I’ve been creating art for half of my life. It started with a fascination with VanGogh’s Starry Night. It’s such a popular painting, it’s on coffee mugs, t-shirts, calendars, ugly Christmas sweaters. But to me it was transforming. It was taking all of those elementary art classes and culminating them into a masterpiece of color and texture. The first piece I tried to paint was a remake of the moon in Starry Night. I was captivated by the contrast of the moon against the sky and the sleeping blue town below. That was the beginning of the transformation.
Art was this activity I gravitated towards to challenge myself. I drew the faces of famous people, painted scenes for contests, and began to feel a deep, personal connection to every piece I crafted.
It was as magical as it was painful.
I never imagined that by simply picking up a paintbrush, I would be changed from the inside out. Painting was nothing but moving colors around on paper or canvas or whatever surface I happened to have at the moment. It was never supposed to be anything more. It was never supposed to make me feel emotions buried so deep…but it did. And amid the colors, I discovered the greatest truths about myself.
1) Art is not a thing, it is a way. It is a movement. It is what compels beauty throughout the world. It is not a thing, it is who we are.
2) Art is an act of love. It is the expression of emotions, fears, adoration, all the little phrases we’re too afraid to say with words. It is affection poured out in colorful streams of love.
3) Art is worship. I grew up in a conservative religion. Worship felt like a scripted encounter with God. Pray, sing songs, repeat. I don’t remember when art infiltrated my relationship with God, but over the last 15 years, it became the way I commune with God. It’s where I have my most intimate conversations with the Creator. Art has given me a unique connection with God.
4) I will avoid art if I believe I might feel some emotion I’m not ready to experience. Creating art makes me vulnerable, my defenses are down and I can’t fight off the waves of the past, present, and future. Sometimes I look at my paintbrushes and walk away. Save it for another day.
5) Art is as messy as life. Embrace it.