Thursday, September 30, 2010

previous, but still valid thoughts

Here is a "note" I posted on my FB wall and thought it would be a good add to my blog...

I apologize for the lack of proper grammar and seemingly randomness of this, but it had to be written down somehow!

It seems that I constantly come back to the same question, “what is the importance of art?” You think I would know that answer seeing that I went to school to be an art teacher, but that is why I think I constantly ask that question. I know that when I teach art I am consistently going to have the battle of teenage attitude of being lethargic. “Why is this important?” “What benefit is it to me?” “Art is all just an emotional expression.” If its one thing I want my future students to walk away with is that art is not an (meaningless) emotional expression, but a well thought out process.

With the thought of eternity at the forefront of my mind I now have added to my reoccurring question- “how does art have an eternal impact?” Ugh- big stuff. I mean don’t all things with eternal impact have some highly spiritual act behind it? How does me teaching art to students have an eternal impact?

In my mind and heart I constantly battle with this idea that the “art world” is not secular. To me- over the years, art has become a secular world- but why do I think that? Because most famous artists have no belief in God, more so they rebel against what He stands for. Is it possible that art is not completely secular, but not completely Christian but somewhere in the middle? Or could it be people don’t realize that everything we do in art basically requires inspiration from something that has already existed- ahem- already existed….meaning something else CREATED it. I rest my case. Even art was affected by the fall- and what could have possibly been intended as a great act of worship turned into a selfish soapbox for starving artists.

Here is a list I have started that says what I believe art does:

Art forces you to really “see” something or examine something
Art allows you to problem solve in many different ways
Art visually stimulates the brain, mind, eye, and soul
Art catches your attention
Art forces you to “know the whole story” / the artists background- you must put things into context to “get it”
Art causes discomfort and joy
Art begs for a reaction/reflection
Art has reason behind its actions (more so the artist has their reasons- again not mindless)
Art has an understanding of the rules (of art) to legitimately break them (this is by no means encouraging people to break the rules, but more so emphasizing the point that there are “rules” in art, again not mindless)

I believe drawing is one of the most difficult skills in the world- you want to know why…because no one believes they can do it. You want to know why no one believes they can do it…they are not patient enough to learn how to draw and then do it! The basics of drawing are breaking what you are drawing down to its basics! Simple huh? For example, when I teach children how to draw animals- I have them draw each part of the animal as a square, circle, oval, rectangle…you get the idea. Placing all the shapes together then whalla forms the animal!

Drawing also is not an instant act of gratification. With the world we live in today- everything is instant- therefore the patience needed for the art of drawing is being lost. I understand wanting to get something right on the first time, but there is something in the act of trying, trying and trying again. An artist could work on one painting or drawing for weeks because they are continually re-creating and re-destroying the same image over and over again (good book: A Giacometti Portrait, it is all about this). Keep at it until its right or until you know it can go no further. I myself am loosing the patience for drawing. That disappoints and discourages me. To sit down and do a drawing takes great time and focus- oh how I need to be more disciplined in this area.

You want to learn to have more patience and not expect everything in an instant? Learn to draw.

Art is an eye opener to how to have relationships with people and the absolute need to clearly communicate. One project/class assignment in art gets a return of 30 completely different takes on the criteria. What does that tell you? Everyone thinks and perceives a little differently so not everyone is going to be on the same page as you- especially if you don’t learn to clearly communicate your thoughts and ideas!

Art and photography is a good statement you hear in a sermon or on the news or from some high up famous person. Something that really strikes you and makes you go, “hmm”, or at least make some physical act of noise that means- you were some how affected by what you just saw.

So as this thought process will always be continually growing for me- I challenge you, give art a chance. View it, critique it, make it.

**pictures personally taken at the SAM (Seattle Art Museum)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I recently finished a book called "Imagine" by Steven Turner. It was a book that had been sitting on my shelf since high school and I finally (5 years later) decided to pick it up and give it a chance. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is an artist (of any kind) who wants to use the gift they have without feeling obligated to paint crosses or write poetry or songs about your devotional discoveries.

While attending college, I always felt this sense of guilt and obligation that any piece of art I made had to either have a blatant or hidden message about my faith. Not to say it is bad to include faith into what you do- but I felt constricted. I love abstract painting and how could I paint in the style I love- but does not convey a clear message?

Reading this book helped me see that I didn't have to neglect my love of abstract because people wouldn't see and understand the full message of the gospel. It is possible to be an artist and not be blatant, even not directly include anything "religious".

"I believed that Christians should be writing poetry infused with godly perception rather than poetry about religion" pg. 20

"How much of life is Christ to be Lord over? Is he only interested in that part of life we think of as religious or spiritual? or is he interested in every facet of our lives- body, soul, mind and spirit? The sort of art we make as Christians will illustrate our answer." pg. 35

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A blog I hope to stick with.

Since graduation college with a degree in Art Education- it has been amazing of how many questions are still unanswered. You would think my four years of studying to become an art teacher would have developed a solid argument of why everyone should give art a chance. When in reality I am still trying to figure that out. Don't get me wrong- I do have some good reasons, but I think now that I don't have professors, student colleagues and a university to fall back on that I am realizing I am it. I am the one who will face students, parents, communities and school boards all asking the same question of, "What does Art do for society and my life?"

My goal with this blog is to simply stick with it. Because if I am faithful in posting on this blog, then that means I am being faithful in finding the answers to my own questions.