To Be Beautiful

dogwood flower[Written by Lauren Caswell, one of my awesome daughters, a gifted architecture student at LaTech. Bottom photo is one of her paintings.]

To define what it means to be beautiful, you first have to study what it is that wants to be beautiful, because not everything will have to same definition for beautiful, even when coming from the same person.

For instance, to me, a beautiful flower is one that stands out in rich colors, draws your eye to the center in a pleasing way, and has a soft sweet smell. But, one cannot smell a cloud. So the definition of a beautiful cloud would be one that stretches across the sky linking other clouds together, using the sun or the moon’s light to create an array of colors on this normally opaque substance.

For buildings and physical structures, to be beautiful you have to have a purpose. Every good painting and sculpture has a purpose. Some are made to express feelings or to try and take the viewer’s mind to places they haven’t been to yet. Just making something pretty and pleasing to the eye is not the same as being beautiful.

Pretty is pleasing, but beauty is meaning.

To be beautiful, it has to answer a question and then ask more, it is never fun or progressive when all the answers are given to you.

Lauren's paintingIt doesn’t have to be unique and something completely different from what people have done before, because the world has been going on for a long time, and lots of thoughts have already been thought.

It is exciting to see new experiments and creations come together though. It just has to be new to you, to be beautiful.

To be beautiful, architecture should be structurally sound as well, something that can defy the moods of the weather and stand spite the gravity all around it. A building should be determined to stand for ages. To be beautiful, it should take the area around it into account. Not just a building on the land, but a building that links the land, sky, and everything in between together.

To be beautiful, it must take your breath away when you finally complete it. To be beautiful, the architect must be excited and joyful to design this piece, rather than take it as a job. To be beautiful, it must be complete.
To be beautiful, it must be a piece of your soul shining out in real life. To be beautiful, it shall be alive, whispering thoughts into your mind.

For that is what beauty is, a feeling. We may all define different things as beautiful, but beauty is still the same feeling for everyone. You know the feeling.