Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thirty Thanks, Day 22: The Art in Me

When I was little I used to sit down with a stack of paper or maybe a few coloring books and this big tin of crayons. Yes, a tin of crayons. My favorite color alternated by the hour, depending upon which crayon was sharpest. I would begin to draw and the pictures would just pour out of me--they practically gushed--like a frenzy of uncontrollable, heavenly colors. I would draw picture after picture until they probably piled around me and at the end of the day my mother would have to secretly throw most of them out because she couldn't possibly keep every single one.

This was my element. And it still is. When I am allowed the space and resources for creativity I am almost literally unstoppable. I am never more focused, more exhilarated, or more at peace than when I am making art. It doesn't have to be crayons and paper (like the photo to the left, August '14). It can be a square of polymer clay, or a canvas and some acrylics, a notebook and pen, a piano and some solitude, or even an apple pie.

Below is a project I'm prepping for kindergarten on Monday. Right now they are just tiny canvases with puffy painted words, but soon they will be fabulous Christmas ornaments. There's paint and sequins involved. Really.

And here's a sneak peak of this year's Christmas cards. The process has just begun.

The point is, art has always--and I mean always--been part of my identity. It wasn't until a few years ago that I began to realize how spiritual art is for me, how it grounds me and connects me. There's an old Jars of Clay song called "Art in Me," in which the speaker begs someone to "see the art in me." I've resonated with that on many levels, and it's that phrase which helps my understanding of my own art. I am so thankful for my own creativity--for the art in me. 

I'm thankful for what art gives me--peace when I am restless, resolution when I am aimless, clarity when I am overwhelmed, distraction when I'm anxious, joy when I'm in sorrow, and tenderness when I'm in rage. I'm thankful for how it allows me to connect with others, either by sharing my art with them or partaking in another's art. I'm thankful for the colors and sounds and textures I can be surrounded by. I'm thankful that my parents encouraged my artistic nature when I was young, even when I resisted. (I still resist taking art classes--I don't like being told what to do.) But most of all I'm thankful for the spiritual element of the art in me, the way it engages me with God in ways that cannot be explained or otherwise experienced. By creating, I connect with my Creator.

Thanks, art. You're incredible.

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