May You Live a Life that is Texturally Rich

Digital illo from photos: May You Live a Life that is Texturally RichMy fellow undergrads and I used to wink at each other in amusement over the repetition of this magical phrase, “texturally rich,” that occurred with such impressive frequency in the comments and instructions of our drawing and printmaking professor. Then I grew up (a little). And became an art teacher at the same undergraduate institution. And caught myself using that same well-polished phrase myself, with no doubt equal frequency, if not more. Because, as I learned, the influence of textural variety, depth, accuracy, placement, and inventiveness can be incredibly subtle and amazingly powerful at the same time. This, as it happens, was a hallmark of that professor’s ways of living and teaching as well.

The more I learn, the more I have come to value that aspect equally. Noticing, respecting, and imitating a wide range of life’s textures in my own not only is more fulfilling, exciting, interesting, and enriching than not for me, but I find that it helps me to better understand and admire others and their respective multitudes of characteristics and quirks. And, in turn, to attempt to incorporate those, literally and figuratively. If I see the world around me as one smooth, flat, undifferentiated expanse of sameness, I have no need to learn and grow, and no real opportunities to do so. If I take note of all of the colors and shapes, thoughts and beliefs and ideals, of those around me and the environs in which we spend our time, and make the careful effort to examine these with thoughtfulness and patience, who knows but what I might gain, along with the wrinkles of age that will improve my physical texture, some new wrinkles of wisdom on my brain and new folds of compassion to put others more deeply in my heart.

Not least of all, I am guaranteed to be safe from ennui and protected from inventing for myself an unnaturally uninteresting universe, if I manage to keep my eyes, heart, and mind open to the textural richness all around me.

4 thoughts on “May You Live a Life that is Texturally Rich

  1. Texture is a wonderful way to describe the diversity and cultural richness we are surrounded by, all one needs to do is pay attention! love this, nice job! Michelle

    • Thanks, Michelle. I think of this professor/mentor/friend (now far away but still making wonderful art) often as time passes, and think what a marvelous teacher he was, to be able to teach me a large and useful life lesson in one little phrase.


  2. Very beautiful details you photographed there. Texture has for me more to do with touch, as if I can get my eyes to feel as I would feel under my fingers, as I would be touching whatever it is I am looking at.

    If the world would be flat and smooth, life would be boring. 😉

    • I do so agree!

      And I have come to think of texture as being possible not only in the tactile and visual senses but also in the metaphorical sense, when I go from putting my hand on a sculpture, to recognizing the changes in surface of it in a photo, and then to thinking about how its unique character differentiates it from all other things in life. A useful idea, for me. 🙂

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