Art, Life, Perspectives, and the quest to improve.

Perspective has a powerful influence on everything we see. For example, if you are trying to learn to draw, a simple technique to check for flaws, is to hold your artwork up to a mirror. The mirror adds a layer of perspective and it sort of tricks your brain into thinking  it’s looking at someone else’s work; …now you will see the flaws. But, this is only necessary when there is standard that must be met, whether self-imposed or by others.  The question is, will you be willing to put forth the time and effort to improve?

Think of a young child who draws a picture and runs to their parents, eager to show and have the artwork displayed.   The parent may only see stick figures and colors scribbled on the page; However, to the child, it’s not only a wonderful rendering of family, nature, zoo animals, or spaceships…But, a genuine labor of love. Children instinctively understand that art is a form of self-expression, and they use it as such. They don’t get hung up on what faults may be found by others. Or, if the intended audience will even understand the gesture. When a child hands you a drawing of anything, it probably means “I love you…and I want you to love me too”… that’s if you need to assign any meaning to it at all. And most parents get the message; they stick the picture right to the refrigerator.

As we get older, though, most people stop expressing themselves this way.  Expressing ourselves and communicating effectively gets more and more complex as we  encounter new people, places and perspectives. We stop drawing stick figures.

New perspectives

My daughter was six years old the first time I saw her get frustrated with her inability to draw to her own standard. I knew exactly what she was feeling. I was seven years old when I showed my friend Ryan a comic character that I created and he quickly pointed out what he thought was a flaw in my design. It was the first time in my life that anyone besides my little brother Josh had given me anything other than praise and admiration about my artwork. And it hurt at first. But, that was the day I learned that other people may not see things the way I do. I learned about perspective. unfortunately, this is when most people stop using art as a tool to express themselves. Most people try to find a path to self-expression that is more personally suitable. Humans are social creatures. And as such, we always strive to meet social standards. If you have stopped  using art and creativity to connect, I strongly recommend you reconsider. Here’s why…

Overcoming obstacles 

In our art, and in life, we try our best to conceal or correct our mistakes and flaws during the creation process; No one wants others to see the flaws because it might detract from the overall impression. On the other hand, if we are happy with the outcome of a piece we’ve done, we are eager to display it for others to enjoy.  One huge mistake many artists make however, is that of comparing their work to others. This only complicates the process. While there is some value in copying the techniques of great artists, we should be working to produce our own ideas. Its your unique perspective that make your work great.

although I guess if you are in the business of making reproductions or copies, then yea, you would need to compare your work. But, Even counterfeiters know that every copy made, is slightly inferior to the original.

Improving…

A person who wants to improve, is a person who is willing make adjustments. Part of learning and getting better at what we do, is opening ourselves up to constructive criticism and new perspectives. We may have a general idea  of what our own good or bad qualities are; but it’s not a bad idea to get someone else’s perspective .

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, this one is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, and he goes away and immediately forgets what sort of person he is. 25  But the one who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and continues in it has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work; and he will be happy in what he does.  -james 1:23-25

Jehovah God is greatest artist in the universe, and we are the works of his hands.  His word the bible is just like that mirror we use to find out where we can improve. We can get a clear picture of who we are, flaws and all, by looking into the his word.

The ability to create art is a gift from God that we are all capable of doing. So whatever form suits you best, keep working to express yourself through art!  Cheers!

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My daughter created her own magazine, complete with short news stories and adverts. It’s the best!

 

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