It is Love that Makes an Artist

“…When a child who has been conceived in love is born to a man and woman, the joy of that birth sings throughout the universe. The joy of writing or composing or painting is much the same, and the insemination comes not from the artist himself but from his relationship with those he loves, with the whole world.”

M. L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet

I love L’Engle. She just GETS things. I almost never walk away from a session with one of her books without being encouraged in some way.

Part of my “go” this year is accepting that I am an artist, and that, as L’Engle also said in what I read last night, “all real art is, in its true sense, religious; it is a religious impulse; there is no such thing as a non-religious subject.

This is not something I grew up believing; in fact the conservative Christian subculture in which I was raised generally avoided art and artists for their focus on materialism and their non-conservative political bent. I grew up wary of anyone who wasn’t quoting only Scripture in their writing or their work – and then I encountered the real world, where God proved that He could use anything or anyone to reach the hearts of His people, and subsequently transformed most of my ideas of right and wrong.

I have learned much about “the renewing of your mind.” When I came into Christ, I became a new creation. I did not simply adopt a new creed or a new set of standards so as not to live as I did before – or as the “worldly people” from whom I was sheltered lived. My heart was literally renewed, and my whole perspective changed as I began to see things through Spirit eyes.

In Christ, God can – and does – redeem even the smallest elements of my life, because “without Him, nothing was made that was made.” He has a personal investment in His glory, giving me back His creation through His firstborn.

Jasmine Star tweeted a Nietzsche quote yesterday that is going to stick with me this year as I go: “The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” Nietzsche is right – it is when I am most thankful that I create the art that means the most to me.

As I’ve grown in grace, my art – more than my sense of duty – has become my response to His presence in my whole life and in my heart. It is a product of my growing, deepening relationship with the One who created me and recreated my heart; it is also the result of my relationships with others who get into my heart. It is work and it is life, and it is worship, like birthing a child.

11 thoughts on “It is Love that Makes an Artist

  1. Megan Willome

    You exemplify what you’re writing about with your photography.

    When I was in my long period of leaving the church because it hurt too much to be there, God began to reveal himself in the most surprising places. Now that I’m back in church, I still notice him in those unexpected Kermit the Frog moments.

  2. Danielle

    Love L’Engle! Thankfully, I grew up with the “whatever you hands find to do, do it unto the Lord.” I had the knowledge that whatever I did, creating art or washing the dishes, could be a gift to the Lord. I remember my mom clearly telling me that, and also from listening to lots of Elisabeth Elliot. :)

    BTW, have you seen this site?
    I love going through the various topics like “Feast” and “Artful Kids.”

  3. Nancy

    First, I probably need to apologize to you because every time I read about you seeing yourself as an artist, I sort of want to reach through my computer screen, smack you upside the head and say, “Well, duh! Of course, you’re an artist.” But I’m kind of a neanderthal like that. I’m glad you’re writing about what this journey has been like for you while I’m watching my artist/musician son on is similar journey. You bear witness well that God is good and is personally invested in demonstrating his creativity through all you artist people.

    And, I’m a sucker for quote from Madeline L’Engle.

  4. Luciene

    Greetings from Brazil!

    I would like to share to book titles with you. One is Francis Schaeffer’s “Art and the Bible” and the other is”Art needs no justification” from Hans Rookmaaker. I think they will encourage you in your quest to serve God through your art life. Blessings!!! Luciene

  5. Erin

    I believe that everything that is beautiful and well-done can teach us about God– because that is who He is, the Author of beauty and the Creator of the creative instinct within us.

    And I agree with Nancy above; you have always been an artist. It is a privilege to share the journey with you as you embrace the truth of who you are. :)

  6. Sharon O

    You are gifted and through that gift you bless others, and I look forward to displaying my ‘gift’ from you through your photography. The roses are beautiful.
    Bless you my friend.

  7. Kimberly

    L’Engle SO gets it. The Lord has used her words to transform my heart with regards to art and it’s value in the Kingdom, and by extension my value in His Kingdom. I’m just beginning to learn what it means, and I hope that at the end of the journey I’ll be able to say with confidence that I am an artist too.

  8. Dolly @ soulstops

    Your words and your journey resonate with me. Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your thoughts and photography :) I hope you know that you are making a beautiful difference in the world.

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