Sunday, March 16, 2008

Art as Something Deeper

"Morning, Monarch Lake"
Oil on Panel

I think that sometimes I get a little bit too cerebral about whether or not I’m doing what I’m supposed be doing with my life, or whether I’m doing enough or having enough purpose. I picked up a book last weekend that made me look at things a bit differently, and gave me a sense of peace that I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing right now, just by being who I am. It helped connect the dots between my passion for art and nature with my faith, and I thought I’d share it for anyone who might find it useful. The book is called "Wide Open Spaces", and in it, Author Jim Palmer says the following:
“I met a woman who enjoys photography. She said to me, “I meet God at the end of my lens.” She uses the lens of her camera as a reminder to become “more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.” Her love for God is expressed as her love for photography. I hope you feel the freedom in that. God’s purpose is not fulfilled by doing a lot of religious things you may or may not want to do. The things you love doing, what you are most passionate about, are the most significant avenues through which God wants you to know him. You have a love for these things because God placed it within you. David wrote in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord for he will give you the desires of your heart.” In other words, as you experience the joy and satisfaction of knowing God, follow your desires because God will be in them.”
I love it when he says, “I hope you feel the freedom in that,” because I do. I’ve always been able to feel the presence of God in nature, and it’s a strong component of my faith that extends into the subject matter that I paint. I love that I’m being reminded here that my art isn’t just about making pretty pictures, but that it’s a bigger part of who I am.

How do your beliefs shape your art?


  1. In your last two posts you have"defined success" and looked at "failure" as a gift. And now, you go even "deeper". You seem to be on an interesting path these days.

    It is a wonderful thing to understand that our art is a gift, and that gift has a purpose. It may be that we never will understand the purpose(I gave up on that part), but to me, the very thought of being given a gift connects me to God...and that inspires me.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Hehe - I've been a bit stressed lately (lots to do!!), and when I get stressed about the art business, I tend to do a lot of thinking about WHY I paint and what it means to me. I'm sure I'll lighten up soon!

  3. Don't lighten up! I love these posts! You have good thoughts on these tough ideas and you're good at putting them into words. I'm really enjoying your blog, and I admire how you approach your painting. I think the hardest part of being a painter is struggling through the messes we make in our own heads. Without a break we can get really carried away thinking about everything we do wrong.

    Thanks for the great posts, and good luck painting.

  4. I am just seeing this post for the first time, but it is too good not to comment on. I have had similar thought lately...about what is accomplished by making "pretty pictures". What a wonderful way to look at the gift that we artists have been given. I will begin to think of my work as "finding God at the end of my paintbrush" Thanks so much.

  5. Colin - thanks - I'm glad you appreciate the more cerebral posts!

    Lorrie - thanks for the comment. I just visited your blog and I'll be adding you to my bloglines to read regularly!