The interesting thing about artists is that no matter how much we criticize ourselves or our art, we have a great sense of pride in what we create. In my own experience, a painting can be broken down into roughly three stages.
Stage 1. The initial spark…the idea and creation of the initial groundwork for the painting. This is one of my favorite stages. I have a vision, I can see the end product clearly and beautifully. I love throwing a bunch of paint on the canvas or leafs or sticks or sometimes I’ll even take off my shoe to make shoe prints. Laying the groundwork and the initial structure for a painting is one of the most freeing parts of the process because, “hey if I screw up, I can always fix it later.”
Stage 2. This is when a painting gets tricky. Sometimes this stage can be easy and enjoyable. Other times, I feel like bursting into tears of frustration because, “gosh darn it! I just can’t get their nose right!” This is when things get tedious. I usually end up taking a bunch of pictures on my phone at varying stages of the painting. When I am not actively painting, I’m looking at the photos thinking about what it needs or what I will add or fix next time I am painting. This is the part that tests me. Sometimes, I’m ashamed to admit, I give up and start over at Stage 1. However, another part relishes this challenge because I know that it will lead me to the third and best stage.
Stage 3. Ahhhhh…the finishing touches are being laid. That little voice inside my chest is saying “its done now.” I sign my name in a corner, think of some “out there” artistic title or the first thing that pops into my mind…yes I have named a painting “Bacon” before. I step back and I admire it. I’ll text my family or put it on instagram. I don’t particularly care at this point what others think. Yes its nice when other people agree with me. And I definitely get a little hurt when my dad says my grizzly bear looks like a raccoon. However, this is my painting, my creation, and my idea. I take great pride in it.
Great Andie! What’s the point of this blog really?
Glad you asked…
As you can see, this is just a mere glimpse of the creative process that goes into one of my art pieces. I cannot explain it but, I always feel so deeply connected to each and every one of them. Let me clarify where I am going with this with another analogy:
Say you are painting something…like a lion. You put in countless hours making it perfect and exactly how you want it. You feel like your very heart and soul went into creating it. When you're done, you step back to admire it and all the sudden, the painting starts talking to you. At first you are overjoyed, but then you realize that the lion you painted is saying, ”you didn’t create me! I just showed up here. You don’t care for me. You don’t know me. I don’t even believe you’re real. Why the crap would you make my main blue? Idiot. You know what, I am not a lion. I want to be a giraffe instead. I also think I am ugly, stupid, worthless”…etc.
Needless to say I would probably put my foot through that canvas and toss it into a fire pit and scatter its ashes across cow manure. The pride in me wouldn’t be able to handle it. How dare it deny me as its creator! How dare it say I don’t exist! Who gave it the right to call itself a giraffe or ugly or stupid.
This revelation hit me like a ton of bricks one day. I realized that I had done this with God. God, the Master Creator, who had designed the universe and had designed me as he intended me to be. I had broken his heart by denying him, calling myself worthless, or the other extreme…treating myself as my own master and god.
Luckily, this is where my analogy has serious flaws. God did not stomp me out of existence or scatter my ashes in cow poop. He loved me and forgave me. He used his own blood as paint to fix my flaws through his death on the cross. In fact, he is still indeed making me a new creation through his mercy and love every single day. Now whenever I have the audacity to look to myself as greater or less than his wonderful creation, I am reminded that he is the Master Creator. And if I, a seriously flawed artist, can love my own art. How much more does a perfect Father who has redeemed me, love and care for me.
Creation exalts him, the mountains sing his praises. If we don’t cry out, the rocks will. How worthy of praise he is. He made me who I am. He loves me too much to leave me in my flaws. He doesn’t give up in Stage 2. of the art process. He signed his name on me when he said “it is finished.” I am his and he is mine forever.
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