. It's then that I hope my art finds its right fit in the hands and homes of interest and intrigue. That my pieces in some little way moves someone with their own emotional connection.

Vera: Well my friend any parting words?
Doré: Art imitates life.

"Art doesn't transform, it just plain forms."
~Roy Lichtenstein~

Thank you Doré for answering my questions in this post "What is Art".
I deeply admire Doré's creative expression in her soulful art for it certainly moves me emotionally. I consider myself fortunate to call Doré my friend.

When thinking about my writing of this post I questioned myself about what is art... John and I live surrounded with artful collections, centuries old Buddha's, artifacts, hand carved African stools... Some my own artwork, a mix, all placed casually, bringing charm and warmth as we are blessed to live with in this old row-home embraced by art. I encourage you to check out Doré's art. It is affordable and oftentimes Nordic and French in nature which I mix into our rustic textural home as it graces our lives with its everyday presence. Art should never be unapproachable, it is meant to resonate in your soul and reside with appreciation in your home, be it a grand or small dwelling.

Below are the poetic words that flooded my head and what inspired this post. Hope you have enjoyed a departure from my normal blogging and I'll see you in a couple weeks with hopefully a reveal of some remodeling occurring in our old Philly Row-home.

Art is sometimes hauntingly lingering, it can also be confrontational and thought provoking and oftentimes even soulfully divine.
I admire artists who's artwork reflects their deep rooted beliefs and individually reaching as defined through their own unique design.

For even the most beautiful rose on the vine gathered for a bouquet in admiration has thorns that can surprise by a quick pricking sensation.
Emotionally heartfelt art can nurture and heal, but art can also shock and anger while inviting an important dialog in meaningful conversation.

In our acceptance of another's expression, a foundation built in inspirational value and understanding is your emotional reward from art.
Beauty depicted and expressed through the chosen medium of the true artists mind and always meant to be felt in your heart.

Admiration, appreciation and collecting art should develop over one's lifetime and this truly is entirely my belief...
In a world seemingly filled with copycats I say individualism with a uniquely personal style is certainly a welcome relief!

© Vera

All photos taken by me and are from my collection of papier mâché art created by Doré Callaway. 


  1. You have some beautiful pieces, Vera. It is always interesting to read what spurs artists to create and what speaks to them. It is equally interesting to me that the one that amasses and/or collects the art of another might have a totally different take on it than the artist intended.
    I love pure, old art. I also think art can be found in nature--in a piece of driftwood washed ashore, or the beauty of a robin's egg in a nest. I do believe that God is the greatest artist of all---but that is just my opinion and others find it to be from another source.

    Your poem is lovely and heartfelt. I like this sentence: Beauty depicted and expressed through the chosen medium of the true artists mind and always meant to be felt in your heart.-- I do think we feel ART in our heart as much as see it with our eyes.
    A lovely post, Vera! xo Diana

  2. This was a really wonderful post Vera. I own one of Dore's pieces. It is a french hen house that I just love. I immediately connected with this piece and cherish it.
    This was wonderful to learn how Dore's heart and mind connect to create her beautiful works of art. Gives us a little inside into her creative being. Loved your wonderful signature poem. I believe life in itself is a work of art and we are all in some ways artist or our journey's here. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post today.

  3. Hi Vera, Your gorgeous pieces from Dore are treasures. Such a talent and I always enjoy to know how other artists travel on their journey when creating. What gives them wings, speaks to the heart and brings joy. It truly is a connection to the heart and emotions for me at any given time. I get that from Dore's words too.
    Like music, I love all sorts of art and design. Many elements can influence an artist. To create what lives within you is an amazing gift and Dore certainly shares this with her words and her creations.
    Love your beautiful poetry, as always you touch the heart.
    Thank you for sharing this special post.
    Wishing you many blessings~
    Hugs, CM

  4. Your really have some wonderful pieces created by Dore. I didn't know she was an artist although I have heard her name in the blog world. I really need to visit her and I will. This is a wonderful interview. Both of you ladies know your art and love what you know.

    Finally, your poetry always resonates with have an old and gentle soul and I love that you can express yourself this way.

    Jane xx

  5. Great post, Vera. Dore is the one who introduced me to you. I love her work. She's such a creative soul.

  6. Oh, Vera, such a wonderful theme...
    Art for me is life in Gods Spirit, or the effort, to connect with her/him/it (no, I am NO christian, but I believe in the higher being). It is something beyond, divine, and we are blessed to all have "it in us".
    To be grateful and for me to try every day, try harder and harder, to come closer, to catch the "flow" of the true nature in us (or... the better one).
    My idol here is Elise Valdorcia of course - and Doré, ohh yes, she is so inspiring since years to me for my work!
    So I will return to my little Atelier now and finish some wings for a feathered mirror with cartapesta :)) Your friend Méa

  7. Hi, Vera. I really enjoyed your interview with Dore. I love her style. I really love the dove in the photos.

    I've always loved art: both creating and collecting (when I could). At a young age, my daughter began to collect small paintings, and now she has the beginnings of a collection. We both love art history and loved all the museums we visited last summer. I agree with your line, "Admiration, appreciation and collecting art should develop over one's lifetime and this truly is entirely my belief..." You are always though provoking. xoxo Su

  8. Good morning Vera! Art is certainly among us always, and is always changing according to our culture. But one thing is for sure, we need to express it.

    The art of TEACHING is what I'm up to my ears with, and I love it, but it's time for a break. I hope to relax soon by the ocean with my husband and take in the art of creation.

    Have a great day!

  9. Hi Vera. I enjoyed your poetry and interview with Dore. There is a mystery and soulfulness to Dore's art and you own some really wonderful pieces. I agree very much with Diana's comment about what art is and couldn't say it better myself. We've been receiving quite a bit of rain here the past ten days, making the morning and evening skies absolutely stunning. Like a huge, glorious watercolor. This is by the hand of God and no human artist could ever come close to capturing it. As Dennis says, "I'm inspired to try, but my art will always fall short of His glory." When speaking of music composition Bach said, "The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul." I feel this is true of all artistry. Hugs to you, dear one. ~ Nancy

  10. A delightful post Vera.
    You do indeed have some beautiful pieces created by Dore. Her work is both mystical and magical to me, most in a palette of white giving them an essence of purity.
    I own a piece of Miss Clara's work and she too captivates the tiniest of detail encouraging the observer to venture within her magic... I can understand why Dore finds her work wonderful too...
    Susan x

  11. So loving for you to share Doré's thoughts behind her work, Vera. I soooooo connect with her. Her love of Renoir's work (I saw 'The Umbrellas' in London and it was one of those monumental moments in my life - I stood there crying silent tears I was so touched by it's beauty)... her love of Miss Clara (I've followed Miss Clara for years and am enamored by her work), and I adore Elise Valdorcia's incredible work as well!

    I think Doré's pieces have a rustic simplicity and organic quality to them which allows the viewer the opportunity to complete the piece with their own perceptions - making them all the more personal to them.

    I don't think it at all selfish for an artist to create for oneself ~ to me, that is the true meaning of art. For the soul to reach out and create something that is missing ~ something that must be made in order to express what is bursting in their heart.

    Again. Most loving of you to share a little bit more about Doré' with all of us ~ and as always, your thought provoking poetry has stopped me from my daily running about to THINK and FEEL. In a word, art.

    Much love,

    1. Lin, I just love you!
      It was your art way way back when that drew me into your tiny big world of creative beauty, you really amaze me, thank you for your words.


  12. What a striking collection...and the interview was awesome and so informative.
    A very nice post, dear heart.

  13. ...did i miss a link to her..??

    1. BJ under my poetry Burlapluxe link in grey.

    2. What a wonderful post! I enjoyed the interview you had with Dore, what a fascinating lady and grand artist! Vera, you are a beautiful poet. You relay your thoughts in such unique way!


  14. Love you VERA, in more ways than you know!

    A real surprise! A true honor, and I hope in some way I have added to your days with our friendship.

    I want to comment that all the ladies comments are brilliant and of course some stick our more with statements as to our heavenly planet we live on and who provides that for us. Of course I could be an artist if that didn't have something to do with how my energy shifts with the movement of art that Imtake notice of all about me. A small scarp of tin, or old piece of rusted wire left by some handy and job that knowone has taken the time to clean up for years, those pieces are my beautiful finds that became soulful use in my art pieces. I am more them happy to have been the chosen artist to stumble across trash to most, ones may not know that cearel boxes that everyone eats and throws away become some of the paper that goes into my work of Cartapesta.

    You my dear are an artist that amazes me! Because of that I pick up on the energy in your words. Life, and love, and something of your experiences is created and inspired in my pieces.

    It's so apparent when one gets to know you that you live real art, they just need to take notice of how you write, your poetry (profoundly) your home walls, designs, collections your restful place of sleep so artfully calming, yes my dear you are why I took early notice of way back when you were just a blog reader :)

    You have created a beautiful present for me here, a gift from your heart, and I am for ever greatful that you have the heart that you do.

    Love you girl,



  15. Darling Vera, I really enjoyed your post on art. Art is very personal and touches my soul just like a my faith does to me. I love what Aristotle said "The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."
    ~Aristotle~ This sums it up for me. Dore's pieces are so amazing, it was fun to read the interview and to see what her thoughts are on art. Thank you so much. Beautiful! Hugs, Jo

  16. You have so many exquisite and beautiful pieces of art from Dore! What a treasure. This is a wonderful post, Vera. I appreciated learning how Dore puts her heart, soul, and mind into each piece of art, what inspires her, and the clear connection she has with all of her mediums as she's creating her art. Dore is a beautiful, lovely, and inspiring artist!
    Mary Alice

  17. Oh, what a beautiful, thought producing and emotional post.

    I live with an artist and I love watching his process. I like that a painting can sit on the easel for months and all of a sudden he will go back and change something.

    Blogging has brought me so much and one unexpected bonus is a new way of looking at the world, art, home decor, life, nature ... I love "creating" photographs. I take 20 pictures of the same thing, load them into the computer and then go back to change a few things and take more photos.

    So, I guess I see art as a process to create something (anything) that pleases.

    Steve puts as much effort into creating his meals as he does in the presentation. And he has taught me that there is an art to setting the table to compliment the meal and its presentation.

    Art is LIFE.

  18. Hi Vera,

    So lovely to meet you!

    I enjoyed your words and images today, on your soulful question, 'What is art?', and instantly agreed with the brilliant Aristotle's reply, for art definitely evokes all different kind of feelings, thoughts, and even memories, whatever its form, whether it be a sculpture, a painting, or a poem.

    Dore is a talented artist, (that, we can easily see), but like any artist's creations, it is the feelings that overcome us, when in the presence of fine art, that ultimately capture our attention, making us feel alive with emotion, and a spirited splash of life.

    To conclude, your poem is inspiring, and a wonderful tribute to your initial question. Thanks for this most intriguing post!

    P.S.: Thanks, also for your sweet comment at Kris' and for following Poppy View.

    Happy Memorial Day weekend!


  19. What a fascinating glimpse into the innermost soul of an artist! I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing it with us Vera!

  20. This post makes my heart happy. Dore is one of my favorite bloggers and artists. Her works speak volume and there is so much raw emotion behind them. I so agree with what she said about Art and the feelings and the emotions that it evokes. Art can be created in so many mediums yet we all connect through the emotions and the stories behind each piece. Thank you for this.

  21. This was so interesting! Really made me think about art in a different glad you decided to share.

  22. Oh, I loved reading this post! Dore is so talented and has such a beautiful soul all her creations are works of art, AND heart! The French Quarter piece is my favorite. How blessed you are to have so many pieces!

  23. Dear Vera,
    What a beautiful post! I loved reading this interview with dear Dore... Her art has always touched me deeply.. Her art is so clearly from the depths of her gentle soul. Thank you so much for sharing her thoughts..

    It was such a joy to see you had come for a visit.. Thank you dear friend for your heartfelt comment.
    Sending you a warm hug,

  24. Goodness, Vera, these items are beautiful, and I loved reading the interview with Dore. Her pieces are beyond belief, aren't they? I wish I had one. sending love, darling.

  25. I loved this Vera! Dore is one of my all time favorite artists. Her art comes straight from her heart and is so hauntingly beautiful! Everything she does is truly the loveliest! Thank you for this interview with this beautiful artist.
    hugs from here...

  26. Thank you for this beautiful post.

  27. Oh Vera, you are so sweet! Thank you ! No batteries here.. teeheee.. It was all I could do to felt a wee candle.. I think it may be a little large, but better to see with.
    Enjoy your week dear friend,

  28. Two of the most talented people on the planet

  29. Hello, and thank you for following us at Red Rose Alley. You have such a lovely blog. That little mouse looks just like one that my friend Penny created. Such a delightful theatre. I liked when Dore said, "The Art of living with purpose, a connection to life around me noticing everything in itself is art." I do believe that some of the simplest things we do IS indeed, art. Thank you for your kind words on Jess' engagement. Your comment was very special. It's nice to meet you, Vera.


  30. I read this article. I think You put a lot of effort to create this article. I appreciate your work.
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