Name Your Triumph

"When looking at any significant work of art, remember that a more significant one probably has had to be sacrificed." - Paul Klee

"The best artists make the most mistakes." -Andrew Kish, III Watercolorist

Thinking of physical failures as triumphs takes a lot of courage. It makes more sense to just call something a failure and laud it as that to everyone you meet. But, does it really help anyone? 

I am not talking about an honest acknowledgement that the pieces of art you are concerned with do not have flaws or lack the ability to communicate the message you want to get across. I am talking about a piece of art standing on its own as a piece of art. It is no less valid to laud a child's simplistic crayon drawing as art as the work created by a person with a PhD in oil painting. Communication is one thing, beauty is another. 

In my pursuit to create good art I have learned the value of sacrificing my longing for perfection for the greater good of communication. The truth is I have created some pretty amazing works that had to meet their death at the end of an eraser or a swab of a paint brush. I have to count on this to sustain me as I create. Mistakes are necessary. Mistakes, you could say are the life of art. The further I go into this process the more I see that it is vital to my growth and the easier it is to decide what to keep and what goes. 

We have to consider our "failures" as fodder for growth. We have to celebrate the whole of the process so that we can perpetuate our movement toward the creative end we pursue. It is well worth it. So, I share my triumph with you. I have accomplished 17 hours of work in the 5 day span from 1/23/12-1/27/12 in the midst of a part time job and other responsibilities, challenges, and events. Praise God! I will do much better this week. 

Granted not all of these pieces were a beginning to end process, but they are all part of the process and therefore qualify as art. In the mainstay pieces I will share with you the final products in the months to come. Hold tight to your work and consider every victory along the way.



The City Scene

Discovery is the best way to fuel your imagination. If you see something new or the same old things in a new light you propel yourself forward. Change happens in you and then innovation!

Daily I put this into practice in some aspect of my art. Sometimes its a process, a technique, an area of study, or a tool. 

The City Scene 3 represents a  still life practice that I use often. I need to learn perspective, so I set up a scenario that allows me to see it with my own eyes instead of guessing. When I set up these scenes I try to do something alien and unique with similar objects that  you could find around the house. I chose the China Marker because of its proximity to pastel and charcoal. It can bear some semblance to a black and white photo if used the right way. In particular, value was very important to this drawing. 

Be bold and try a different media, process, or subject matter. Be brazen and open to change. I guarantee you will see something new.


Negative Spaces

Mystery is negative space.

As an artist I thrive on mystery. I do not take for granted what I cannot see. What I can see, I understand that even at it's fundamental level I cannot perceive the substance or scene in its entirety. I am not God. The passage below reminds me of my limitations and always makes creating art into an awe-inspiring event:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.- 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV

As artists we exploit the principle of what is not seen defines what is seen as often as we possibly can. Follow the points below and you will understand how it works and how we think.

1. There is NO MYSTERY in virtual white space. A solid of any kind is not compelling. It has no weight or relevance by itself. This is something like walking through a pure whiteout after a snowstorm. Pure white, you would feel as if you were unable to go anywhere. A feeling of perpetual lack of direction.

2. There is NO MYSTERY in virtual black space. Have you ever been stuck in a dark room with no light available? It is as if you were paralyzed. You feel as if you were disconnected.Only the introduction light will move you toward mystery.

3. Two white boxes only show equality. There is NO CONFLICT. You need conflict in order create mystery. Mystery requires an unbalanced feeling. This is not possible without conflict.

4. CONFLICT alone is not enough to create mystery. Black against white definitely begins to create tension, but if it is balanced like stripes it does not finish the job.

5. SUSPENSE starts to get to mystery. Though it is clear that there is a struggle. Suspense can happen with equality still in mind. Therefore, artistically it is not that interesting. It lacks Power.

6. MYSTERY can be created in two different ways. When black dominates it is an overpowering type of mystery. Compelling like a pure dark room, but since one shard of light appears it can cause suspense and wonder. Wonder is probably the most essential ingredient in the recipe for Mystery. It captures our imaginations.

7. MYSTERY created where there is a shard of black in a sea of white causes us to think about resilience. A lone survivor or just loneliness can be derived. It is compelling with a sense of wonder that causes awe at the sight of  one lone element defying the system that surrounds it.

Now you see how we think about composition and what ramifications a sense of mystery carries. Perhaps it will cause you to view the greater picture when view art, nature, or humanity as a whole. Challenge yourself to push the limits of mystery. It will truly wrap others into the work you create.

I created these examples based on an ink piece that I did. Click on this link to see the full image: The Edge Of The Forest.


Cultivating Growth

One of the high priorities of my monthly schedule are the tasks involved in leading an art group. I have been leading Visual Sanctuary for over 3 years now. Each new challenge I face gives me new creative insight.

In order to lead with more authority in 2011 I took on an a design internship. It was both challenging and fun. Naturally, when you step out of your comfort zone you are bound to grow. When you face a new task that you do not understand you are bound to change. If you use your God-given wisdom you will eventually thrive. Its just that simple.

Visual Sanctuary is one of those things that I continue to do in spite of the downsides. In spite of myself some times, too. Why would anyone lead a visual arts group in a church of all places? Why not in a community? Why not at a college?

The simple answer for me was that someone needed to take initiative and invite artists where they are generally uncomfortable. The church in return needs to get used to artists being around again.

When God puts a call on your life you had better be ready. For artists this is especially true, because artists are not accustomed to being called. We vary rarely feel that inclusiveness that people serving in other ministries feel.

If you are an artist living in Columbus, OH I invite you to come out and be involved in our community. You will network, grow, see things differently, experience a taste of love that Jesus lavishes on all people, and create art in a group. Also, check out the entry information for the Cultivating Growth Show for this year. Its a quick deadline so jump to it quickly.

For in-depth information about Visual Sanctuary, click here: Visual Sanctuary Website

For a listing of current Important Dates for our group, click here: Visual Sanctuary Newsletter

For information about the Cultivating Growth Art Show, click here: Cultivating Growth