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Appreciating Patina.

One of my hobbies is collecting art from different cultures.  I have a nice collection of African Art.  Whether it is Pre-Columbian, African or American Indian art, collectors are interested in finding pieces with a nice patina.  Patina can be surface encrustations, such as mineral deposits, or a smoothness that comes from years of use.  An African mask with a fine patina is always more desirable than an unused, new piece.

A dark, smooth, warm glow adds a beauty to wood that is hard to reproduce artificially.  A mask with a patina holds a sense of history and tradition.  They are authentic and more valuable.  Even cracks and breaks add interest.  Repairs add, rather than detract, beauty and worth.

People are the same way.  Life gives people a patina.  Generally, the older a person is, the more beautiful their patina.  But it is not age alone that projects that warmth.  I have seen 100 year old African statues that  were never handled and they looked like tourist art that would be bought at the airport on the way out of the country.

The only way to develop a patina is through constant use.  You have to be used, bumped, worked, dropped, and picked up again.  You have to try, fail, then get up and try again.  You get worn down and that is how you develop a fine patina.  It is not fun.  It hurts.

Heavily patinated people are fascinating.  Think about the most interesting people you know.  They have been through the grinder!  Their stories are sometimes unbelievable.  They have a wisdom about them that comes from living so much life.  They are beautiful.

You develop a patina the same way you get a suntan.  Expose yourself!  Don’t hide from life.  Don’t sit at home watching TV.  Touch other people and let their lives touch yours.  Be used, love and be loved, take risks, be useful and let the hard knocks bring out the golden glow of your life’s patina.  Keep charging!!    Scott Alexander

Copyright 2009 by Scott Alexander

Photo courtesy of my good Rhino friend, Dave Hasley.

Photo courtesy of my good Rhino friend, Dave Hasley.

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10 2009

8 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. LESLIE S.S. #

    now that was awesome !! and so is the piece …its huge huh? i believe i have to say i fall in the they broke the mold on me thanks scott!

  2. scott #

    Leslie, you are heavily patinated!!!

  3. Paula McInaney/Nashville #

    I wondered what to call it .. now I know. Nice article friend and your timing could not be better 🙂

  4. scott #

    Thank you, Paula! Keep charging and adding to your patina!!

  5. Dave H. #

    I have never been so proud of my grey, er I mean patinated, hair! Your perspective is nothing short of profound!
    It is so easy to withdraw and shelter yourself after pain and disappointment have left you battered. Your words reinforce that the bench is still just the bench during a game, or during life. The fun is always out there on the field, playing!
    You have once again given me more reasons to catch a few torpedoes today and every day: my patina.
    Also thanks for giving my photo a home in such an honored place among so many well thought words. That is a smile of humility and appreciation creeping across my well patinated face.

  6. scott #

    Thank you, Dave! Good point about the bench and the game – get out there and play!!

  7. Nicci Petersen #

    I love it!! Ive been there and done that…and Im still wanting to go back and do it all again!! My hearts been broken and I still believe in love with my WHOLE heart!! as the saying goes “Life is too short” Im not wasting any time!

    You are inspirational Scott! Thanks

  8. scott #

    You made my day, Nicci!!! Thank you!!

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