"I Can Only Draw Stick Figures"

My husband, daughter and I on a roadside stop in Colorado.  Jim Faber snapped a photo that I used as a basis for this portrait.
My husband, daughter and I on a roadside stop in Colorado. Jim Faber snapped a photo that I used as a basis for this portrait.

Most artists, no matter what their field of endeavor, are at some time told, “wow, I could never do that, I can only draw stick figures, or I can only play “Chop Sticks.”  The words are intended as a compliment, which is fine.  But behind the comment lies the thought that artistry is just something one has or does not have.  While every human being is gifted in different capacities by their Creator, one must also develop their God-given gifts for them to have meaning for other people.  How sad to be given a gift and not develop that capacity!  It’s kind of like loving someone, but never expressing one’s feelings to the object of their affection.  It goes unnoticed and without meaning.

Developing those gifts requires time, commitment and determination. To move forward one may see the need to receive instruction from another, or to work in concert with a few other artists, exchanging ideas and encouragements and thoughtful critique.  If one waits to be “inspired” the development of one’s artistic gifts will suffer.  It’s best to plow through those times we do not “feel” like painting, or writing or practicing that instrument.  A painter paints, a writer writes, a musician plays whether or not they feel like it…that is part of commitment.

The Apostle Paul teaches us that our gifts are not given for our own pleasure.  They are given for the benefit of others.  Although Paul was focusing on “spiritual gifts” the same can be said for “natural gifts.”  If we developed our gifts with the benefit of others on our mind then our art can have great meaning both as we work and as we consider how to brighten someone elses life by the things we create.

As an artist we all appreciate when someone likes our work enough to pay us for it, for that says something significant about the way the art makes them feel.  Far better however, are those times when someone is brought to tears because of something we have worked hard to develop and create.  If someones heart is deeply touched and we have communicated something so tender or thought-provoking that an emotional reaction ensures, then that is like applause to a performer, like a metal to an athlete, like a diploma to a student.  It is worth all the long hours and practice of our craft to be a part of making something that effects another in a positive way.

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