The Gifted Blog

April 4, 2012

Practicing Art | Why We Make

I write The Gifted Blog because I love to create. I've been reflecting on what it means to be a Christian and to love making things. I hope this series will be a jumping-off point for thoughtful discussion among us, no matter your spiritual background. For the whole series, click here.
The primary benefit of practicing any art, whether well or badly, is that it enables one's soul to grow.  - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

I found the quote above on my friend's blog. To be honest, I'm not terribly good at practicing. When I make something, I badly want it to turn out the FIRST TIME. How can it be that practicing an art, well or even badly, helps my soul to grow?

Well, I do know this: expecting instantaneous perfection is dangerous. When I forget there is only One who is perfect, I start to think I can be perfect, too. I stay in safe waters where I know I can excel instead of jumping into the deep end where I might flounder around. I don't extend myself beyond what I know I can do.

But I want to be someone who grows. Someone who's getting better with time, not plateauing. It's not in my nature to want to practice things I might fail at. God give me the courage to practice, well or badly, in my creative life as well as in the rest of life.

You can read B's original post about practicing art here, and learn more about the painting above here.

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{Images of Harvest Moon in progress by Cathy McMurray}


  1. It seems you and I both need to practice practicing. I'd love to work on my drawing/sketching skills. I could be a very good draw-er if I practiced a little. Right now I'm very slow. Every time I make something that requires me to draw, it's a long, drawn-out process all because I don't practice.

    I think we need to set aside a half hour a couple times a week to draw (or whatever) something small and just for us. That way it's not a big time commitment, and there are no expectations of perfection...

    1. Michele, your comment has come to mind on and off for the last week. I agree, set-aside time is needed to practice, at least in an intentional way! Things are a little full around our house but just wanted to let you know I'm mulling over your proposal and you've planted the seed that we should have some kind of accountability for our practicing!

  2. This is something I think alot about. I've had to struggle with guilty feelings for pursuing art. I do know that creativity/artistry is one of the primary marks of the imago dei. In artistry we are imitating God. And I think he gets joy from when we use it to glorify Him.

    1. Evie, I admire your creative work very much and appreciate your thoughts. When making things and faith are both such a big part of your life, it seems like it should be more natural to combine the two, or think about both at the same time. But somehow it's tricky! I agree that God is pleased when we choose to be like him in creating things.


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