Beauty Pleases Us: Representational Art Versus the Abstract

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

Most would agree that this painting is beautiful. “The Birth of Venus,” 1486, Sandro Botticelli. Uffizi, Florence. (Public Domain)

Four or five times a week, I escape the solitude of the house where I live and head into Front Royal, Virginia, to the Happy Creek Coffee Shop to write for a while and surround myself with other people. Originally built as a stable and livery in the 1880s, Happy Creek today serves not only as a coffee shop and café but also as a gallery. Local artists hang their paintings and drawings from the old brick walls for about a month, and then a new display goes up.

Coffee Shop Epiphany

This week a 16-year-old, Dominica, whose father is a friend of mine, exhibited her work on one wall of the shop while a girl of 15, unfamiliar to me, arranged her paintings on the wall opposite. Both young women display incredible talent, particularly in their paintings of the human form.