Thanks to the twenty-first century, I had many sources to poll for answers. This early find with a lot of "hits" on google, Wikihow says:
Love is both an action and a feeling. The action of love generates a blissful feeling called by the same name. When the action stops, the blissful feeling is replaced with pain. Every person is capable of great love (and its opposite, fear, which generates all painful emotions such as hate, greed and jealousy)...(http://www.wikihow.com/Love)
Okay...but its hard to quantify love with anything concrete. It cannot be encapsulated, or accurately represented. It's like trying to render 'peace', or 'integrity'. Automatically, due to the abstract nature of these concepts, and the limitations of these words that define the undefinable, one has to go another step further- we must 'define the word that we use to define the undefinable'.
Not to mention when it comes to "love" there are so many different manifestations of this idea 'love' depending on the circumstance, the back story, the individual doing the 'loving' and the individual who is the object of this 'love', or if the object of this love is indeed an object, and not a human. To continue in this vein, sometimes there is love for a moment in time, a memory, an experience...the abstract 'love' of other abstract concepts (see saudade).
In partnerships individuals convey love with trite symbols like roses or jewelry, or other concrete gifts that suggest the abstract idea often associated with love, called thoughtfulness. But to 'define the word that we use to define the undefinable' for the artist, first a story must be created, a premise under which we can resurrect feelings of love, or commemorate love we have or had, or memories of love (double entendre abstractions!) or a scenario in which we as humans who are part of a society can instinctively acknowledge automatically that "there is love in this circumstance".
Then the artist must decide how, frozen in time, using symbols of this story that attempts to describe or portray the impossible, ethereal 'love', that she can give her portrayal, nay her interpretation, of the encapsulating word and notion "LOVE". visually.
Here's what I got so far:
Just the bare bones...
I'm still working out the kinks of my piece for the '6th annual Portland Love Show'.
If you want to see the finished piece and hear my musings and philosophical banter (perhaps with only myself...) further on this topic, may I remind you local Portlandia-ers to scurry your little bottoms down to the Gallery Homeland on February 12th post-6 P.M. and show some love for me and my friend Katie Brandy (amongst 298 other artists).
Consider this event announcement number two!
Much "love" (*wink*)
|Leap Year Baby|
( 'Work' of Art VI)
(author's note: as you can see, if I have this much time to ponder and philosophize over "love", I've got some extra time on my hands...maybe a little parched in the 'love' department...)