Awakening the Artist Within

This is going to be a different kind of blog from the previous ones: less theological
and more personal. It will give you a flavor for my eclectic personality!
Perhaps we all have some of this in us of moving from one thought, one emotion,
one insight to another. Not linear, and probably not even circular. Rather, it’s
more like stars in the night sky that inevitably connect to one another and the
universe, but you don’t always know how.

I have an inner artist starting to awaken within me. This inner artist has made
appearances now and then. Recently, when my Mom gave me pictures I’d colored
when I was eight years old, I couldn’t believe I was the one who colored them AND
that I did such a good job. Wow! As I go through old boxes collecting dust in
our basement, I’ll stumble upon a mandala or drawing I did years ago. Again, I’ll
have the same reaction: Wow! Did I really do that?

My inner artist is awakening now more than ever. I view this as God kindling within me,
drawing me out (literally) in color, shape and form. Christine Valters Paintner
says, “Through art we can come to an experience of revelation about ourselves
and about God. Art helps to support our presence to those places of revelation
and creates space for us to receive our inner symbols.”  [1]

As I explore art and spirituality on my own and with friends by delving into more regular
art activities, I also am going to start offering this in spiritual direction.
Through art, we can touch the sacred. The process of creating art itself can be
a spiritual endeavor, a meeting of the divine presence. The imminent and transcendent
meet as I take a wet brush and sweep it through neopastel colors creating waves
of lavender, sage and mustard. God is revealed in and through me.

We already have what we need to be an artist. In fact, every one of us has an artist
within us lurking on the edges. This came to me so poignantly as I shopped
yesterday for some of my favorite crayons: Caran D’ache watersoluble crayons.
As I debated buying a few of the crayons at University Book Store (at a price
of $1.99 each!), I determined to wait and purchase them later. Then as I was
browsing through a container of my art supplies this morning, lo and behold I
found some of these very same crayons. There weren’t just one or two of them,
but 40! They had been sitting in this container for years, and I didn’t even
know it.

We already have what we need. Wow, you really can create art even if you think you don’t
have a fiber of art in your being. And best of all, through art you can meet
God dwelling in our midst.

Paintner, Christine Valters, and Betsey Beckman, “Awakening the Creative
Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction,” (Morehouse Publishing: New
York, 2010), 77.

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3 Responses to Awakening the Artist Within

  1. Ken Smith says:

    It’s amazing what good things have been sitting in our containers for years, and then we discover we have had this wonderful resource all along.

  2. Christine Melland says:

    Judy – Good inspiration to pick up the brush, pen or crayon and get started! Sometimes the path doesn’t become clear until we start. Keep ’em coming!

  3. Karen Majkrzak says:

    Hi Judy,

    I thought I would share two favorite quotes I have used on, where I post many of my photos! These seem to fit with your thoughtful and encouraging post!

    Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”
    ― Thomas Merton

    Creativity puts order into chaos, life into the inert, and beauty into the ordinary.
    — Edward J. Lavin

    Enjoy your day!

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