Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Artistry 101

An artist. It's all I ever really wanted to be. 

I have a long stream of  'failed' artistic pursuits to prove it: sculpting, painting, guitar playing, singing.. The list could go on. The results of my endeavors were passably good, but really were not exceptional in any way. No matter how inspired my attempts, the end-product was always disappointing. 

Usually my painting sessions went a little like this: I'd feel super emotional, turn on worship music, weep, and paint for hours. It was ugly, and frankly, so were my paintings! I loved the artistic process, and yet despised the results produced by my own hands. 

One day, I simply decided that I wasn't an artist. I couldn't do it, and it just wasn't meant to be.  

I thought I'd find relief in this declaration, but instead, I  found myself trapped. I had a great desire to create, but was afraid of disappointment. I was envious (even bitter) toward other artists, because more than I wanted their talent, I craved their creative freedom.

Freedom came one day the form of a simple revelation. A whisper in my spirit, "You're made up of the very stuff it takes..The desire to create and replicate beauty is what formed you as a human being." A wave of empowerment literally flushed my face.. followed by the whisper of a kind rebuke.. "Practice." 

Ahhh. Practice. I failed to consider that just  like any other skill, making great art takes practice. Lots and lots of practice. Failure is simply a part of the gig, and I was judging my skill without backing it up with any real practice. 

I feel confident calling myself an artist now, but only after much practice and divine revelation.

When I watched the short narrative below, it reminded me of this first season of difficulty in my artistic career. It speaks to the intial and painful gap in an artist's work and their taste level. If your heart is longing to create more than your hands will let you, then I implore of you to watch this little video.

                         Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

As lovers of Jesus, just give this a little think: You were made in the image of  beauty itself... in the image of the most splendid Creator. Your heritage is one of conjuring something out of nothing, of calling out beauty where there is none. You can't help but be an artist in your own unique way. 

Be encouraged that the works of your hands today do not define the boundaries of your talent for tomorrow. Keep at it! Keep making and creating.  Fail in big and bold ways, and trust your own eye.

If you're trying to become an artist, you don't have to look very far. We are, after all, the Creator's most splendid masterpiece.


  1. I can so relate. Thanks, Lindsey.

    (Know what book I love? a kids' book called "ish" about a little guy who loved to paint, but hated the results... thank God for redeeming our failures & disappointments.)

    thanks for sharing your heart and wisdom!

    1. Thank YOU! I looked up that little book and just fell in love with it!