“CONSIDER A MASTERPIECE” – the artist interviews the subject of the painting, her son Patrick Begley, a Project Designer with Manica Architecture in KC, MO.
Rosemary: Give me your thoughts, critique, impressions, reflections of the painting.
Patrick: This is a special painting to me. It’s me in my youth, because I was 12 maybe at the time. It reminds me of vacations growing up, when I got to travel to the coast a lot and visited many people, and amazing places like the Hamptons.
Rosemary: Do you remember being there?
Patrick: I do remember being on that beach specifically and how nice the beaches were there. Definitely one of my favorite paintings of yours, if not my favorite painting. I’m biased cause I’m in the painting, the subject matter, but even if I wasn’t, it’d still be one of my favorites.
Rosemary: I love that beach.
Patrick: It’s calm and evokes memories and a time in my youth when things were nice and simple, and in that sense it relaxes your mind and reminds you of the simpler things in life and brings you back to neutral in a way. I do remember living in California when I was in grad school doing an architecture internship, and I had the opportunity of going to the ocean, and how much you could really clear your mind. I think that’s why I really like this painting. It’s important to have those places to go to. For me it was the one place I could consistently go to and get back to neutral and feel balanced.
Rosemary: I just started reading a book called “Discover Your Destiny, Let God Use You Like He Made You” by Tony Evans, who is the father of Priscilla Shirer who wrote a bible study I recently finished at Church of the Resurrection called “The Armor of God”. The first few pages of Tony Evans’ book made me reflect on our interview today, and I thought I’d read you a few excerpts from the first page of Chapter One called “Concept”:
“The great Italian sculptor, architect, and poet Michaelangelo once said, ‘In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison that lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it’. In every imperfect, jagged-edged, bulky, unshaped block of marble Michaelangelo set his eyes on, he saw the treasure within. He once described the process this way: ‘I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free’. Michaelangelo could do this because he didn’t see what the marble was; he saw what the marble would be. He saw a masterpiece. Friend, you are a masterpiece. In the book of Ephesians, we read this about another Artist: ‘We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them’. The Greek word translated workmanship in this verse refers to you, me and every other child of God. It is ‘poiema’, from which we get our English word ‘poem’. This word denotes a work of art or a masterpiece. You have been made as a work of God – you are His poiema. You weren’t created on the assembly line or as a random object thrown together to fill up space or time. When God made you, He went to work – intentionally and delicately crafting your personality, looks, passions, skills…even allowing your imperfections and planting your dreams all into one magnificent work of art. In fact, God did more than plant your dream inside you. God dreamed a dream for you. Did you know God has a dream for you? He does. You are His masterpiece. You are God’s dream. What’s more, you were made with a purpose. That purpose includes responsible stewardship of God’s authority. It includes expanding His dominion. It includes more than merely showcasing your talents. It involves impacting your world for good by ruling the realm where God has positioned you.”
Rosemary: Then a few pages later, Tony Evans describes the characteristics of a masterpiece in several ways as follows:
“You are rare: Several characteristics make up a masterpiece. The first one is that a masterpiece is rare. In order for something to be a masterpiece, it cannot have duplicates all over the place.
“You are special: A masterpiece is special – just like you. In fact, you are so special that God sent His own Son to live for you, die for you, and rise from the dead for you so you can be all that He intended you to be.
“You are valuable: A masterpiece is also valuable. People pay a lot of money to own a masterpiece. In fact, most masterpieces are carefully locked away in secure and protected locations, such as museums and art galleries. Michaelangelo’s masterpiece ‘David’ stands towering safely in Florence at the Accademia Gallery. The average person could not afford to own it. In fact, the average person cannot even afford to travel to Italy just to view it. That speaks volumes to the value of a masterpiece. I hope that also speaks volumes about you.
“You are named: Artists and sculptors who create masterpieces give their creations names that reflect their meaning and purpose.
“You are known: You are not only named but also known by the One who names you. A masterpiece is frequently known in connection with its creator.
“You are a Masterpiece: As a masterpiece, you are rare, special, valuable, named and known in connection with your Creator. But this brings a challenge. Satan does not want you to know that you are a masterpiece with a divinely ordained destiny because if you do, you will view yourself in a new way. You will naturally change the way you plan, think, walk, talk, dress, dream, treat others, treat yourself, and act…You are a masterpiece. A painting. A poem. A song. A statue. A work of art.
Patrick: A “masterpiece” is a word that’s used in art quite frequently but it could apply to different disciplines and certainly architecture in some sense. In the passage, “masterpiece” seems to be defined as something that is unique, applies to context, and is very thought out and in no way random or to fill space.
I guess for me practicing in the field of architecture, that translation is a good example or the lens in which I like to view design. The way architecture is publicized these days makes it very accessible, but with that you do see a lot of trends and repetitiveness, and that may have good reason, but many times design can be thoughtless and detached from place. Some of the work that interests me the most are projects, and even more so architects that are able to recreate in every iteration or project, an idea, recreate a drawing, recreate a concept, specifically with the purpose of answering to the context, time and place with full thoughtfulness. In that sense, that’s what a “masterpiece” would be for me in architecture – a project that answers to that. But further, in order to be a master sculptor, one has to be able to answer to this every time and rethink and recreate every time, and that’s, in my opinion, where real talent comes from in my field.
For example, I had a professor in school who, in approaching a project, would do hand sketches from one angle and do 25 sketches in a short amount of time consecutively, but the talent came from his ability to forget the last sketch he drew and begin the next one as anew. That is a real talent that I think is important in relating to the passage you read – that every sketch and project is unique. And I think, in a lot of ways, that can be obvious to people in the field, but it does take a large effort to remember and practice that. So in that sense, some of the designers I aspire to are the ones that really almost don’t have a distinct style and you look at a project and you feel why it works that way and why it’s appropriate to context.
There’s a lot of repetition, laziness and lack of creativity that can happen in the field, and a lot of architects that develop their own brand and style which begins to overshadow all the things that make a piece of work a masterpiece, the uniqueness of the project. While I think for every architect it’s almost impossible to not develop your own style and processes, the good ones don’t let it overshadow the project; rather, they fit those things into the project.
And going back to the quote, a lot of that just comes from thoughtfulness and attention to detail and consideration. In relating to the text, a true “masterpiece” or master sculptor to me is someone who can recreate and rethink to themselves every time with the thoughtfulness and originality that is specific just to the project. That’s looking at a different piece of marble and seeing the unique within it every time.
Art in general is appealing to the emotions, and every scene is going to pinpoint the different emotion and context for the viewer. Every painting is entirely unique in itself because of all those things that go into it, attention to detail, place and time, and it evokes emotion that is entirely relatable, and the viewer understands why it came to be. For an architect, a project can be the same way.
Rosemary: Would you also like to comment on the title of the painting: “Playful”?
Patrick. Well, for me it’s being able to enjoy the simpler things in life, and sometimes it’s that simple and right in front of you. You just have to live in the moment. Maybe that’s what being “playful” is in a sense too – it’s just being present and not worrying about this or that.
Rosemary: As the artist, I look at the painting and scene as God’s creation, and it’s a masterpiece. And it’s a masterpiece within a masterpiece!
Patrick: Thank you.
“Playful” is available at www.BegleyArt.com in Limited Edition giclees reproductions framed, giclee wraps, or double-matted deluxe prints (pictured above)