When artists paint a diary of their lives, their work may be recognized globally, regionally, or locally. “Flag at Tybee Island” is a famous icon, as it is displayed on the only road to or from Tybee Island, Georgia. Tybee’s beaches attract tourists worldwide, and because the Internet brings every corner of the globe to the far reaches of the Earth, one doesn’t need to visit a place to be familiar with it.
This particular icon was also given international publicity. The flag was featured in major media after police officers rescued it from flood waters after a hurricane. That news story was then distributed widely online. So, while I painted this scene because it is my personal happy milestone telling me and my family that we are nearing our favorite weekend place, it is globally identifiable. When I posted this art online with no description, someone recognized it immediately as the flag from the Tybee Island roadside. What may be a personal “diary share” in the artist’s mind, may be globally recognized.
When paintings depict objects, people, or events that aren’t globally recognized, they may still be regionally identifiable. “Floral Cross” was inspired by a table display I admired on Easter morning at a new church I was attending. Each guest was invited to place real cut flowers into the cross display. I’d never experienced this beautiful Easter service ritual before, but the same experience was shared by all who attended that service, and was likely heard of throughout the region.
Even the things we see in our own backyards may be recognized, at least locally. I enjoy this little guy who comes to our patio hummingbird feeder often. He seems like “our” tiny wild pet, but he is of course an ordinary common bird belonging to nature. “My” backyard birds are all over the neighborhood, and little birds identical to him are local visitors to everyone in the surrounding area at the same time, as we share the same seasons, specific environmental conditions, and localized weather impacts.
When artists paint the things that they see in their daily lives as a shared diary of sorts, their work may be relatable on a global, regional, or local scale. However, spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally, any shared art can still be relatable, even if the viewer doesn’t recognize or connect with the painting through personal experience or prior knowledge. The beauty of sharing our personal lives with others is that we often find that other people have experienced similar joys, sorrows, and the full range of emotions that make us human. When we share our humanity, we are never alone.