Some thoughts on Beauty.

On my flights, with Wifi off and lots of time to do nothing, I often let myself think and journal... My brain is like a question-generator; I love asking fun questions, chasing rabbits, learning skills, and figuring out new ways of thinking about things! It's a total gift, and too often a curse, but I am what some might call an "over-thinker". Needless to say, I thought this one was interesting, so I typed it up and asked some friends about it...


So what is it that makes something, or someone beautiful?

Definition of Beautiful

1. Having qualities of beauty

2. Applies to whatever excites the keenest of pleasure to the senses and stirs emotion through the senses

Well, lets start with an object you might have called beautiful (a song, an animal, a place etc) and then come back to that question.  Fill in the blank for yourself, and write! 

What makes you describe _____________ as beautiful? 

For me – What is it that makes me describe some paintings as beautiful, but not all?

 A painting is beautiful when… it just feels right. I guess. 

Beauty is truly “in the eye of the beholder” in some sense. I may find a painting attractive and alluring, while someone else may not give it a sideways glance. To me, its beauty comes from something words cannot quite describe. Initially, it draws attention because of an emotion. It beckons by way of colors, shape, composition, theme, symbolism etc.

Something in it calls and captures an individual’s attention. Initially, one might exude a response of shock, or surprise – eyes dart to it by way of curiosity. Others are more subtle, and allure with tranquility and a peaceful aura.

So. What makes a painting beautiful

I want to say, the way it makes one feel, the emotional satisfaction.  When I find myself describing a painting with the word, “beautiful”, it has an emotional effect on me; it makes me feel more balanced, steady and at peace. 

It draws me in. 

Is my standard of beauty for myself, and others, falling short because of some fabricated image of beautiful? Where did this ideal come from? 

I think, by nature, I like to figure things out, and I enjoy the "chase", but why? It makes me think about the excitement of an abstract vs. a recognizable subject. I’m drawn to abstracts because they move and never quite stop moving. Subconsciously my eye is entertained trying to figure it out and make it into something I can name… but it’s an abstract. 

Abstracts are not intended to be figured out.

Our brains are always thinking – I guess it is an aspect of God to be a curious creator– to desire to design and make things “whole” again, to complete the picture, and decipher understanding. But what if you are complete, and beautiful when there is nothing to compare you to? 

Then, what makes a person beautiful, or not beautiful? 

I'm really not sure. But, I do know, we are made in the image of God. Each person is a painting, unique in itself. You can never be replicated. Each and every person has a beauty of his or her own, and that Beauty seems to speak to the Beauty in another (but not all others).  You are beautiful to another when something about you calls to something in another. They feel more balanced and steady, at peace and more whole around you. Physical beauty is only the initial aroma, the curious glance, something about one that invigorates and stirs an interest in another.

Your Beauty is the means in which one person finds a knowing and being known; it’s intoxicating. 

When people come to paint with me in a one-on-one lesson, I like to tell them, "What if you painted an apple, and your apple was the first apple ever to be created? Who is to tell you it is wrong?" Just something to think about. 

So in conclusion, I have clearly not solved this question…what makes someone, or something beautiful?  But I think it’s a good rabbit to chase to start thinking about how that ideal of “Beauty” got in our heads, and what are some of the lies we have believed... would love to hear your thoughts!

Jennie Pitts

Jennie Lou Art, Denver, Colorado

Jennie Pitts is a local painter out of Denver, Colorado. Born and raised in Austin, Texas. Paints original acrylic pieces specializing in live wedding paintings, and personalized commission pieces.