“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
We are created in the image of our creative God. As His image bearers we have the capacity to emulate and translate the beauty and emotion in and around us. Visual artists have the opportunity to capture a fleeting moment in time and communicate it to all who see their work. Sometimes centuries after they have left this world their art remains; a token of a God-given gift, a silent monument marking the commonality of mankind. Creating such art requires training our eyes to notice and appreciate detail. When we begin to see with the eyes of an artist, new beauty is unleashed. We pause to appreciate the rainbow in a bubble or the way the sun traces the pink clouds with a fluorescent yellow for just a moment at sunset. Things we walk by every day barely noticing come alive with details. Have you ever noticed the variance in the greens of grass when the sun shines through the blades in the morning or how the trees vary in texture even from a distance? Have you ever studied the pattern of a thumbprint or how a mother’s hand rests naturally on her baby’s back? Creating visual art awakens the study of such nuances and opens your eyes to unappreciated beauty.
The biggest hurdle a beginning artist has to conquer is often her own fear of what others will think. The act of creating is not only technical but also emotional, and allowing others to participate by viewing the final product can be nerve-racking. We can’t always convey the line or the shade we intended. We wonder if it will be interpreted well. Will it bring joy? Will it inspire? Will it move someone or be relatable? An artist, like all people, never stops growing and changing. I often advise my students to respect the process. The majority of my art has ended up in the trash can. Not because I was angry or frustrated but because the beauty was in the process and not the product. The act of creating allowed me to meditate and stop long enough to see that beauty I had been rushing past. We are indeed image bearers and may God be glorified as we extend our comfort zone, open our artist eyes, and praise Him through visual art.
Stacie Brantley is first a follower of Christ; then a wife, homeschooling mother, and an artist among many other talents. She taught the AFAA Art Summer Workshop this past year, as well as subbed in our Visual Art class when needed.