Picasso once said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Art becomes an escape from reality-- the entering into a trouble-free world. It is what soothes my mind and calms my senses.
Some days begin badly. I spill coffee on the floor while I’m rushing off to college because I’m late for Philosophy class. Again. Then I stumble into class gasping for breath and the teacher picks on me first thing in the morning and reprimands me for tardiness. Surely I’m not the only one this has happened to? After a start like that, I find art helps me forget about my miserable day and takes me to that familiar world where I can leave all my worries behind and build air castles undisturbed.
When I think about why I love art, I think of that feeling of pleasure it gives me. I think of how rejuvenating it is every time I sit down to paint and the happiness it brings me deep inside.
I don’t know when or how it started, but I remember the days I would watch my aunt paint and create the most beautiful things. From the perspective of a seven-year old, even the simplest of things endlessly fascinated me. I recall wishing I could do the same things – sketch faces, paint pretty pictures and write flawlessly. I even practiced my writing, drawing and painting under her supervision. I wanted to give up many times – to go out and play instead of scribbling away at the table, but eventually the effort she put in to see improvement in the little I could do, paid off. And as a result, I developed a keen interest in painting, designing and calligraphy.
I am no genius at painting or writing, but I can tell you that I am proud of the little I can do. And over the years I have improved greatly by keeping with it. I started with doodles and scribbles on all the back pages of my notebooks through school. There are still a lot of things I am not good at, but this is to encourage you not to be dissuaded if you cannot do as well as those around you. I have to confess, I am horrible at sketching faces and people. I’ve tried my hand at it several times all these years and yet I still fail miserably!
I believe God created this beautiful world with all the beautiful things in it. He gifted each one of us with the precious gift of imagination. George Bernard Shaw puts it well, “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and you create what you will.” It is the very start to creating something beautiful in our minds, but it is up to us to decide whether to use it or not.
I believe each one of us has something to show. We’ve undoubtedly been gifted with the ability to imagine and create something. Sylvia Plath rightly puts it by saying that the worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. You may not necessarily be a genius. Perhaps you are a pearl still forming in your oyster shell! You will never know until you try.
So far, I’ve managed to write and paint a few cards in my free time and even sold quite a large number in the past four years. It’s a small start but I had the opportunity to contribute part of my profits towards helping a cause I am passionate about. It’s a small way, but God can use our talents and abilities to a great extent, to bless others for His Glory. The question, however, remains - Are we using it to the best of our abilities or keeping it to ourselves and hiding it away from the rest of the world?
You may ask, “But what if I’m not an artist? I don’t draw, paint or write.” Many people are unsure about what it is that they can do. I would like to encourage you to try and discover that gift in you and work at improving and developing whatever fuels you or gives you life.
Art is not just created with the stroke of a brush but with the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. I discovered my abilities with the encouragement from my parents and aunt. Without them I may not have grown to this extent.
Maybe you know someone you can encourage and build up. Maybe you can be the one to make a difference in someone else’s life, someone who’s too afraid or doesn’t recognize their abilities. Imagine how happy God would be to see His children using the talents to their full extent for His glory!
Illuminate the world around you with your art, your designs, your music, your writing, whatever flows naturally out of you… And with everything that you do, no matter how small you think it may be remember:
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s Grace in its various forms. I Peter 4:10
What's your art? Are you sharing it with the world?
*Above original artwork by Yini Evelyn