Art: You Know It When You See It

From impressionism to pointililsm to my nursery-school grandboy’s stick figures with appendage-sprouting-heads, the outward expression of other peoples’ internal creativity knocks me out. Whatever it is.

Following a visit to the Van Gogh Museum, an old friend and I had a big argument about whether or not an objective definition of good art exists. I said no. He said yes—using the exhibit as evidence of a quantifiable measure of talent. I refuted this by saying there were only two paintings in the whole building that I would want in my living room. And only if I could get a good deal. Everything else was too bleak.

We ended up agreeing to disagree.

(He was wrong.)

Granted, I did doze through my one art appreciation class (dim lights and overheated auditorium resulted in large group-naps) but I do know what makes me happy.

And to me that’s as decent a definition of good art as any.

Here are some fun outside installations I get to see whenever I leave home. These photos were snapped after a long winter.

Trikes mixed with flowers
Photo courtesy of author

The artist told me he arranges his garden sculptures to compensate for the brevity of spring blooms. Bold red ride on-toys amongst short-lived daffodils.


Someone else put up the sculpture that looks like an oversized stone hive. The way it settles into the still dormant woods like a black and white photograph is pretty incredible. Throw in the yellow blooms and it looks like hope on the march.

Hive made of stones in the woods
Photo courtesy of author



The Stonehengey piece is going to baffle future generations almost as much as it does me. But it’s cool.

Stonehenge in woods
Photo courtesy of author




Sometimes this one reminds me of a sunset behind the Blue Ridge Mountains. Other times, it reminds me of an eyeball .

Stone sculpture of sunrise behind mountains
Photo courtesy of author



And this is outside art coming into my kitchen.

Picturesque view of outside from kitchen
Photo courtesy of author




There is art everywhere. And space for all of it.


Except for clown portraits, of course. There’s no room for those.


PS: Here’s one more.

Simpsons dolls, framed
Photo courtesy of author

Because why shouldn’t Happy Meal toys be framed?

Erika Raskin
Erika Raskin is Streetlight‘s fiction editor. She is the author of Best Intentions and Close and has recently finished a novel-in-stories that is set, like she is, in Charlottesville. Check her out on @erikaraskin or on

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