By Shelby Farthing

I love beautiful things. I have always loved beautiful things: a fresh pair of light wash jeans, pastel pink seashells. I have often felt shallow and embarrassed that I care so much about the way that things look. Food tastes better when it is served in a certain way; I feel better when I am wearing a new sweater. I have often thought that my love for beauty was a personality flaw. Throughout my time as someone who strives to live a physically beautiful life, I have found that I genuinely do not care what others think of me. I hope people see me as caring and naturally excited about life, but anything more that feels unnecessary. I do care that people understand me and what I am trying to communicate, in every aspect of my life. I transition this feeling into my paintings: I do not care if some thinks that my work is beautiful, but I do care that someone feels the emotion I am trying to convey.

I care about beauty primarily in the way that I love to feel things. I respect and cherish the world around me, and this respect of beauty has manifested in my love of painting. Painting has helped me discover colors that I didn’t realize existed in the face of a person, like purple and green undertones. Painting has helped me to think deeply about the physical world around me, the colors and shape of a landscape or a hand held out towards me.

Painting requires me to see things, not simply as things, but as an extension of the way I choose to see the world. I recently painted a pitcher of water. I was not attempting to paint a picture of a jug of water sitting on a table, even though that is exactly what it was. I was trying to capture the conceptual nature of feeling half empty, which is what I perceived in the jug.

As an artist, I try and tell a story with color and shape. So does my friend, Erin Gilmore, an art major at Greenville University. When asked about how she perceives beauty in regard to painting, she responded, “My art is always affected by my idea of beauty. Art, like all things, has a creation process. Things are never automatically beautiful; they have to grow into beauty. A flower was once a seed and a piece of art was once some paint and a blank canvas. There is beauty in how everything (and everyone) grows.”

If you break the world down into simplistic data and see the beauty in those miniscule details, everything is inherently beautiful — not only in its form and color, but also in the story, the creation history, it has to tell.

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