Being an artist isn’t just about the official art you create – it becomes a part of who you are.
For years I’ve had to work at not having my writing become my identity because although I am a writer, that’s not where my worth comes from. But at the same time, being an artist changes who I am at every level. As I learn and grow with my art form, which is writing, I see the world through different eyes and notice things I’d missed before.
This past week I’ve gotten to watch one of my wonderful friends who is an artist as she goes about her daily life. I’ve long been amazed by how beautiful her paintings and drawings are, and feel honored to have a butterfly she painted me hanging on my wall. But it’s not only canvases she works with – to her the whole world is a canvas.
A few nights ago we were working on making supper together. I had a cutting board on the counter that had some of the bean juice from the chili we were making. I looked over to find Melody using a knife to swirl the bean juice into a cupcake.
I was amazed at the representation of life – I looked and saw dirty dishes and a mess, Melody looked and saw the opportunity to create and make something delightful. It was a whimsical, happy moment for me when I watched her put the final flourish of a cherry on top.
As an artist it’s an honor to be able to create art with what other people view as trash, and the amazing thing is, we can do the same thing with life, too. The concept of redemption has been coming back to me again and again recently. What we see as something worthless, or worse, as damaging, God sees it as a tool He can use to help us become who He created us to be.
I want to look at people and see who they can be, instead of the messy versions of who they are. I want to love people with a love that bypasses the sometimes mean reality of who they are, and focuses on the fact that they have souls and are loved by the God who created the universe.
Art isn’t just about doing – it’s about who we are – how we view life. And in some special, probably really non-literal way, I sometimes think that we are all artists. When you see someone for who they can be instead of who they are, that’s art. When you encourage a child’s imagination, that’s art. When you create a delicious meal, that’s art.
Art isn’t about sitting down with a paintbrush and canvas. It isn’t about molding clay into a fine statue. Sometimes art is more about how you view life.
And to me, that is beautiful.