Richard Hudson


The word, artist, can mean a number of things, yet all meanings have a way of coming back to the same thing. Admittedly, when I hear the word, the first thought that comes to my mind is that of someone who grabs a palette, dabs on various colors, with a brush in the other hand, starts dabbing paint on a surface until the rendering begins to become recognizable in whatever form, and expresses what the artist had in mind. Sometimes the painting is just a thing of beauty to admire, such as a bluebird sitting on a limb, singing its song of the morning. Maybe an inanimate object, but still something to admire. Many times there is hidden beauty where one must be particularly astute to see what the artist had in mind, but didn't display openly. Sometimes there is a hidden message in an expression. Of course we could go on endlessly to the possibilities. Such is the beauty of art.

However, art is not limited to simply painted portraits. A songwriter can paint a picture with the lyrics, and in arranging the words within a lyric, even the choice of wording, and timing, and placement can have various effects on what impression is portrayed or extended. I have loved country music since my early childhood, and probably my favorite country songwriter is Hank Williams. Hank was a troubled man who lived a miserable life in many ways, yet there was a happy man, a man full of hope, even faith, that struggled to make himself known, as well as the troubled man that seemed to emerge somewhere, usually in the liquor bottle. Hank could paint a picture of sadness and despair with his words in such a fashion that you could feel it, and even see it in your mind. "...the moon just went behind the clouds, to hide its face and cry." Of course, from Hank's song, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." At another place he wrote, "I've never seen a night so long, when time goes crawling by," and, "That midnight train is whining low, I'm so lonesome I could cry." Every line in that sad old song keeps painting a picture of a person who was so down in despair, so hopeless and lonesome that the only thing left to do was to cry. Sad? Oh, yes, but at the same time so beautiful in painting such a vivid picture with words.

Hank wrote a lot of sad songs, but he also wrote happy songs. "My Yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh my-o. Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou." Or how about this one, "Hey, Good lookin'. What ya got cookin'? How's about cookin' something up with me?" Totally different picture painted that time.

Then there are artists who portray life portraits by acting. Whether it be theater, big screen, small screen, a one man traveling show, it normally involves a person pretending to be something or someone they are not, but yet pretending with such passion and skill that we drift off into fantasyland, believing they really are what they portray. That is why we call it acting. As an example, to me Val Kilmer is Doc Holliday. Now, of course, I never witnessed Doc Holliday in person, but Val Kilmer's portrayal of this old West gunslinger was so believable that I probably would be disappointed if I could go back in time and meet the real Doc Holliday. Val Kilmer is an artist, and there are many more who possess that kind of talent.

Musical instrumentalists have artists also. When Percy Faith's orchestra played "Theme From A Summer Place," I was there. In my mind, of course. The music took me there. When Liberace played "Beer Barrel Polka," I was on the dance floor bouncing to that addictive polka rhythm. I have never danced a polka in my life, except in my mind, and it would never have been possible had it not been for artists like Liberace. When Senor Jorge Morel played "Misionera," I was a Flamenco dancer. Ole!!!

Art can take very simple forms. Complexity does not necessarily dictate the level of meaning. Some of the simple drawings my kids made when they were little mean more to me than the Mona Lisa, although if I am ever privileged to visit the Louvre, I am sure I will stand and marvel at the beauty of the lady with the slight smile.

I am not qualified to tie all of this together into some beautiful meaning, but if I succeeded in making you stop and think about the beauty in your own life, even if tinged with sadness, then my mission is accomplished.

Make a difference, wherever you are, and in whatever you do. Do your best. Always.


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