Today after one of our art finals, the teacher gave us what he called “his speech.” Basically, he told us that we had to have enough of a passion for art to really, really work at it, because it wouldn’t be easy. We had to know what we wanted and be good at it, or, in his words, “the art world will chew you up and spit you out.” He rather scolded some of us for not giving our best or working at a college level. After he said “have a good summer” and we left, some of the students were happy that they wouldn’t have to see that teacher for three months… I think we were all intimidated and a little scared that we wouldn’t make it through the rest of our college career. Maybe some of them will change their major to business admin or humanities. Me? I am scared to death and have added a bunch of things to my “to do in order to be a professional artist” list. I do know, however, that God has made me an artist. I know how it feels to be so overwhelmed by beauty, that it results in a sort of sickness- a throbbing pain in the heart. I know the pressure of pent up self-expression and also the impatience of putting it all aside. I will not give up… I will give it my best!
Here I have been sitting, wondering how to do this project describing my plans for a future career & how I will achieve it. If I write about my career as a professional illustrator, I would have to say that I want to work for a publisher and churn out pictures 24/7- say that I would be happy with a salary of no less than $40,000 a year, and I can envision myself as some such-and-such in the world of artists and illustrators. And in the truth of this moment, this one thing becomes clear. This career assignment would be easy if I were writing about what I really want to be… a mother.
Here I am training in a prestigious art program, spending my days with all that concerns art. Telling my teachers that I want to be an illustrator – waiting for praise from them like a dog for a bone, and trying to hide the burden building on my heart of not wanting this, knowing it will be expensive and it will take so many years, and so much effort. And all I want to be is a mother. To have my own home and make my own bread and paint the walls and love my kids… to know that after work, my man would come in the door and I would have the honor of serving him & loving him as long as we both live.
Until the man walks into my life, I will be an artist. I will hide my true calling and masquerade behind my brushes & canvas. And when he comes, my life will begin.
I came in to this highly esteemed university with my portfolio, marched into the head of the art department’s office, and fully expected him to be as impressed as my family & friends were. I mean, hadn’t everybody praised my art to the skies when I posted it to facebook?
Then the very kind department head said that I definitely had something to build on, and generally treated me much more kindly than I deserved. My first formal training in art began, and I floundered in the new methods and tried not to scoff at drawing boxes and spheres. Deep down, I admitted that I wasn’t really very good at doing this by their methods- but after all, I really am a phenomenon, aren’t I?
When I started to throw off the ropes & life preservers of careful tightness in my art, when I got rid of my measuring ruler and my reference photos and only drew from life, everything changed. I felt the thrill of correct proportions and accurate values… knowing where the features go… memorizing the skeleton and the muscles with my humble pencil… and I thought, I really don’t know anything after all, but I will never stop learning.
my God and Father,
you make the morning stars sing
and the trees clap their hands.
you spin the softness of feathers
and gild the rising dawn,
and clean your brushes on the evening sky.
you choose the clouds for your garment,
your chariot a stormy tempest
and the rain your song of love.
Being an artist scares me. I am not confident in my ability, at least not in the degree I have now. I feel that intense practice and study are necessary to even compete with my peers at a level of excellence. One thing I am confident about, and that is the fact that I am uniquely called of God to be studying art. I can be sure of God’s plan for me & I can follow, but the weak part of me would rather not work so hard. I know the next two and a half years are going to be a very intense period of growth and constant challenge, taking me farther than I ever would go on my own. God must have a purpose for me greater than I can imagine… but whatever I do will be a result of his gifts, flowing from a heart that He created, for His glory. What can I do but do my art for Him?
Certain people in my life keep reminding me that the next semester is bearing down on me like a tornado. I wonder… when will I stop counting out my life in semesters? Right now my future looks exactly like this: semester, summer work, semester, winter work, semester, summer work, semester, winter work, semester. After that fateful last semester, all is question marks and hope and dreams. I get a kick out of people who ask me what I’m going to do with my studio art major, because I don’t know either. All I know is that God wants me to be an artist. I also know that He has my life all mapped out, down to the last destination. No worries.
Jorge Colombo’s art pushes all my hot buttons… I love the moods that he creates.
If I had never seen an entire display of Monet’s masterpieces, something far less might impress me; so when sin appeals to me, it is only because I am looking at sin rather than God. If I were looking at God, I would see that He is the definition of truth, goodness, and beauty. Sin will grow filthy to me if I gaze on God until I learn to see Him shining forth in His perfection of beauty (Ps. 50:2).
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Whistler’s series of nocturne paintings absolutely sweep me away. Check out http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/by_artist.php?id=428 to view the entire series, as well as almost two hundred of his other works. Art student’s paradise…
“Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.”
Today I discovered for myself why people always use the overworked illustration of the potter and the clay. I’m the type of person that avoids cliches like the plague, but I couldn’t help getting a personal viewpoint on the issue as I work the clay in the ceramics lab. It has never been this clear before. Am I really like that stupid clay that wobbles and shudders and squishes and won’t stay in the center? Ninety nine times out of a hundred, I get angry and throw it out.
“And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.”
He is the Potter, and you are the clay. So, please hear the short moral of my torturous night wrestling with clay — don’t struggle against His work in your life unless you want to bring yourself more trouble and pain.
“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”