Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Cost of Passion

We all should want something to be passionate about. Not just something tacked on to our lives or an interest one step above a hobby, but a passion connected to a life purpose. Not all passions are good. Many of us let a passion choose us rather than the other way around. Then, after it slowly takes over our life, we rationalize in order to protect our pride and call it anything but the idol that it is (eg., workaholism, an affair, etc.).
What can be more frightening is searching for a passion and not having a clear path to the Divine. The unregenerate artist has nothing but his/her own soul, or the world of men or of demons to tap into. Of course, it would be silly for me to say that secular artist throughout the ages have produced their timeless masterpieces out of deficit. What I mean is that gazing deeply into the inner self can bring a person to despair or even madness. Therefore, stories of artists committing suicide, although unfortunate, are not surprising. Yes, survivors abound, but all of them walk with a limp. For example, who can honestly travel with Goya through his dark period and return home without scars? Life for anyone can be traumatic, but an artist nearly begs for it.
Personally, I believe that my quest for truly spiritual art will become my new passion and for a good reason. Even though I choose it, I may not be free from its captivating and consuming power. There are no guarantees. My confidence is that I will be under the direction of the Holy Spirit…but that doesn’t make it safe! To truly follow Christ, in any calling, will cost us everything. But the benefits far outweigh the price. 

 I have to touch up the Elisha triptych just a bit. This composite doesn't match up perfectly. Honestly, having the piece dragged out over a few months and thousands of miles did nothing for the continuity. I'm ready to move on!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

More on the Spirituality in Art

If I can share another response to Kandinsky’s book. I’m not convinced that the only way to convey the spiritual in art is through abstract expressionism. Yet that will likely remain my favorite mode of experimentation. Later on I can seek to apply what I’ve learned to representational subject matter.
It is also my concern to avoid the Eastern mystical view of spiritual energy in art. Albeit small, Eastern influence (Chakra, mandalas, etc.) appears to have made some advancement in this understanding of art. Of course, like any false religion, there may be a supernatural connection but it is with the demonic and not the Divine. It seems that many Christians, Christian artists included, don’t concern themselves with having a solid theology and, as a result, are vulnerable to compromise and the thinking that all supernatural experiences are holy.
Some may approach the creative process passively, saying that, “It just happens to me.” This is exactly the type of thinking that illustrates the connection between our worldview and the way we live. What if this were our attitude toward spiritual growth, evangelism, or developing quality relationships? Just keep this in mind: the only things that grow in your garden passively are weeds.
The process is a mysterious one: what is experienced through the senses reaches the soul and then touches the spirit. The elements of design are sensually perceived. Just the same, words are nothing more than sounds but their meaning is what enters the mind and heart of the hearer. Does God want to use art to touch a person’s spirit? How is that done? I know that emotional impact and connection can be made. That’s nothing new. But this deeper interaction is intriguing to me. Can it operate in the same way as God’s Word (a small “r” revelation)? Can God use art to awaken the spirit of an unbeliever? Can it stir a believer to the spirit of prayer, instead of the emotion of tears; to be a conduit of the Holy Spirit motivating one to kneel, even in the gallery space, and enter into the presence of God? After all, the tabernacle and Old Testament temples were art; decorated architecture where God would meet with His people. ( be continued)

 Here is the nearly completed left panel of my Elisha Triptych. I've got to get the other panels finished in the next 2 weeks in preparation for the Belleville exhibition.