Creating authentic Christian artwork does not depend on your level of skill, or lack of it. If you considered that your greatest obstacle, you’re wrong!
I am often around artists who inspire me with their desire to excel in their medium of choice. They follow the best teachers, attend workshops and are continually learning and growing. Skill and technique can definitely be acquired this way.
Surrender, Polymer Clay Relief, Sara Joseph
However, I quickly learned that in only looking to peers for inspiration, we overlook learning from the best teacher of all.
What do you think each of us could learn, if we submitted to unreservedly learn from the Master - Jesus, the creator of all beauty?
I cannot say that I have the answer to that question, but I have planned to resolutely spend my lifetime in that journey of discovery! You can too.
Some of what I've learned I will share here, but some you will have to discover for yourself. Just like your spiritual journey from the time of new birth, your journey to create Christian artwork will be completely unique.
There is, unfortunately, a struggle involved in truly allowing Jesus to take the lead. As soon as we determine that He will be Master, all hell conspires to distract us from our objective. How can we wait on direction from Him when we are full of our own energy, ideas and agenda?
In the creation of meaningful art, waiting can be excruciating. Our society today, places a premium on effective time management. We cram more into our days than our grandparents would never have considered practical. In such an environment, waiting is considered wasteful and inefficient.
In the crucial time spent waiting, it became apparent that to be authentic, my art must be created first for an audience of only one - Jesus.
I learned that my objective must first be to please Him - to someday earn the praise most earnestly desired. The reward is His commendation of "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Lk19:17
So I would caution you to beware of creating when you are distracted by the following:
• Your own preconceived ideas
• What comes easily to you – skills already mastered
• The praise of others
• The subtle influence of what is popular
• What art "authorities" like gallery curators and jurors tell you is great art
• What you know will sell
I can assure you that this is no easy task! It takes constant vigilance to keep you on track.
Creating authentic art also requires keeping before us
the mandate of the Master's Commission
Here are some of the reasons I've discovered why that is such a struggle:
• Art is simply too much fun. We have such a good time creating. It is easy to forget that, unless we keep His mandate in our sights, we lose purpose. It does not mean that Christian artwork is to be sappy, sentimental, literal rendering of the Bible.
• We are afraid of the opinions of our peers. In passionately following after fulfilling the commission, we run the risk of being labeled as 'fanatics' - a label we do not bear with grace!
Yet in His eyes, being a fanatic is being committed to loving Him with our spirit, soul and body. Does He deserve any less?
Every tool we could ever need for success is wrapped up in the person of Jesus.
Take my word for it; the discovery of this journey of art can be a delightful adventure. Are you ready to explore more?