“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”*
—Leonardo Da Vinci
I have to admit that I do not know exactly what Leonardo meant by these words, but this quotation is thought-provoking for me. As usual, I am feeling a little sad with the approaching of winter and even the holidays. I need some encouragement. One way I can find encouragement, is to work with my hands.
I was having a conversation with an artist/teacher friend the other day, and we agreed that there is something healing about creating with your hands. I find that whether it’s painting, drawing, or making a pie for Thanksgiving, I feel better and breathe easier when I’m working with my hands.
Too often, I am just “in my head,” worrying over the grandkids’ health or the latest car trouble, and I need the healing that creative work brings. We sometimes act like we are only vehicles meant to carry our brains around while they do all of the important work. The reality is, we are body, soul, and spirit, all connected and created to act as a whole.
Perhaps this is what Leonardo meant when he said the spirit needs to work with the hands: Sometimes, when our hands are able to create what our spirits are needing to express, what results is art–something that goes beyond just one person’s expression and becomes universally true and impactful in unique ways to the viewer.
Simply working with our hands can be healing and helpful, but when the spirit shows up expressing truth through beauty, this is art.