beautiful is just fine

At yesterday's gallery talk by photographer Barbara Southworth and watercolorist Deborah Ellis, something Barbara said really resonated with me:

It's okay to strive for beauty in one's art. "Pretty," not so much...but I see nothing wrong with accessible and beautiful. Not all art has to make us stand there and scratch our heads, wondering what it's about.

Perhaps as an emerging artist, I've felt inadequate by creating objects that I feel are "just beautiful." As if, by being pleasing to me or inspired by the person for whom I make the piece, they are somehow not art. These, I know, are the voices in my own head, not the truth.

I'm not there yet on incorporating (or even knowing) the layers of meaning and technique that become great art. Not even sure that's where I want to go with this. Then again, the surprising responses I get from people who see my work tell me it goes beyond just being another pretty face.