Water is life. Perhaps this is the reason it’s a recurring theme in all types of artwork. We are surrounded by water each and every day, and for this reason, I fear that we sometimes take it for granted and forget how dependent we are on it. We are fortunate to have water in such great abundance when there are still places and people for whom access to water is a luxury.
Water is vital for the health and well-being of all living things, and its role in industry is just as important. Without shipping channels, much of the world would be without food, fuel and other vital provisions. Throughout history, the harnessing of water through dams and mills has proven an invaluable natural energy resource.
Often, it is only when we are faced with water in nature that we truly appreciate its power and beauty. Both the lines of a majestic waterfall and the vastness of the ocean are awe inspiring, even more so because behind the beautiful surface is the reality of a potential destructive force. But as many images as we see on the nightly news of the damage water can cause, most of us continue to have good associations with its more gentle and enriching side.
The human body is mostly water, so it is not surprising that we respond deeply to the rhythms of the tides, the sights and sounds and sensation of being afloat stirring something primal and common to us all, and that we would seek to recapture that feeling in a work of art.
Whether picking a vacation destination or decorating their homes, many people seem to prefer landscapes that include some kind of body of water. Small streams and ponds, beaches and waterfront settings create an intimate familiar feeling but also connect us to something larger outside of ourselves. Think about that the next time you are at the beach or looking at a painting of one.
Brian Sylvester is a guest blogger on WallSpin, and an artist on Zatista.