LeAnne Martin
Beauty and the Beholder

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Girl in the Blue Hat with a Tiny Smile

On the wall across from my desk hangs a painting of a young woman with long auburn hair. She's wearing a blue hat with yellow flowers lining the band. Her heart-shaped face has rosy cheeks and dark red lips wearing a tiny smile. Her eyes are closed. Where is she? What is she doing? She looks like she's daydreaming of something pleasant, or smelling a sweet fragrance, or picturing a loved one's face. She might be reliving a favorite memory, or praying, or getting ready to accept a surprise from a friend. Whatever she is doing, she has an air of grace and beauty about her.

I bought this painting last summer at an arts festival. My husband and I had a lengthy conversation with the artist, Elaine Rose Lanoue. Elaine is a Christian who, alongside her husband, lives our her faith on the arts festival circuit. She wants people to see the love of Christ in her life and to offer hope to those around her, whether they are customers or fellow artists.

When I saw this painting, I thought of wishes and whimsy, joy and delight, my daughter and my girlfriends, weather that turns cheeks pink, and my love of hats in my 20s. Now when I see it, I sometimes think of Elaine Lanoue, of how she captured in that young woman's face an expression that stirs my imagination every time I look at it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Lord, make me see thy glory in every place. Michelangelo

Were there no God, we would be in this glorious world with grateful hearts, and no one to thank. Christina Rossetti

Where are some of your favorite places to see God's glory? Here's a short list for me:

* the symphony
* my back yard
* my daughter's face
* the Swiss Alps
* the Blue Ridge mountains in the fall
* the coast of Oregon
* the redwoods
* cherry trees in spring
* the river near our house
* art museums

What about you? 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Sound of Music

If you're like me, when certain pieces of music touch your ears, your soul takes flight. For me, that music includes several selections from Handel's Messiah; anything from the classical collection of old favorites I listened to during my pregnancy and after my daughter was born; Mahler's Enigma, the gorgeous piece my husband and I chose for our wedding processional; and more. When I was young, the harmonies in "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" and "The Doxology" drew me long before I understood the meaning of the words. Recently, during Theatrical Outfit's production of Godspell, singer/actor Eric Moore's stirring performance of "All Good Gifts" made me wish I could carry it home with me. Sometimes bluegrass, gospel, folk and worship music move me the same way.

What type or pieces of music are filled with beauty for you? I'd love to know.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Words to Inspire

Every so often, I like to share some favorite quotations about beauty. Today’s group includes a poet, the father of the Protestant Reformation, and a child who responded with fresh and honest enthusiasm to the beauty he saw.

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” Martin Luther

"Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries . . ." Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on [Tuesday]. That was cool.” From Children’s Letters to God

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