Here it goes.
I am an artist.
Something like a strangled laugh escapes me because I know most friends and family who read this will begin laughing hysterically; well, with moderate hysterics out of respect for my feelings. But heads will be shaken as they say, “Oh, girl … we already know that.”
Well shoot. I’m glad you knew it.
I’m still working on it.
Writer – that one I can own – have owned since before I knew it was even a question. Words are my warp and weft. They are my well-spun creation. They are my weapon. My sacrifice. My breath. My heartbeat.
But artist? How do I wrap my ownership around that when I can’t draw anything besides right eyes and vines; my perspective is skewed beyond belief; and the last painting I attempted of a leaf in a stream is drying for kindling – hidden away on a shelf beneath books.
This is my problem, and I suspect the trap that so many have fallen in to. Our idea of art is dictated by classes and theory and what becomes giltly framed in quiet museum halls. Rembrandt. Picasso. Matisse. Degas. It’s often paint – something with a brush. Perhaps bronze or marble. It follows the golden ratio and more formulas than a college math class. It is elevated so high above us – an ideal. But unachievable. Unattainable.
But what if …
- Color draws you and you can’t stop putting your pens in rainbow or complementary color order?
- You arrange pieces in your home to reflect beauty, balance, harmony, and peace?
- Your hands manage needles, hooks, and skein after skein of colored wool, silk, and other fibers into wondrous creations that are serviceable as well as beautiful?
- Light calls you and your answer is a camera and F-stops; making images from living art freeze into timeless images that hold memories forever?
- Sugar and flour move like magic in your hands and ingredients fall in line to become tasty treats or savory bites makes your audience swoon and then sigh with delight?
- Metal moves in your fingers and before you know if; you have the answer to a question like “what does ‘fresh words’ look like in three dimensions?”
- You open a journal and more than words spill out onto the page to breathe life into your feelings, emotions, and experiences?
It took more years than I’m comfortable acknowledging but I’ve finally opened my eyes and my heart to the idea that art can be more than a painting by a master in a museum. Art is creation and creating. It is acknowledging the gifts we have been given and saying a brave yes to that creation; allowing it to unfold and reveal itself in what we will do.
Art is a work of faith; this stepping out and being willing to own an idea and a title that may sit uncomfortably tight on our shoulders at first. But like any garment, we need to let it wear its way to just-right softness; loose about us. It will only get that way if we wear it.
In her wonderful book A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live, Emily P. Freeman writes:
As you move to the rhythm of the Spirit of God, what is within you that you can now give to someone else? Not for the glory of yourself, but as a person who bears the image of God in the world. What are those things in the deepest part of who you are, the personality and desires and unique blending of history and circumstance and longing – what is most alive in you as you are united with Christ that you can now pour out as an offering unto God for the benefit of others?And there it is: God given. Pouring Out. For the blessing of others. How can you say no to that?
On my blogging sabbatical in April, I spent time doing many things that fed my soul. I read. I wrote offline in my journal (more). I snuggled with my daughter and established some new habits that keep us connected. And I dug into art. I tossed out the ideas that I couldn’t draw and embraced the idea that I really love color and started Art Journaling.
(in)courage community groups. Options were open for the groups, but the word in my spirit was Art. Terrified, but encouraged by the book I was reading at the time, I said yes. And then promptly asked a friend to join me. This has led to an amazing shared vision between myself and my two co-leaders for a new (in)courage group that launches on Monday, May 19th. I’m excited about this new adventure and what it will bring. I’m looking forward to exploring myself as an artist, but even more, to encouraging other women who feel the pull and tug of art on their life but are not quite sure if they can own that title. You can, my friend. You surely can.
Stay tuned for more information on Monday, and in the meantime, keep my secret for me, would you?
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