Here is a story in a series, aimed to help you defrazzle. That is get rid of that frazzled feeling experienced by many of us in today’s hectic world.
My favourite scene in the film Ferris Beuller’s Day Off takes place in the Art Institute of Chicago.
In this film of 1986, Ferris skives off school with his best friend, Cameron, and his girlfriend Sloane for a day in the city.
The short scene in the art museum has behind it an instrumental version performed by The Dream Academy of The Smiths’ Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want.
It is a beautiful choice.??
In the scene, Cameron stands gazing at a painting by Georges Seurat, as if mesmerised by the little girl staring out at him.
The painting is A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte. It was created over two years between 1884 and 1886.
The artist invented a technique called pointillism where small, distinct dots of colour are applied in patterns to form an image.
The technique relies on the ability of the viewer’s eyes to blend the colour spots into a fuller range of tones.
As Cameron gazes deeper and deeper into the little girl’s face, her feature fade until they almost disappear.
I feel this moment shows Cameron’s search for the place in the world.
I was familiar with pointillism before seeing the film. When I was at high school, my art teacher gave a lesson on the technique and we all gave it a go.
We used the ‘wrong’ end of the paint brush, dipping the tip into the paint then pressing down on the paper. Again and again and again. It took some patience and time.
A Sunday Afternoon at La Grande Jatte stands at around 7 feet high and 10 feet wide. No wonder Seurat took two years to complete his work.
So often, when people visit art galleries, we give a piece of work a fleeting glance before moving off onto the next work.
How about we choose to take time and really look at an artwork?
Fred Bryant, a social psychologist at Loyola University, Chicago researches the process of savouring.
Savouring is when we choose to be mindfully engaged and aware of our feelings while having a positive experience.
His research indicates that this process can increase happiness in the short and long term.
And in terms of savouring art, there is no need to wait until we can journey in person to an art gallery since we have the internet.
Which painting will you choose to savour?