Art and Aesthetics in Action
Written by: Professor Severyn T. Bruyn


Tree fairy
Circles of Gnomes

Tree Fairy

Tree Fairy

Tree Fairy

When our daughter Susan was five years old, she made up a poem,
“Have you seen a fairy?
I have.
Where is it?”

At my age,
I saw a fairy sitting under some trees.

A Circle of Gnomes

A Circle of Gnomes
A Circle of Gnomes

Have you seen a gnome?
I have.
I saw five gnomes sitting in a circle holding hands, celebrating breakfast.

A Circle of Hobbits
A Circle of Hobbits

Then I saw seven hobbits. They were playing in the round, as you can see.

Do you want the truth?
Hobbits, elves, gnomes, and fairies are real. They are a fact of life. J. R. R. Tolkien validates them and describes them in his artwork.  He tells us a story of origins and powers.

The first Elves awoke by Cuiviénen, the Water of
Awakening in the far east of Middle-earth, long Ages
before the Rising of the Sun or Moon. Unlike Men,
the Elves were not subject to illness or death, and at
the time of the Lord of the Rings, there were still at
least two Elves in Aman who had awoken by
Cuiviénen in the first days; Ingwë, Lord of the
Vanyar, and Olwë, brother of King Elu Thingol.


(Carved in Wood)

I love art, and I love history, but it is living art and living history that I love....It is in the interest of living art and living history that I oppose so-called restoration. What history can there be in a building bedaubed with ornament, which cannot at the best be anything but a hopeless and lifeless imitation of the hope and vigour of the earlier world?

William Morris (1834?1896), British artist. Lecture, 1882. “The History of Pattern-Designing,” vol. 22, The Collected Works of William Morris (1910-1915).

The Pilot

The Pilot
The Pilot

Some art is pure fancy.

Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart or in thehead?
How begot,how nourished?
Reply! Reply!
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, III



Do we all wear masks in this earth life?

The Chinese say that one person projects the heat and quickness of summer Fire, another projects cold Winter, a third replicates Dry autumn, and on; so the differences in people and personalities and faces keep mounting, on and on. How is it possible that so many people, so different, make a community?  

By the way,
Can art be judged by universal criteria?

Woman in a Bowl

Woman in a Bowl  Bowl of Ecstacy
Woman in a Bowl
No comment.

Baby Born in a Cup

Baby Born in a Cup
Baby Born in a Cup

This Baby in a Cup is a tribute:
To my birth into retirement and
To a Department renaissance.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life’s star,
Had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

William Wordsworth, Ode: Intimations of Immortality [1807]  

A Turtle and the Elements

Turtles all the Way Down
A Turtle and the Elements

Sociologist Ken Wilber argues that reality is not composed of things; rather it is composed of “wholes” that are at once parts of other wholes, with no upward or downward limit. He calls them “holons.”
There is an old joke about a King who goes to a Wiseperson and asks how is it that the Earth doesn’t fall down? The Wiseperson replies, “The Earth is resting on a lion.” “On what, then, is the lion resting?” “The lion is resting on an elephant.” “On what is the elephant resting?” “The elephant is resting on a turtle.” On what is the…” “You can stop right there, your Majesty. It’s turtles all the way down.

When Earth’s last picture is painted, and the tubes
Are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colors have faded, and the
youngest critic has died,
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it – lie
down for an eon or two,
Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put
us to work anew.

Rudyard Kipling, When Earth’s Last Picture is Painted [1892]

China Set in Forest (Two Pictures]
Dinner Plates [detail]
Salad Bowls [detail]
Dinner Mugs [detail]
A Cup

Pottery Bowls
On the Edge
Pottery Bowl with Tools
Dish for All Things
Covered Dish
Flower Urn
Tree Fairy
A Circle of Gnomes
A Circle of Hobbits
The Pilot
Naked in a Bowl
A Turtle and the Elements