I love poplar trees. My love for gazing at poplar leaves began long before I knew to take note of things that made my heart sing. My earliest memory of them was in my teens. There was a fancy outdoor shopping mall near my home and the entrance to the mall was lined with a huge semicircle of very tall poplars. I remember loving to watch their delicate, paper-thin leaves quake and flutter freely in all directions in the ocean breeze. It made my heart sing. I don’t really know why; I love to watch poplar leaves quaking in the breeze. It’s something about the way my brain processes visual events.
But if I had to guess, it’s something about the way the sunlight hits the leaves as they move freely. The leaves are all moving simultaneously, but independently, in endless combinations that cause a light show of color juxtaposition between the blue sky and the green leaves.
Another thing that made my heart sing was looking at paintings created using the technique known as pointillism. This technique that grew out of Impressionism was made famous in the mid-1880s by French artists Georges Seurat and Henri-Edmond Cross, among others. As opposed to paint colors being mixed on a palette prior to being applied
to the canvas, pure dots of color were applied directly to the canvas. This created an optical illusion of sorts whereby colors could be blended instead by the viewer’s eye. Pointillists used different hues of color in combination to achieve this effect. The style depended on the juxtaposition of complementary colors (which enhanced each other’s intensity)–such as blue and orange, for example.
Having never considered myself an art connoisseur, I never paid much attention to what happened inside me when I looked at a painting created using the pointillism technique. Sure, I had all the art appreciation modules in elementary school, but I never got why works were supposedly “moving” to people. I usually yawned and wondered how long till recess. However, the only art appreciation modules I enjoyed looking at were when pointillism was the featured painting style. Although even back then, I didn’t think much about the fact that I loved looking at them. It wasn’t till 40 years later when my son’s elementary school did the pointillism module that it struck me. I LOVE this!
I don’t know why I love to fixate on poplar leaves and pointillism paintings. Does it matter? Probably not. Both the movement of the delicate leaves and the purposely placed dots of color create a kind of light show that calms my brain. They create a sense of freedom and harmony in my brain. I need to pay attention to these messages.
Meditation/Prayer for the Day:
Dear God, Help me to remember to pay attention when something is pleasing to look at. These things that make my heart sing. Thank You for things that make my heart sing. Help me remember to seek out more of these things today.
Call to Action:
What makes your heart sing? Try to describe why. Write it down. Seek out more of these things. Listen.
Sally Bartlett, ©2021