A Firmer Resolution And Other Base Facts

I look across my life and see many failed attempts at following through on resolutions and vows of various types. As an adult, I am no longer surprised by this. Each year that passes is a new understanding of my personal failures. I am sure that most people, like myself, come to this realization once they have left the comfort of their parent's home. I am sure that some realize much earlier than others.

The encouraging thing about failing at resolutions and goals in particular is that you learn to do them the right way. Each time you fail it is important to pick up and go at it again. I learned some very important tips concerning personal growth by using measurable goal-making from Chris Oatley's Artcast just this last week. You can click on this link to hear it: Artistic Growth Is Not A Goal...

The hard part about living your life, especially to be excellent in every area you can be, is that nothing really stays the same. The only exception is God and His goodness. We constantly have to be on our guard concerning everyday challenges. Is there a set way to do a task or requirement? Some times there is, but rarely. Life consists of improvisation in repition. You can do it well, if you have done something like it before. But do not count on it working exactly the same way. So, life feeds art. It gives us due inspiration, because like life, art is a continuous process of change and growth.

Don't give up on your goals! Firmly stand in the gap between your starting point and your goal. Be excellent in your career pursuits, your family life, and hold high the tenets of doing right by others in as many ways as you can! Stay the course, because none of us have it easy and from time to time we can learn from each other's failures.

Christmas In 3-D

Santa was a tall and thin bishop from southern Greece, who was at one time persecuted for his faith. His real name was Nicholas and he started with humble beginnings and humbly gave all he had to the poor in Jesus's name. In the story of Saint Nicholas you will find an extraordinary man whose spirit lives only in part in who we know now as the legendary Santa Claus.

This is the time of year where myth and legend is the most vibrant in the Western world. Our imaginations go wild with anticipation of a new year and an old one passing away. To put things in perspective we must talk not just of the fantasy that has emerged in this season, but also the reality behind the symbols.

As you sit down with your loved ones to celebrate the holidays consider the meaning behind it all. Where did it come from? Why do we do this? What are all the decorations and rituals about? We need to know what this is all about in order to define who we are and what the next phase of our lives will be. And as a way to to ignite your passion for discovery I have included a gift (a toy, if you will) for you to print out to iniate this practice. I guarantee that the flaws as well as the beauty of these symbols will fuel your imagination. Click on this link and you will see what I am talking about: Christmas Cube.


7 Day Work Week

Hopefully, I won't have to do this again. It's easy to enter the week optimistically, but dreadful if you think about the fact that you have no weekend. I wouldn't recommend this lifestyle to anyone.


Inquire Within: Part 2, Life And Art

Not many times in my life do I remember other people approaching me and immediately engaging in conversation. Not unless I am actively doing something creative, that is.

The day after Thanksgiving I was still at my parents house struggling not to become too bored. So I borrowed my mom's digital camera and went for a walk to the park across the river in the town next to theirs. I went for the very specific reason of shooting pictures of the animals in the petting zoo. Because, I do not often get to go to the zoo anymore. This was a prime opportunity.

As I came around the fence I was trying hard to shoot through the fence, I encountered a woman feeding bread to the animals through the chain link fence. Her golf cart was full of cheap or reclaimed bread. She was popular with the animals. Then she started a conversation with me as if we were old friends. 

I admit, I was not too cordial to begin with. I just wanted to shoot pictures of the cantankerous animals that had very short attention spans. But she went on regardless of whether I acknowledged her too much. In the course of her conversation she mentioned how she had had a digital camera and that she wished she could post an up-to-date picture online. Regretably she didn't know how use her own camera. Not mention that a relative had borrowed it and never returned hers. I could only comment on how the camera I was using was not mine and I did not own one either. But, I missed something very important.

“Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10, NIV

This was the Exempla Vitae moment I referred to last week. This was the opportunity to do good by someone. A quick photo or 2 and some contact information to send her the photos could have been a blessing to her. A moment like this could create waves in someone else's life. This is where Life intersects Art. These are the times I live for.

My challenge to you is to think ahead about the gifts you have been given: time, talent, resources, knowledge, experience. Ask God what He wants you to do with these things. Imagine the possibilities of using them in unconventional ways. Write down and plan for such times as these. You will be surprised of the creativity utilized when you come to that time, nothing is ideal after all.


Inquire Within, Part 1: God And Imagination

This is when it is hard to see God. When it seems as if you can't see beyond your troubles. In spite of the blessings you are in the midst of, it is difficult to see the end.

The dessert is like that. You go for miles in the stark landscape. You hope for an oasis, but because its so difficult to tell what direction you're actually going at times you lose hope quickly.

This is when we need our imaginations. This is when it is important to bow low. This is when we need to submit to our Heavenly Father. He is the author of all creation. And what we need to get through adversity are our dreams, visions, and imagination. All of these hardships are fuel for our imaginations.

Click this to see the painting: Passage
These are the times that the unseen things benefit us. I often paint with a limited palette. When I put down paint and attempt to show detail and shape and value, I am challenged to do it without all of the possibilities afforded me by a full range of colors. But this practice of depending on the unknown has allowed me to create some amazing paintings with unique feels and atmospheres.

When we come to a point where revelations of God's goodness intersect our day to day life we experience Exempla Vitae moments. This is the Art of Living Story. The times when we are able to learn through doing or learn through remembering. From this lesson learned a remarkable thing happens: We have a new story to tell. Some tell their story through words, some through music or dance, some through performance or building, yet others do so by imagery. I am one of those who uses imagery, but more specifically cartooning.

As a cartoonist I am constantly expanding my visual and written vocabulary. This blog is an expression of that. My thoughts and experiments are often expressed with sequential art or imagery, but they do have broader applications.  I believe you will be able to experience creativity in a new way by taking advantage of the challenges. My challenges stem from the good I have experienced in my relationship with Jesus, and you should seek Him to take full advantage of all the good that you experience.

What is it you are having a difficult time with? What are your current limitations? What do you have at your disposal? Challenge- Try a project with fewer options. Take away what you are comfortable with and create with what remains.