An Artist

Edited: Congratulations, Lisa Notes! You won the giveaway! 

I stepped back. And for the first time, after four years, I felt like an artist.

Four years ago I picked up pastels and began. Learning to blend. Learning to mix colors. Learning to draw. I took along aside our son. His gift evident from a young age, we knew it needed to be nurtured.

We have an amazing art teacher. Encouraging as she teaches, allowing us to choose the medium and guiding as we experiment.

My son gravitates to pastels and sketching, seeing easily how to draw a subject. His tender heart seen as he sketches animals and his fascination with architecture shown in other subjects he chooses. His gift amazes and inspires me.

The drawing aspect of lessons was difficult for me. With our teacher alongside, I was able to sketch a few landscapes, and while the paintings I did hold meaning for me they still seemed uninspired.

But there is something about painting. Something about creating a piece whether inspired from a photo or your own imagination where a spirit can find release. So I kept trying, kept showing up at the blank canvas.

I soon found a love for acrylic and abstract. Pairing colors comes natural for me. Finally unafraid to experiment and fail, I begin. Brush against canvas. Colors blending. Layer upon layer. I push myself out of comfort trying different textures and techniques.

I begin discovering my voice.

Many paintings later I still never felt like an artist. Until this one. Inspired by a friend’s story of redemption, I wondered if I would be able to translate the image in my mind to canvas.

Colors chosen, I begin. Colors brushed then blended into one another. Background layer then another and another. It’s the layers that build perspective. Depth. I step away taking deep breaths, knowing from experience it will eventually emerge. It does. When I get to the point where I think it may be finished, I step back.

And for the first time I feel like an artist.

Four years after picking up pastels and then brushes, I felt like I had created a piece of art. The cliquish words of other artists who define art as their way and no other no longer haunting.

Too often comparison paralyzes art. We overhear others remarks and see upturned noses and we think we aren’t good enough. I know first hand how creatives are prone to insecurity, always wondering if we are good enough.

But here’s what I’m discovering: Art (or any creative pursuit) isn’t about comparing our work to that of others. No, it’s simply about growing and sharing the gifts God has given us. Comparison only steals the joy we will find when using the gifts and talents He gives.

I still have much to learn, much more to experiment with, but I am no longer afraid to call myself an artist. And through the process, God calls me to encourage others.

So this week I’m taking a step that really feels more like a leap. I’m putting my art out there with more to be added in the coming days. Would you please stop by and maybe share?

To celebrate, I am also giving away a piece here on the blog! Just leave a comment to be entered to win your choice of one of the pieces below. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only and ends Friday, May 10.

Karah - May 8, 2013 - 9:58 pm

Amy- the bird is my favorite! You are so talented!

Michelle - May 7, 2013 - 10:06 am

You truly inspire me each day.

Robert Damron - May 5, 2013 - 8:53 pm

I have loved getting to know you through our little online community. There is a peace in knowing I can open up to you and all of my other friends in twitterville and not be judged. Thanks for taking me on the journey with you. Love watching you grow.

Michele - May 5, 2013 - 8:34 pm

Congratulations Amy! You are quite the artist. God has blessed you with a wonderful gift. All three of your works are beautiful. I look forward to seeing more paintings. May God continue nurturing you and your son.

floyd - May 3, 2013 - 5:47 pm

“Creatives are prone to insecurity…” Ain’t that the truth… Good for you, Amy. Your work looks great and your attitude is encouraging. We need to do what we do for the honor of He who gave the gift and desire to begin with. Nice job!

Charlene Bates - May 3, 2013 - 3:55 pm

Your first picture made me think of darkness, bitterness, and times of walking thru the fire, then how God redeems that when we turn it over to Him. He floods our life with His light bringing sunshine and beauty. Thank you for allowing God to use your art to speak to me, Amy!

Lisa notes - May 3, 2013 - 2:43 pm

You ARE an artist, Amy. And have been for a long time. Beautiful!