Discouragement in becoming an artist

by Marci
(Centennial, CO, USA)

This is my first time to ever write a blog post.

I really needed someone that I could talk to about what I consider to be continual spiritual attack in following this art path. Due to the busyness of life, I didn't get serious on this art path until 2007. I'm an oil painter, and I paint mostly portraits and landscapes with some still lifes. Recently, I've started learning to paint abstracts.

Since 2007 I've been very serious as the Good Lord opened this door for me. He continues to guide me and encourage me, helping me to find my way down this path. I've been in preparation by taking classes, continuing to hone my craft, and understand His purpose for all of this.

First, I've been surprised that He's so interested in me following this path, but I figured He loves to bless me. Yeah! Next, I'm very perplexed at why I've experienced so much discouragement during this process. I truly believe that it is spiritual attack--and it is fairly relentless: it's feeling like I'll never be a "real" artist, or like I should just give it up since I barely have the time to create. (I'm self-employed on a part-time basis not related to art.) or thinking, I don't have the time to become a true artist. I know that I can't quit, and I never will.

So my question is "Why does the enemy care that much about me becoming an artist?" I'm sincerely wondering if there's more to this than I can see in this earthly realm since the Good Lord and the enemy both seem so interested in me taking this path. What am I missing?

I love this website! I don't know where to begin to check it out.


Hello Marci,

Thank you for visiting Christian Artist Resource and writing about your struggles with discouragement in your artistic journey.

What is interesting is how you have answered your own questions, yet have not noticed that you have! You wondered why you were feeling the resistance from Satan as well as the encouragement from the Lord, even as you suspect that God's blessing is somehow tied to your calling. Your suspicions are correct.

It is really quite simple. You have been given this gift to use for His glory. Every resource you will ever need God has already provided for you, in Christ Jesus. You receive all of it by faith, diligence and PATIENCE.

Unfortunately, you also have an active enemy who attempts to derail and distract you from possessing all that God intended for you. But he is a defeated foe - don't ever forget that. Your only job is to RESIST him in Jesus name. Refuse discouragement, continue to do whatever you have been working on and trust God for the outcome.

If you do not quit, you will understand your calling better. You will walk it out with excellence and you will prosper in it. Jesus has provided for everything pertaining to your calling.

I can testify to His faithfulness and infinite interest for every aspect of it.

Deu 1:21 "Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee:
go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee;
fear not, neither be discouraged."

So stay strong, God has good plans for your future. Seek Him and refuse to be swayed by anything contrary to His word.

Wishing you all God's very best,

P.S.Gently Awakened, a book tackling these very concerns may interest you.

Comments for Discouragement in becoming an artist

Click here to add your own comments

Discouragement in becoming an artist.
by: Marci

Thanks to all who posted. I'm happy to say that I have a positive update to report. I've gotten a wonderful inspiration that is leading down an exciting new path in my art journey. I'm currently putting together a 6 week curriculum for an art class helping artist to get past the blocks, frustrations, etc. using art exercises and visulation projects. It's so exciting to me because I've realized that this IS my art. It's so unique--nothing else like it that I've ever seen. And it's just flowing out of me the way art is supposed to. It's an interesting combination of my counselor talents combined with art skills that is finally causing me to feel congruent (something that previously had been causing me to feel disjointed). I'm my first student, and the class is helping me to break through this wall that's been keeping me stuck. Who'd of thunk it? Though I know it may never be anything more than being able to help myself and maybe some friends, but that's OK. But still, I'm copyrighting the program and I plan to begin rolling it out to test subjects (my art friends or maybe my guild if they want it) in September. I've gotten so much clarity, and I've refocused my priorities to where it all finally fits. I haven't felt this on-track, destined, and energized in as long as I can remember I'm very hopeful that He is and will be opening doors in my moving forward. I hope and pray this for all of you!

Discouraging teachers
by: TerryLee

Dear Marci,

I have little respect for a teacher who refuses to give any word of encouragement. That is why they exist. If portraiture is not your calling then she could have given encouragement for other subject matter or medium.
Are you building a library of artist books? I recommend "Creative Artist" by Nita Leland. It is filled with experimental ideas to help artists break free from creativity blocks.
I personally need to "play" more with my art for more spontenaity. I didn't have a great childhood, so play does not come easy for me. Try creating a piece then put it away without judging it for several weeks or months then see if you "feel" it needs someting else. Remember, we are not to create every piece thinking "if we think someone will like it" - The work will move the right viewer at the right time in their own way.
In Christ,
Terry Lee

Let discouragement be the vehicle
by: TerryLee

Only the Lord (and Satan) know who and how your art will touch lives. Could perhaps the discouragement be the very topic you depict? I, too, have had a burden for over a year to produce some art that will bring Glory to our Lord and Savior, but inner critic voices tell me I am not talented enough. I wish I had an answer. I wrote mostly to say, "You're not alone."
For me, I think part of being able to create these pieces is going to mean working in my garage. There I will feel like I have more space to move, to engage my whole body in the process and not have to worry as much about the mess as in my third bedroom-turned-art room, which has carpet in it.
Perhaps you need a change of scenery? Or just a change in your routine? I have a belief that the first thing that comes to mind when we let ourselves brainstorm about what we need to release our creative energy (within Christian parameters)is what we should move toward. I hope this has been of encouragement to you.

Art expression
by: Fred Baumbach

Marci, I read your blog entry on your discouragement and I can identify with that. Mainly because I've never taken a class and have tried to get my art accepted in local art circles. But I will say that as a person, art expression has it's own value. What I mean is that the act of painting, or creating in any type of medium fufills an inner need to express physically and emotionally in a way the is purely unique to you as a person.
Keep your eyes open and pray for open doors. There are ways to minister to people through your are that really don't cost that much and are fun.
First of all on this website there is a gallery you can submit work to.
Second, you can start your own website, some are free for the basic usage, only the domain name will cost you, about 10 dollars a year. (Mine is artpeacewithGod.com)
Third, if the Lord gives you something you feel would be beneficial to your congregation, ask the pastor if you could display it for a limited time at the door if there is room. Sometimes God can pass a word of Knowlege through your painting that might be beneficial to only one person.(Obediance is greater than sacrifice.)
Fourth, local art groups may run free programs, locally we have street painting day, where you can get a free sponsered square if you sign up early. (This is with chalk and pastels that they provide)
Social media is also a great way to have people influenced by your art, especially if your not at the level where your afraid of someone stealing it. I hope this is helpful, Fred

Highs and Lows of Another Chapter
by: Marci

Good Morning Art Friends,

I just finished a portrait painting class that ended up being a serious head-trip for me. So much so that it's caused me to consider if I should or shouldn't give up portraiture and maybe even painting all together.

The class just finished on Wednesday, and I'm still reeling from many confusing thoughts. I'm just having to rethink my plans to incorporate the negative but honest message that I got from the teacher and the class. I learned a lot in the class, and Johanna H. is a really good teacher, but it opened my eyes in a negative way to question my own innate artistic talent. Think I was the only one in the class of 15 that she didn't say one optimistic comment to, but she said that she would only be honest with her flattery. I just put that together to mean that she didn't see anything redeeming in my work. It opened my eyes to see with a more critical eye. Just one person's opinion, but she's a top notch pro artist. It didn't help that there was one student in the class with award-winningly good work. When I asked him how long he's been studying portraits he said that he's only been painting a couple of years and studying portraiture for one year. I've been studying it for 5-6 years, but not sure that I'm getting that much better to warrant continuing to study it.

I'm gonna take her suggestion of using more paint on the canvas, and then maybe I just need to spend some time alone to see if I can become the artistan I want to be. Might be better to work on "prophetic" landscapes photos. (They're prophetic to me since I've felt Him speaking to me through them.) I believe that if I don't give up, then sooner or later I should be able to figure out how to make it work--but I tend to be overly optimistic and hopeful which is often a set up for disappointment.

On a more positive note: This morning I read the first chapter of The Ancient Path. I could envision a future time with my husband and I traveling to art shows in different states as a type of mission field in which to share the Good News. =o)

Also, thanks to Michelle for the post. I have considered using my art as gifts to my clients especially those who have lost loved ones since my 1st enlightening art experience was "meeting" my grandmother for the 1st time when I rendered her portrait. Not feeling prompted to begin that at this time though. Also, I'm not set up for my clients to do art therapy in my office. I have used art opps to minister to friends already. I like inviting a group of friends to do arts and crafts on the back patio, which is a blessed time.

discouragement in becoming an artist
by: Michelle

Hi Marci,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and soul and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6

It is a verse that has held me together when discouragement hits.

May I ask you a question, have you ever thought to use your artistic gift in your counselling?
To some people the simple act of laying down colour is a healing process. It may not bring you extra income, but to help someone by using your talent is a joy and although you will still have days where nothing works, the lift you will get from ministering to someone through your art will be encouragement indeed.

Discouragement comes to all of us who paint, and it comes in many ways. Please don't ever forget that this is something gifted by God, and He is there by your side every step you take. The very act of putting paint to canvas says to Him
"I trust in you, lead me on".

So, keep in prayer, we have a Father who loves us beyond measure and only wants the very best for us.
take care,may God bless you

Thanks for the encouragement!
by: Marci

Thanks to all who have responded to my post. The posts have given me lots of meaty food-for-thought. I especially loved all the posts for those whose art happened later in life. Your comments have been encouraging.
I think about art, and the purpose for this open door in my life, all the time--maybe too much. It's so exciting to me that I can barely wait to see where this journey will take me.
It's wonderful to know that so many fellow artists on this path have very similar experiences. Your ideas have been very helpful!
My thought is to make each brushstroke by faith; enjoy thinking about the possibilities; talk myself out of recurring discouragement; and hope that someday I will be more "knowing" and less "questioning". That is, I'm looking forward to the day when I will more know who I am as an artist and be able to direct all of my artistic focus into a unified body of work that is both energizing and fulfilling to myself and others.
I wish the same for all of you!

You Are Doing Well
by: Nancy

You have so many ministries already. But the call seems to be to art. It seems you are doing everything in proper order: family, job, art. Do not let this feeling of need to pursue control your life. If God is in it, He will bring it to pass. Trust Him. He does not lead to discouragement.

And I encourage you, as one who put down my art for 25 years to raise a family, no amount of art shows, sales, etc., can ever equal the time you spend with your family. I am so happy I did not follow that urge to have my studio foremost and husband and children second and third.

I spent half of my life training for an art career. But I sit at these keys with the knowledge that I used all my skill and creative abilities to meet the needs of my family. To the end: my husband is successful and ministers to hundreds, my children have done well and as programer, lawyer, writer and artist. Most of all I know I have done what was needful...

Art as a visual aid
by: Fred Baumbach

When I was first starting to paint, I started late in life (about 40), I was part of a Nursing Home ministry. At that time the Lord was giving me visual illustrations of biblical truth that would help emphasize a topic. I think it worked well, for those who could understand, to see and hear. I don't know if that would work for you, but it's a way of combining talents.

Your Calling
by: Sara


You have such clarity, that there is little I can add to your insight!

There is one thing that I do know, though.

God NEVER wastes anything.

If you trust Him with it, He will come up with some ingenious way to combine ALL your skills, passions, talents and abilities, along with whatever eventually surfaces as what you view as your artistic "calling".

I think that it is people who complicate things. God is a master of simplicity, so I wouldn't be too stressed about understanding it, or walking it out. Trust and obey Him and He will shed growing light on it all - a little bit at a time.

Something else I've learned is that no one's calling, especially with regard to art, will be like another. You will be used in a completely different way from another artist, serving in a totally different capacity.

So get excited, and don't quit, dreaming, believing, trusting and obeying...and someday soon, you will be walking in this "calling", awed at what God has done for you!

How do I know? Because of God's unfailing faithfulness, I can testify that I am now living it!


Understanding Discouragement
by: Fred Baumbach

Hi Marci,
I just wanted you to know that discouragement can propel you into His presence. I am by nature inquisitive and constantly trying new things. But that becomes a problem with developing skills because you're always looking at new things. The task of development is like plowing a field and planting and by nature brings discouragement,because we don't see a harvest right away. But the joy of the Lord can be our strength when we seek His presence.

I think it has to do with relationship, God doesn't want us to purely rely on our own talents but be dependent on Him. It is the anointing that unsaved will experience through your art that will break the yoke of bondage in other lives, as they experience the supernatural.

In Christ, Fred

Discouragement in becoming an artist--2nd post
by: Marci

Thanks for your response Sara! I read your website after my post, and so I got many answers about why God and the enemy would be interested in the work of those Christians called to be artists.

My situation is a little different in that I was called to be a counselor, which is my main priority. I'm also married with the household and cooking responsibilities, which also must come before art.

After all of my responsibilities are completed, there's not much happening for me art-wise that would cause the heavenlies to get in an uproar. I believe that He told me that He's placed me before an open door that no one can shut, and I've come to believe that door is art; however, I don't think that it's a calling for me?

I'm still trying to understand His will for art in my life. I believe He will use my art--on a small scale as compared to counseling--to minister to others or as a way to communicate to others about my faith. Also, art has opened doors to friendships and a sense of community. And, I'm hoping to sell pieces to supplement my variable counseling income. It is a blessing to me, too, since it helps me to decompress from stressors of a compassion profession.

I've already made my request known that I'd like my job in Heaven to be a portrait artist for eternity. But here on earth, I long for the opportunity to earn half of my income from painting with the other half being from counseling. It would be the perfect balance for me. If that were the case, I could make painting a higher priority, perhaps. I don't know if that's His will for me, though I do know that counseling is His calling for me.

Perhaps it would be easier for me to understand His will for art in my life, if I knew that it was a calling for me. With that said, I would appreciate any feedback, insight, or wisdom in helping me to understand what to do with the gift that is probably not a calling for me or at least not my first calling. Thank you!!

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Your comments.