The arts serve myriad purposes, but mainly they enrich the lives of individuals. Arts, done well, evoke emotion by revealing truths through that selective recreation of reality chosen by the artist.
A favorite poem may be said to "work on many levels," while a painting or film may show something different each time it's viewed.
The arts touch us, make us think and feel. And maybe they teach. Whatever the case, they work better when the viewer or listener is active with the piece, bringing something of his or her own to the experience instead of just being a passive spectator.
It's the presence of an active viewer that allows the art to reveal by evoking truths and insights.
This was exemplified by several remarks made by those attending the opening of the new Andrew Wyeth exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum.
The exhibit "Andrew Wyeth: Master Drawings from the Artist's Collection" is a display of 44 drawings made from the early 1950s through 2005. It runs through July 16.
Which truths are revealed may differ from one to the other, but truths such as the need for perseverance and preparation are universal.
Though Mr. Wyeth's finished works are deemed masterpieces that reflect perfection, one Chester County artist said he learned through his contact with the master that one doesn't have to be perfect.
Billy Basciani said he's learned from visiting the Wyeth studio that perseverance is what counts. He's seen the discarded drawings at the studio, he said, and realized that continuing to try is what's important. "It's a process."
There is also a need for proper preparation, as noted by two adult art students who study with another local artist, Karl Kuerner.
The drawings on display are called studies, but according to Rena Cuno and Sue Minarchi, the drawing were more like finished masterpieces.
And perhaps it was Ms. Minarchi who got to the heart of the matter when she asked a possibly rhetorical question. "Are his final works so tremendous because he's done so much works in advance?"
Most artists in any media or art form would say "Yes."
Actors know that to give life to a character on stage or film requires preparation and discovery during the rehearsal phases of a production. The martial artist, too, knows that the more perspiration there is in training, the less danger there is in a real confrontation.
Are the lessons, the truths of persistence and dedicated preparation new? No, they are the obvious, or should be anyway to anyone who's lived beyond the teenage years. Yet sometimes each of us needs to be reminded of the obvious.
And therein lies another of arts methods of eliciting truth. It reminds us of the obvious in a gentle manner without shouting or scolding, but simply by being what it is and by leading by its own example.
What we as individuals do with those lessons is our responsibility. Each of us should prepare to persist in whatever we choose to do.