Beauty and Baseball

The original drawing or a print is available for purchase here.


Vin Scully

When I was a kid growing in Los Angeles we were die-hard Dodger Baseball fans. The announcer for the games had a lot to do with that since we listened to most of the games on the radio.  His name is Vin Scully and he started broadcasting for the Dodgers when they were still located in Brooklyn, New York. That was before I was born.  He came with them to LA and announced their games until last year, 2016. That was 67 YEARS of broadcasting. I mean really, that is a ridiculously long time. That is 3 broadcasting careers, not one.

Why do I mention him? Because his magic was in never being cliché. Yes, he might repeat himself in describing a play on the field, but over the course of a game or a season he would pull out of his original mind a connection, or a word, or an analogy he hadn’t used before and give it to us in telling the story of the games. It really was incredible. I loved him as a kid, as a young adult and as an older man.  He truly was an artist with words. Always unique and compelling.

Political and PR Speak

This happens all the time in politics. Politicians are pointedly bad at saying something original since they are constantly trying to make sure they don’t offend anyone or misstate something. They end up spewing clichés that no one is really listening to. That is why Trump garnered so much attention, because he didn’t say clichés. He spewed disgusting stuff in my opinion, and still does, but he can never be accused of being cliché.

The same thing holds true in corporations and their communications. The PR and Legal teams go over pronouncements with a fine tooth comb to make sure nothing will make them liable or unlikable in the marketplace. The end result is cliché patter that is not listened to and means nothing.  It is the exception to the rule when a company leader steps out and actually says something real and original.

The clichés in life blind a person from seeing the beauty in life.  That is why being you is more important that trying to be someone else. Be you or you won’t be seen. And that would be very sad.


Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

“Beauty is a brief gasp between one cliché and another.” – Ezra Pound


 

 

Is Everything Beautiful? – Beauty #5

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Everything?

Do you believe this? It can be confusing, can’t it. As an artist I like to think I have a broad yet discerning eye for beauty. I think many things are beautiful. Many people, many objects, many places. But I don’t think everything is beautiful.

But I also know that what I find beautiful is not what everyone does. And what I find ugly someone finds beautiful.  All you have to do is look at style trends in clothing and makeup for women to see how different the idea of beauty can be around the world. The same is true of music. Think of how dissonant music from other lands sometimes sounds to your ear. Then realize that same music is heard as sublime in the country of origin.

There is the famous story of Tchaikovsky’s first playing of the ‘Rite of Spring’ ballet. It was thought of as so terrible it provoked an actual riot in Paris, 1913 at it’s debut.  You can read the story about it here.  But when it was played a year later it was met with tremendous applause. Why the radical change in response? Because the dissonance heard the first night, so screeching and grating, was no longer heard the same way a year later. The listeners were able to hear the rhythms, the harmonies, the structure the second time around.  The were able to hear the beauty.

And so, while as an artist I have my ideas of beauty, I also am wise enough to know that just because I don’t think something is beautiful doesn’t mean it’s not. It just isn’t to me.

Not Everything?

So, The question should be asked, if everything is beautiful, how can something not be? My take on it is not that something isn’t beautiful. It’s that it is more than just beautiful. Beauty is but one filter through which we see the world.  We also have filters of love and hate, of statistics and science. We have filters of history and time, of biology and spirit.  In other words, while everything is beautiful, it is not all it is.  Everything is other things as well.

Transformation

What examples can you think of that show something ugly eventually becoming something seen as beautiful? What or who do you think is beautiful?  What else are they?


 

Drawing & commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote is Anonymous


 

Inner vs Outer – Beauty #4

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Beauty equals Good

It didn’t start with Disney of course, but Disney certainly popularized it for those of raised in the 20th and beginning of the 21st century. The idea that in a story about good vs evil you must visualize the good as having traditional beauty and the evil as having traditional ugliness. And it’s easy to understand the desire to have it that way. It makes understanding good and evil simple since all you have to do is search for outer beauty and you find the good and same for the opposite.

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Shrek

And then came Fiona.  Fiona and Shrek turned the beauty equals goodness idea on it’s head.  One message that it sent, a message you hear often is, that true beauty isn’t on the outside, it’s on the inside. But there was a more important message that it sent. And that is that beauty is not universal.  Shrek didn’t find the ‘human’ Fiona all that pretty.

Princess-Fiona

But when the curse was broken and she turned back into what she had been, a female ogre, Shrek suddenly saw beauty.  His kind of beauty. She she saw it in him as well.  Both lessons are important to learn.

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Inner Beauty

Yes, the cliche is true. Inner beauty matters. And yes, who you are on the inside is what decides your goodness, not your outer beauty.

Outer Beauty

HOWEVER, we do have an outer. Outer, in spite of what so many would like to believe, not only exists, but matters when discussing beauty.  Our eyes are not dismissible any more than our other senses. Nobody says what we smell doesn’t matter and nobody says what we hear doesn’t matter. Those things do matter. And what we see matters as well.  Having a personal sense of what you find beautiful is not a bad thing, whether looking at a sunset or a hunky fireman.

What is also true though is it is not ALL that matters. If you think and behave as if it does you will very likely end up shallow, egotistical and hurt.

The Inner and Outer Blend

You know how celebrity couples now have one name?  Branjolie, Bennifer, Kimye.  What would the world for Inner AND outer beauty couple be? Ounter? Inter? Ounner?  Who knows. But there should be a word for it because it is what most of us want in our lives.  We want to look good and we want to be good, right? We want our outer to be the outer visual expression of our inner.  We know not everyone is going to find us attractive, but we would like someone to find us attractive. We know not everyone is going to believe we are good. But we want those who know us to believe we are.

How to?

So, how do we make that happen?  It’s no different than anything else we hope to achieve. We practice. The bottom line is you will not become good without practicing being good and you will not have outer beauty without practicing having outer beauty.  

If that means time in the gym to make your body what you want it to be, then that’s what you have to do. If it means time spent serving others, caring for those in need, giving your time and attention to others, then that’s what you have to do.  And they aren’t exclusive. You can and should be your best inner self while at the gym and you can and should be your best outer self while serving others.

Matters Most

But which one matters most?  The inner does. That is the one that transcends the outer.  It is where kindness, forgiveness, patience, gentleness, sympathy, empathy, and love reside. Because it is true: Beautiful people are not always good, but good people are always beautiful.


 

Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Anonymous


 

The Moment of Decision – Beauty #3

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Know Thyself

I started this drawing with the idea that the grey woman would represent the person who did not know herself and this didn’t see herself as beautiful.  But as soon as I started to draw the colorful woman I realized the mistake.  BOTH women can know themselves and BOTH women can see their own beauty.

Bad Beauty, Bad.

I had a discussion last week with a photographer friend who posted a photo of herself relaxing in a hot tub after a very hard, emotional couple of days.  It represented for her feeling relief and joy at making it through a bad time. She took it down because she was self-conscious, then she put it up again because she didn’t want to give in to her fear of what others would think. I told her I was happy she put it back up because it said she was confident and strong in her beauty and happiness.  She asked, “But isn’t that wrong?  I would never think I am better than anyone.” 

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It seemed to me she was equating her believing she was beautiful (looking good, in other words) with vanity, ego and superiority over others. My thought was that while being vain and egotistical about it is wrong, knowing you are beautiful does not necessarily mean you are vain or egotistical.  

Good Beauty, Good

It isn’t you comparing yourself, it’s you enjoying who you are. It’s about joy and fun, not about judgment and comparing. It’s about allowing that you have a right to express all of you, that includes your beauty, sensuality, femininity, as well as your moods, mind, love, feelings, ideas, etc. 

I don’t think recognizing and enjoying one’s own beauty is bad.  What do you think?

 


Drawing and commentary ©2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Coco Chanel, 1883-1971, French fashion designer


 

 

Compliments and Criticisms – Beauty #2

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Compliments

I am a big fan of compliments, both giving and receiving. I give them better than I take them, but I like getting them as well. When I give them I try to be specific. I won’t say someone is pretty, I will say I like their hair style, or their necklace, etc.  Often it’s something I might notice that others don’t.  An accessory, or a feature perhaps.  I like pointing out something specific because I am hoping the compliment I give makes them feel good about choices they made, not just that they were born looking a certain way.  And I feel good when a compliment I give makes someone feel great.

Enjoying and feeling good about a compliment is one thing.  Feeling your self-worth is attached completely to the compliments is another. The last thing I want is for someone to depend on my compliments for their complete value or worth.  First off, I don’t want that pressure, and secondly, it certainly isn’t healthy for the person getting the compliments.  

Criticisms

I don’t like giving criticisms, especially if it’s about style or looks. I deliberately step back when I see someone who is jarring to my established notions and let the visuals sit with me for a while. I practice withholding judgment, in other words. This is true in anything sensory; smells, sights, hearing, etc.  I like to live with it for a while. And I always try and remember I can view someone without judging them. I think of these sensory experiences as being part of the passing parade of life; something to be enjoyed, admired, explored. Not something I have to judge.

If I do criticize, I would be saying it hoping they gave it some value. But I certainly hope the person receiving it doesn’t automatically take it as gospel truth about themselves.  Once again, that would be too much pressure on me and would certainly be unhealthy on the part of the person hearing the criticism.

Balance

I assume that, for the most part, compliments make people feel good and criticisms make them feel bad. That is normal and to be expected.  But to get all your worth in life and to feel completely worthless in life due to them indicates an a skewed understanding of your own value. 

How do you overcome that? It’s not easy but it is doable.  You have to start with small steps.  I have a friend, Victoria James, in England, who does a daily live video called #Mindflowers  (you can find her as @victoriajamesUK on Periscope). The idea started with her feeling like she, and her friends, all gave compliments to each other a lot more than they give compliments to themselves. They would be much more likely to denigrate and dismiss themselves than say something nice.  So she started a daily routine that she now shares around the world. She simply asks the people watching her video to give themselves a compliment every day.

That is how you can start.

Periscope

Here is my periscope video of the drawing being created.

And here is part 2 where I color the drawing and we talk more about this idea.


 

Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Cornelius Lindsey, 1986 – not dead yet, American Preacher


 

Flowers Don’t Compete – Beauty #1

I recently did an ‘Absorbent Idea’ periscope on Beauty and Makeup. It was based on a series I did back in 2013. The conversation was so interesting I thought I would do a new series on Beauty. Let me know what you think!


 

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Comparing

So, one of the big things about outer beauty is the curse of comparison.  How do you know who is and who is not beautiful if you aren’t comparing them, right? But comparing is wrong, isn’t it? Doesn’t that lead to feeling bad about yourself or judging others?  

I actually say no, it doesn’t IF rightly understood.  The word compare is neutral. It doesn’t have to assume judgment and condemnation, it can simply assume evaluation.  ‘Her eyebrows arch high’. ‘Her highbrows don’t arch’.  That is comparing and contrasting, not judging.

But you might say that is all fine and dandy but we know that judgment will naturally follow with a statement like, ‘I like arched eyebrows and I don’t like straight eyebrows.’ Isn’t that right?  No, it isn’t right.  There is no intrinsic reason you have to state a judgment or a preference after noticing a difference between two things. You can just notice and absorb while exploring and admiring both.

Competing

When the trouble starts is when the thought of competition comes in. That there is going to be a loser and a winner in beauty.  That the purpose behind comparing is to compete. That there has to be a judgment that that ‘beauty’ is more beautiful than me.  But think about a flower. Does a flower say it needs to look like a different type of flower to be beautiful? No, it doesn’t. It might compete for nutrients in the ground with another flower, but that is not about beauty, that is about survival. It isn’t trying to be judgmental or critical of the other flower. It is not saying that flower isn’t beautiful. It is simply doing what it needs to do to survive and thrive. It does it’s best to get everything it needs to be it’s best.

Your Beauty

If you do the same then you will always have your beauty. Your beauty will be genuinely yours. Not someone else’s, yours. Your style, your shine, your colors. And you won’t have to compete with anyone else for it.


Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Cornelius Lindsey, 1986 – not dead yet, American Preacher


 

 

The Love of Beauty – updated 2017

And so the week of beauty comes to an end. I feel more beautiful, do you?

A nice simple definition that rings true. I do think the love of beauty is about
taste. I also think it is about acquired tasted, in other words. There is
something to be said for being educated about something. All that means
to me is that you have had the patience and teachability to learn what
others know about something, understanding that there are subtleties to
appreciate in all areas of art, whether it be napkin drawings or opera.

It isn’t abandoning your taste to learn about the arts, it is building on it.

“The love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882, American writer

By Plucking Her Petals – updated 2017

Day 3 in my week of beauty. Collect them all, win prizes!

There is something compelling about beauty. We want to possess it.
To a child, the beauty might be a flower, but it could just as easily be a
frog or a stone. It is filled with wonder and we want it. We want to touch
it and hold it and examine it and play with it. We want it to indulge in
it. The hardest thing to do is to let beauty just be. To enjoy the object,
person, event, whatever it is and not try to hold on to it, to capture it.

I know, I should talk. I am an artist and photographer. I spend my time
thinking about how to capture it. But I also have learned to let it pass by.
I have realized that there is an endless supply of beauty. I will never be
without it, I will never be unable to see it. I know from past experience I
have barely had a day gone by without seeing beauty. It might be the dress
my wife wears as she goes to work, it might be the way my cat is curled up
in the sun, it might be the incredible spiky beauty of the weed I haven’t
pulled in the backyard.

Try indulging in beauty today without trying to capture it. Let it walk by and
respond by just smiling and saying I am happy there is beauty in the world
and I got to experience it today.

“By plucking her petals you do not gather the beauty of the flower.” – Rabindranath Tagore, 1861-1941, Indian Author, Nobel Prize in Literature 1913.

Anyone Who Keeps The Ability – Updated 2017

Day 2 in my week long series on beauty. If you have any great beauty
quotes send them along!

I love coming across explanations that just make perfect sense. This
one does. Being able to see (and appreciate) beauty is a sure sign a
person is curious, enthusiastic and joyful in his or her way of looking
at the world. It means they have the desire to explore because they
know there is a reward. The reward is beauty.

“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” – Franz Kafka, 1883 – 1924, Czech writer

An Adorable Pancreas – updated 2017

I am starting a week of beauty. I know what you are thinking, ‘but you
are already so cute Marty, you don’t need a week at a spa’. You are
probably right. I think I will forego the spa and just spend the time
drawing and talking about beauty instead.

The idea of beauty is problematic for an artist. If the artist is to be
honest he or she would have to say that outer beauty matters to them.
After all, they are creating objects that have outer beauty. They are looking
at the outside of things and giving their interpretation of them. They
are attracted to beauty. Beauty, of course, is defined differently by each
artist, but it is still a searching for and appreciation of beauty. Not
inner beauty, but outer beauty. The appearance of things.

So, how does an artist reconcile that desire to linger and study objects
of beauty and create objects that are also beautiful with the desire and
need to see the hidden beauty in things and people? How does an artist
build that appreciation for deeper beauty, the inner beauty while promoting
the value and worth of outer beauty?

Good questions.

“I am tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin deep. That’s enough, what you do you want – an adorable pancreas?” – Jean Kerr, 1922—2003, American author and playwright

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