When the first human picked up a piece of charcoal from the fire pit and began to scratch marks onto the rocks nearby, art was born. And from that moment to this day the idea of art has been debated. What is art? How does art differ from craft, from trade? What meaning should be given to art? Does meaning reside in the artist or the audience? When art becomes utilitarian does it stop being art? As is obvious the questions concerning art can be endless (also boring, unless you are a philosopher or artist). I believe that there are no clear cut answers. I think each artist, each participant, each audience member has to search their own spirits for the answers to the questions concerning the idea of art. But the real shame is that few people really earnestly search their hearts for answers that they hold dear. And this apathy towards deep thinking extends to all aspects of life: politics, religion, culture, music, art, food... (again another possibly endless list). It is much easier for many to find a respected leader to follow, then it is to think their own thoughts, develop convictions and hold to them.
And so what is my deep thought on the idea of art? I think art has meaning when it is made by the artist, that meaning may or may not translate to the audience, but the audience will develop their own meaning. My art is spiritual, although I do not require the audience to view it as such. In my art, I search for something that is "more" or "other" than the physical, the mundane. I would like to think that my art holds many meanings and each time it is viewed (meditated upon) one can walk away with new insights. I like to think of painting a piece as a spiritual exercise. I like to thinking of viewing a piece as a spiritual exercise. I know that may seem like much to grasp for... but I feel the same way about nature around me. My mood and attitude which I bring to the viewing can color (emotionally) a painting more than any descriptions or captions by the artist. I would hope that my art can reach out to others in the same manner. But if it does not I am not disappointed. I think of my art as spiritual expressionism.
Perhaps this is a wandering answer to the question, but it is where I am at this point. As my art grows, as my spiritual life grows I am sure my answer will also mature and grow. That is a part of life and a part of thinking deeply: growth into the next phase of life.