True art, Artist and inspiration

The Artist and the Spiritual Student

“Artists, aware of a more vivid and more beautiful world than other men, are always driven by their love and enthusiasm to try and express, bring into direct manifestation, those deeper significances of form, sound, rhythm, which they have been able to apprehend; and, doing this, they taste deeper and deeper truths, make even closer unions with the Real. … Each one, thus bringing new aspects of beauty, new ways of seeing and hearing within the reach of the race, does something to amend the sorry universe of common sense, the more hideous universe of greed, and redeem his fellows from their old, slack servitude to a lower range of significances. … For them contemplation and action are not opposites, but two interdependent forms of a life that is one.” ~Evelyn Underhill

The Artist

A true artist does see the world in a different, and usually more beautiful, way than the



rest of us. A good example is painter Georgia O’Keefe. According to a story I read once, a friend suggested to her, after she had become a fairly well known artist with enough money to live where she wanted to, that she move out of the desert to a “more beautiful place”. O’Keefe was shocked because to her the desert was a beautiful place.

Today. Of course, there are artists who don’t fit the description in Underhill’s book. They are only interested in making money, doing art that sells, instead of putting their visions into art. But there are still plenty of real artists around.


The artists will tell you that there are many things that inspire them, and that is true in a sense. The true artist, however, is a spiritual person to some degree, even if they are not consciously aware of it. Seeing things more as they are rather than as they appear to be is both the realm of the artist and the realm of the spiritual person. The artist may not see as deeply behind the illusion as the trained spiritual student, but enough to inspire their artworks.

Contemplation and Action

The artist is an ideal combination of contemplation and action. Seeing beyond the veil isn’t good enough. We must not only see what is hidden, but share that vision with others so they can learn to see it too. This is true of the artist, but it is even more true of the spiritual person. A properly taught spiritual person sees beyond illusion better than anyone else, and has an obligation to do something about it, to take action, to share that vision with others. It is not enough to sit in contemplation of the spiritual sun or anything else. We must also take action based on our knowledge and talents.

Tension and artist

The Artist and the Mystic share a Dilemma

The Dilemma of the Artist and the Mystic

“The earthly artist, because perception brings with it the imperative longing for expression, tries to give us in color, sound or words a hint of his ecstasy, his glimpse of truth. Only those who have tried, know how small a fraction of his vision he can, under the most favorable circumstances, contrive to represent. The mystic, too, tries very hard to tell an unwilling world his secret. But in his case, the difficulties are enormously increased. First, there is the huge disparity between his unspeakable experience and the language which will most nearly suggest it. Next, there is the great gulf fixed between his mind and the mind of the world. His audience must be … caught us to something of his state, before they can be made to understand.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Many people don’t realize it, but it is quite true that artists often struggle with trying to express the images or thoughts in their mind. We know that many great painters have actually destroyed some of their own works by painting something new over the original because they were simply not satisfied with it. Composers will sometimes rework their compositions over and over trying to get them just right, and some musicians will play a song over and over trying to get it just the way they want it. This is true of virtually all artists, and especially if they are inspired by a certain degree of spiritual awareness, or have a spiritual muse that they may not even be aware of. Georgia O’Keeffe was frustrated that others couldn’t see the beauty in the desert that she saw, so she blew up tiny desert flowers into giant ones on canvas. She continued to do the same with other flowers making those giant flowers her signature style (along with desert scenes). Continue reading “The Artist and the Mystic share a Dilemma”