wonderful artist, William Whittaker. I’ve now only spent a near 10 hours
(maybe?) working alongside him in his studio. Already, I have been tremendously
inspired and have learned, really, a great deal that I have been repeating over
and over in my mind just so I don’t forget a bit of it. Really, I should write
it down, but I’ve never learnt art that way.
artists see with our spirits. I
cannot tell you how many art books, teachers, professors, or other artists
exclaim “learn to see!” Or “learning
to see is key!” or even “the key to
success is to see!”
did to me too. In fact, I can almost remember when I first read those words,
“learn to see!” I would guess it was
in my treasured “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” book by Betty Edwards.
(If you ask me who the author is in person, I will always say ‘Betty White’ and
later realize my mistake in horror.)
I have learned to see slowly over
the years. Though, I don’t fully understand it quite yet, I do find myself seeing and painting what I see.
discussion on this very topic of “learning to see,” he asked me a very thoughtful question that has been racing
through a maze in my mind for days now. (Today I had to repent for letting it
race during Sunday school. I still cannot tell you what the lesson was on…) His
question was something to the fact of “why do we as artists paint? Why don’t we
just take a photograph and beautifully alter it or print it?” We continued to
talk how machines can basically “paint” a portrait with beautiful brush work,
real oil paint, and everything else in-between “nowadays,” but it’s still not
quite the same.
that maze in my mind, has come to a few conclusions, ends, open doors, what
ever else you wish to call it: Our spirits see
things that we cannot. Our spirits are familiar with things we have yet to
intellectualize. Tell me it’s not true? Have you ever been talking with a
person and felt a weary spirit about them? Or have you ever been so consumed
with a person because you “could just tell” that they we a wonderful person? They
had the light of Christ emitting from their very souls! It wasn’t necessarily
your body recognizing that, I believe, but it was your spirit.
spirit, they have an ability to see the spirit of that person, and paint with
their own spirit the message needing to be said. Or the emotion that spirit has
to offer. That is something a machine cannot do. That is why I do what I do.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or
abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist
or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter
into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about
the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.
I sing, I’m always half a tone above or below the note. I cannot draw a line
without a ruler. And the only practical use for my homemade bread is as a
paperweight or as a doorstop.”
Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
creative type,] think again, and remember that you are spirit daughters of the
most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your
very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate
God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty,
function, and capacity beyond imagination.
with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy. Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is
to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by
His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children
but also by teaching and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the
creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the
is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. 5 The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a
canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a
piano. “Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist
before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories,
what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure
discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice
comes from the outside or the inside.
If you still feel
incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create,
write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and
Yes, it’s true. I own a monster. It eats, breathes, commands, and demands. I have to take very good care of it. If I neglect it, it makes me very sad, and it’s almost better than a really good dog. My monster is the monster of creativity. Once I find
myself set to a goal or task, I must finish it, or start it again in a new way.
I must, I must, I must create. I must make something good. I must make good
art. It the monster that drives me and lends me unreal energy to stay glued to a painting late in to the early hours of the morning. It is what sits me down and makes me write. It is what runs my mind. It is what solves my problems and teaches me again and again. It is what just kept me up the past hour or more when I have class early tomorrow . . . Haven’t you encountered that monster? Better go find it if not, because you own a monster too. (Check under the bed, or between the cushions of the couch, sometimes they’re there too.)