“In the beginning God created…” Genesis 1:1
A number of years ago I worked in an after school program at a small baptist church in North Texas. Each day we brought just under one hundred elementary school aged children to the church to do homework, enjoy snacks and a Bible lesson followed by playing games or watching a movie. During my time there, I ran across art supplies in the resource room and asked the director if I could work with some of the children who showed interest in the quiet center. She agreed and “Artistic Expressions” each Thursday began.
Each week, I would develop a painting or piece of artwork and then I would walk the children through basic design and implementation. But, more than all of this we learned to value one thing above all else. The way God uniquely fashioned us to see.
During those Spring months of expressing art, the kids ranging in development from Kindergarten to Fifth Grade would work to reproduce the work I put before them. Then we would display their art around the reception desk where the parents could see it at the end of the day. At the end of the semester I put together an art show and dinner where I told the parents that each one of us has the power and ability to create within us. We are created in the image of the original Creator. I’ll never forget that day or that moment when God brought it all together for me. He lit a passion in my heart to see others realize the creative potential within their own being.
Many of those famous artists who are counted masters and geniuses believed that art was an illusion, a lie, that expressed a reality. I read that one night as I lay contemplating things creative felt a groaning in my soul. At that moment, God’s voice spoke to me, “Art is a light that expresses the beauty of Creation and its Creator.”
Perhaps you are reading this like some I know and saying to yourself, “You are an artist – but I don’t have any talent.”
To you I say… No Talent Required.
I am reminded of a scene from the movie “Mona Lisa Smile.” In the movie Julia Roberts plays an art professor starting her new position at Wellesley College. She transferred into the position from the west coast and found that her new students were ready to upstage her and blow off the class. But, Katherine (Julia’s character) has other plans. She brings in other forms of artwork like photographs, print ads and a painting she herself executed as young child. As she rolls through the slides she asks the class what makes art art? And one of her more snobbish students quips, “It’s not art until someone says it is.”
The student replies, “The right someones…”
I think this is where many of us land as we survey artwork of any kind. A budding artist at age three with finger paints and chubby crayons may not produce the masterpiece works that grace the halls of the Vatican in Rome, or the works of the Impressionists in a French Museum, but their unique ability to document the way they see the world is the beauty of art.
You see, I believe that we have bought a lie that is perpetuated in the secular halls of University art history and design classes as well as in art galleries around the world. Genius is not obscurity and vulgarity, but the profundity that comes when absolute creative vision is expressed. Many “art” people dismissed Thomas Kinkade as a serious artist because he mass produced his work, presented an idyllic world to the common man and marketed his labors so that even those with the least means could own a rendering or two. His works often contained hidden gestures pointing to things he found meaningful and his work reflected his deep affection for God and things of the Spirit.
And many have said of his work – it is not truly art. Yet, if you surveyed his work from beginning to end, with the vivid colors, the magnificent attention to detail and the use of light to develop the mood of each canvas – you would find (I think) something more worthy of admiration than the vulgarity of post impressionist as well as the disjointed reality of Jackson Pollack or Pablo Picasso. But, because it was so popularly marketed among people – few considered his work a truly valuable artistic contribution.
Have we dismissed our own creative nature in favor of worldly definitions and standards?
I believe we have. You see, I am not an artist because my work has sold and is considered a valuable artistic contribution. I am an artist because I choose to embrace the creativity of God that fully resides within me and express it as He has uniquely fashioned me to make it known. The value of the art should be measured by the message it conveys not the price it retains.
Creative expression comes in many forms – genres, if you will. There are visual artists who create using light and dark, color and shadow, pencil, clay and paint. Then there are literary artists who beat and pound at the written word until they produce a message that resonates and reaches others. Musicians and Vocalists learn to play the songs of their hearts through the instruments of melody and harmony. Moving, inspiring music that produces creative dance and motivation in many ways. Photographers use their unique way of seeing to capture life, nature and the people around them.
Perhaps your passion lies in culinary creation. The piping hot dishes that emerge from your kitchen are glories to behold and tasty morsels of creative sustaining. And even more – those creative geniuses who marry logic and creativity – as they tap the matrix and its block-lettered codes producing technology and software that allows us to communicate instantly and send mankind to the outer reaches of space. Teachers who reach students where they learn use creative lesson plans and strategic thought processes to press and inspire their students to excellent ends. The limits of Creativity are as endless as the Creator, God, Himself.
So the only question that remains is how does Creative Expression come through you? Perhaps you’ve never considered yourself creative or an artist of any kind. But, today the Lord comes to challenge you as He challenged the earth void of form and content to become His glorious creation. Take dominion over all the Lord has entrusted to you this day and become all He has created you to be. The beauty of art is the glory of its ultimate Creator expressed through the eyes of His very image in His creation.
Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without him. John 1:3 (MSG)
You are created in the image of the Living, Creative God. His Son, Jesus, through whom everything was created and came into being resides bodily within you as a believer in Christ. Tap into that Creativity TODAY!