What is important when creating art?

Some people would say “an imagination”
Some people would say “the right tools or ingredients”
Some people would say “contrast”

What is art? To me… It is something that is done to bring beauty to our attention.

A concerto played by a violinist over an orchestra
A black and white photo of a small Indian girl smiling in the rain
A sculpture of dolphins jumping in tandem
A plate of carefully adorned delicacies

As a father with less free time than a squirrel two days before hibernation, I have realized an internal contradiction: I want to spend equal time looking at & watching my son as well as holding him, that I find myself rather doing neither at times. I imagine myself as a painter staring at a canvas, torn between adding another brushstroke and being preoccupied with observing the unfolding masterpiece before him. This crossroads is not healthy and it is certainly not a landing pad for peaceful living. The biggest downfall of an artist is to rely on previous work to sustain oneself.

True art is not formed by fear. True art is always unfolding.

This type of stagnation goes against how God created us. “Great is His faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:23. Psalm 96 starts by saying “Sing a new song to the Lord!”

When I hear the word “art” the strongest correlation in my mind is with oil paintings. Must be something in the way I was brought up. You’d think I’d think “music” being a musician…nevertheless, I believe we would all benefit from viewing our lives as a constant art form. Asking internal/metaphorical questions such as: “What colors am I using today to compose my art/life?” “Have I thought about what others will see when they see my life/art?” “Is my life painting flowers or storm clouds?”

Two of the most important concepts in visual art are PERSPECTIVE and LIGHT. These two, when used effectively can be the foundation of a true masterpiece.

Perspective dictates how we see life/art. It may be the view of the artist, the view of the subject, an imagined depiction of something unseen. But, it is also how we decipher foreground and background. Without perspective, the individual aspects of a composition become lost. Without a healthy view of who we are, the best things of who we are become lost in our most unrelenting flaws. In a painting of a solitary buffalo, there may be trees far off in the background, but a great artist will bring subtle importance to the subject. If I long to see my life as a developing work, looking long in to the future then I should be concerned if my “painting” is starting to look like a zoomed-in pointillism of an ant farm.

Light establishes what we see in life/art. No matter what the perspective, light solidifies our focal point. Our lives are naturally drawn to the light. In fact, it was the first thing God created! Light reveals depth, reveals color, reveals what shadows hide. In short, being full of light is like being the neighbor that everyone wants to have.

The way light is found in our life/art will dictate how realistic and natural our “painting” looks. If we try to control light too much, those looking in on our artwork will see something convoluted and false. The easiest way to know if a photo has been “photo-shopped” is to find inconsistency in the way light is cast on individuals or objects in a picture. It is easy to notice someone who is trying to edit/modify/filter their life so that outsiders see what one wants them to see. God wants us to live a #nofilter life. Let Him be the light in your art and He will reveal beauty with each brushstroke you make.

In the art of life, ask yourself “what is my perspective, and where is the light?”

Then DO something about it.