Friday, July 6, 2012

Art - I Am a Christian Artist

From the time I was very young, I have loved art. Somewhere right around first grade they gave us these little books that we were to color and then read. I'd stretch out the coloring portion as long as I possibly could, covering every square inch of paper in order to delay the dreaded second part. When I'd failed to learn the ABC's, my mother came up with the idea of drawing pictures formed from each letter and invented a story to go along. Art was the tool she needed to break through the fog in my mind.

I don't know why, but I lived in dream. It wasn't until third grade that I began paying attention in class after being frightened by the threat of punishment. Maybe it was because I had suffered through several traumatic experiences during childhood. Art was a place I could escape when the world around me seemed so out of control. Perhaps it brought stability into my life. Certainly I enjoyed the praise that followed my work, but there was another compelling aspect: the sheer joy and satisfaction of making beauty from a blank sheet of paper. An artist can feel something of the pleasure God must have experienced when He created the universe.

I never used art to replicate the horrors in my life. Around 5th grade a friend asked me to mold a perverse sculpture from play dough. I was very reluctant, but she kept pestering me until I finally gave in. Even that young, I knew deep down that it was wrong to use the talent God gave me for evil. Afterwards my conscience was so pricked, I immediately asked forgiveness and resolved never to do such a thing again. And I haven't. It truly repulses me when artists use their gifts to produce profane or obscene art.

I spent endless hours drawing and coloring. Sometimes I traced illustrations or my mother's drawings. Later, I painted blown out eggs and clay figures in acrylics. High school brought electives in drawing, cartooning, pottery, and calligraphy. My pottery instructor allowed me to work independently on long, detailed projects rather than the simple coil and pinch pots the rest of the class made. A teacher once told me that I was crazy if I didn't become an artist. But as college drew nearer, I had concerns about the financial stability of such a degree. I chose electrical engineering. Math wasn't my favorite subject, but at least I could make a decent living from it!
Cards from My Watercolors

A couple years in, when I began having doubts, I took a drawing class. Unfortunately, the professor and I didn't click. It was a terrible shock when I received a B in a subject that should have been an easy A. If I wanted a degree in art, I would be required to take several classes from him. I continued in EE and decided to keep art at the hobby level. Of course, it was all part of God's perfect plan. Staying put was how I became acquainted with my husband-to-be, marrying just a few weeks after graduation. During our first year, I tried an oils course and later, several watercolor classes.

Someday, if God wills, I'd like to paint for His glory. There hasn't been much time as a wife and mother, roles far more rewarding and enjoyable than any career. And there are plenty of outlets for creativity - teaching co-op classes, planning parties, creating our Christmas cards. In fact, the co-op art class I finished in May greatly expanded my artistic horizons while enabling me to offer students something of academic value. (I may do a few posts about it!) Art has played a big role in who I am. Whether or not I ever become a professional artist, I thank Jesus for the ways it has enriched my life. What a joy it is to be apprenticed to the Master!


katrina said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, your art. I keep the card you sent me in my Bible and when I see it I pray over you and your family. It also makes me smile. It is just beautiful. You have a God given talent and I hope you are able "paint for His glory" some day!

Farrah said...

Thank you for sharing that!! It's really encouraging. =)