"We are all creative beings and when we accept that we were created in the image of God by the ultimate Creator then we understand our paying attention to our creative promptings is paying attention to a divine call."
Art changes us. It changes us as the artist and as the benefactor. There's a silent energy behind it all. A force larger than we are that allows us to connect to ourselves and others at a deeper level. It's a type of communion with the inner spirit and God. A sacred nurturing that is missed when we ignore or minimize it.
When I take time to write or paint, it's truly a communion with God. It's an intertwining, in a sense. A call and response. It requires an openness and vulnerability. A time when all the mental chatter is silenced. A surrendering to the moment when time no longer exists. A trust in what can't be seen or understood except by the artist, if anyone.
We are all creative beings and when we accept that we were created in the image of God by the ultimate Creator then we understand our paying attention to our creative promptings is paying attention to a divine call.
But this can be challenging. How do we pay attention to our Muse and pay the bills? I know first hand the struggles an artist often has to provide for herself with an artist's salary. Nonetheless, paying attention, ourselves, to our art is required -- whether we do it to make money or not. We definitely must do it to make a living. ("Making a living" is different than making money! Making a living speaks to the essence of life and not just to the material aspects.)
I used to think to be an artist meant having enough money to not have to work anywhere else, to win awards, to be nationally known. And, in honesty, I would get upset with God, question Him/Her about my "gift" because it seemed to not bear all the fruit I desired. But being an artist means living truthfully and creatively. It means living with an artist's heart and spirit when you are and are not creating your work.
I've learned this mostly by watching Uncle John, whose list of awards includes a Pulitzer Prize. He's the most generous, humble, loving man I know. His life is the art and his photography is an extension of it. Being an artist means co-creating, with the Holy Spirit, the life you desire. It means having an artist's (open) heart and (open) eyes.
On this journey, as I take in all the lessons and connect the dots, I realize that our greatest work is how we love God, ourselves and others. It's the day by day moments, not the large ones we tend to hold our breath for, that matter most. It's how we listen, how we care, how we acknowledge others and God in our art and our life that allows us to be a medium for the kind of Love Jesus talked about and demonstrated.
Art as a third space for me is not where I return when I feel I need to refuel but the place that bubbles over throughout the day. Our artistic nature is in the way we dress, how we color our hair, how we look at the world, how we make others feel. Art is a sanctuary that is never turns its back.
So go ahead my fellow travelers, give yourself permission to scream from the mountain top that you are an artist and that you are in love with your art! Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, know that inside of you is a calling to create as only you can. Find that third space within that you've been ignoring or pacifying and let it emerge. Art is the language that transcends every language. Don't try to understand it all at once. Just trust and enjoy it!
Question for the week:
What have you been dying to create?
To see more about the Lucie Awards and John H. White's honor, visit here.
For more about Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts (SECCA), click here.
To learn about Second Saturday, visit Women Writers of the Triad.