There's something about creativity. You feel like you're making something alive. First there's a blank paper. Then you draw or paint. And suddenly something exists that didn't exist before. This is why I can't throw out any of Julia's artwork. Each one is like a little child.
Schaeffer says that it is "crushing" to be doing uncreative work that you dislike, day in and day out, "while your art is lying buried!" (48). Buried. Yes -- it's a death image. And using your art, even in the smallest, most unskilled way, is like giving life to it. Pulling it out of yourself, looking at it, smiling at its little beauty, and letting it breathe.
Schaeffer gives many reasons why even the smallest drawing/painting/sculpting is valuable:
1. It enriches the lives of the artist and of those who view it.
2. The artist finds it enjoyable; it produces joy.
3. The artist's imagination is stimulated to produce further work. Art spawns art.
4. It fosters human relationship between the artist and the viewer, especially when it's hand-done and personal.
5. Art softens communication and can add humor to it. (Think of the facebook smiley face!)
6. If you don't create the art, it is lost, unfulfilled.
7. It can improve times of depression or dullness.
8. Art can express love and care for someone.
She gives a few ideas of how to incorporate simple art into family life:
1. Make place cards for each place at the dining table when you have company. Or make then just for your family -- this is fun. Get your kids to make them!
2. Make birthday cards or other cards by hand instead of buying them. We've also made our own wrapping paper for gifts.
3. When making lists (grocery, to do, etc.) use some nice art paper, and make the list pretty and perhaps add little flourishes or sketches on the side.
4. When writing letters, add small sketches or little watercolors to enhance and illustrate them. My mother had an artist friend who did this, and it made her personal letters so very precious to read. They were delightful!
Schaeffer illustrated her husband's sermons for her grandchildren as they sat together through church. These are simple stick figure drawings with text, but they made the message come alive for the children. She mentions that the sermon illustrations (which are really cute!) help the children remember the messages. I can't help thinking that, now that she is dead, they must be even more precious to her grandchildren. They can look at those simple pictures and not only remember the gospel, but remember their grandma's thinking, her convictions, her love for them, her devotion to their spiritual welfare -- how rich this is!
Schaeffer is right and I feel convicted. I enjoy sketching and particularly watercoloring. I've bought all the supplies. I simply need motivation to do it, to not procrastinate and assume I'll paint someday. Each time we feel the impetus to be creative and we suppress the urge, we're burying our gifts, our creativity, our God-image. Let it out!
|One of Julia's last watercolor pieces this semester|