These days in the art community there is a wonderful movement that strives to get back to handcrafted, placing a premium on pieces that are brimming with the artist’s personality. I agree, I much prefer the one-of-a-kind over the mass produced. I prefer smaller pieces that are well done over larger pieces that lack detail. That said, there are some things about your art that are better bigger.
Bigger Dreams. Goal setting is important, but don’t forget your dreams in the day to day. When you are afraid, reach even higher.
Bigger Quality. How can you improve on your quality?
Bigger Knowledge. Take a class. Call a mentor. Read a book. Get into the studio and experiment. It is amazing how learning will spark the creative juices. Learn something new already!
Bigger Reputation. What do you want people to say when your name is mentioned? Make every effort to keep your word, ship on time and offer value every chance you can get.
Bigger Body of Work. Keep on growing. Keep on reaching. Keep on working.The most successful artists are the ones who are faithful to work work work.
Bigger Circle of Friends. Get out there and make sincere connections. Not just for your career but for your sanity. Friends keep you honest, give your ego a healthy boost and make sure you keep some balance. But adding to your professional Rolodex doesn’t hurt either.
Bigger Heart. Be generous with your information. Offer freebies. Donate profits or do work to sell for charity. People love people who aren’t afraid to share their knowledge with them.
These things, added up, will add up to a fulfilling artistic career. And all that will translate into bigger dollars, but all the other “biggers” will ensure that your increasing profits are not temporary, but a natural, permanent growth. And that bigger is definitely better.
The cover of a book, especially an antique, determines its value. A great volume with an intact spine and flyleaves is sought-after by collectors the world over.
When you make a book, keep in mind that the cover is not an afterthought. It is not simply a holder for the title or something to keep the pages inside from getting ruined. Yes it is all that too but it’s more.
It’s like the front door. It’s the readers first interaction with your work. It’s the thing they hold and manipulate to get to the “good stuff.” It’s the first stop on a journey through your work. Why not make it really count?
An article to enjoy is this one on an exhibit of the Morgan Library and Museum. A limited collection of their books spanning 1400 years displays the exquisite detail of the covers. You almost hate to open them up for fear the text won’t live up.
When you maker your next book I hope you will take the opportunity to make the cover a work unto itself.
I was reading this post on Sarah Hodson’s blog. There is a new machine out there that I am crazy about. It’s a screen printing machine that Provo has come out with that, like the Cricut, is going to revolutionize the craft world. See a video demo of Yudu here.
What I appreciated about Sara’s post was the video from Provo featuring a man giving the homeless a voice using the machine. Please view the video.
It really got me thinking about communicating faith in art. There is reason for us to create beauty, to communicate the Gospel, to offer hope and help. We as Christians have a unique voice. We bring the hope of Christ to what we do. It is Christ in us, the hope of glory.
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col. 1:27
When we allow Christ to shine in our art we have something unique to offer, not just any hope, but the hope of glory.
Christ is come to save, to heal and to deliver. When we can get that across, not just in a literal way, but in the subtle artistic communication–that is one to one, artist to patron—you are able to reach the very soul of another person. Art disarms, connects and elevates. For a moment in time you are able to communicate soul to soul with a person you may never actually meet this side of heaven. you are truly, as Ron DiCianni puts it, “Going into all the world…one painting at a time.” Or one book. Or collage. Pick your medium, the principle is the same.
What an exciting time to be an artist. Modern technology has brought the ability to get your art into people’s hands to the next level. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to communicate the Good News to everyone you can. Be bold, be subtle, be brave.
In my next post I will share my personal art scriptures and how they fit into my artist statement.
When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God-made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.
Gotta love the simplicity of that statement. Nothing more I can add to that but a hearty “Amen.” I think many artists (and patrons) today should refer to this quote—often. And for the art enthusiast and art novice–this quote can take the guesswork out of what qualifies as art. Love it.
I know, it’s up a little late. My hubbie is out of town on business and I’m surprised how much his absence throws us off. We are really a team and I miss him when he’s not here. 🙁 That said, let’s dive into our quote this week (emphasis hers):
It seems to me that the marks of personality–love, communication, and moral sensitivity–which are meant to sharpen as we are returning to communication with God, should lead to an increased rather than decreased creativity. The Christian should have more vividly expressed creativity in his daily life, and have more creative freedom, as well as the possibility of a continuing development in creative activities.
–Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking
I must say that I love that book, but that is another discussion. 🙂 I totally agree that as Christians, looking more like Christ includes increased creativity. It can’t be helped. It always makes me sad to hear Christians downplay their talents and dismiss the idea that they possess any creativity. It’s dismissing a part of you when you deny your creative self. Enjoy exploring your creative side. Take some risks. Ask the Holy Spirit for some inspiration and get out there and create something!
A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing.
I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Dobell. Even though we use different media, the principle is the same. As a Christian I strive for life in all my work because God is alive and I want Him to be in all of it. He created life, all living things. I strive, as I become more like Him, to also create things with His life. A book, a collage canvas, a clay pot are inanimate objects but when we allow God to participate in our work then it takes on a whole new dimension of life that other artists could not duplicate, not because we are great artists but because we collaborate with the Greatest Artist.
And He is not necessarily looking for me to recreate His creation, but for me to find my own interpretation of His handiwork. I love the impressionist masters’ abilities to look out on a landscape and see a whole other world of color, texture and design. I think that sort of individual voice makes God very happy.
For me this takes the pressure off. I am free to be me, using the perspective that God gave me. Together we can create living works that glorify Him on many levels.
The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.
I hope, as Christian artists do, that my work will somehow glorify God, and not always in the obvious ways. We strive for our works to speak to His essence, to His Spirit, even if it is not a “Christian” piece. If you allow God to work with you in your studio, His will be evident in some way in the finished product. And we will be changed as well, as we listen to His voice.
As Michelangelo may well have referred to the “divine perfection” of his subject, God as Creator of all still is the light source. He still receives the glory for His creation, whether the artist knows it or not. Beauty is God and displaying beauty in your art will always please Him, even if no one else ever sees it.
This is the first of a new post series on faith and art. Please feel free to comment and start a [respectful] discussion about Protestant Christian faith and art.
time and energy to make lots of terrific art
I was thinking how sad I have been that I have not been able to keep up my art as I would like, for reasons I am not ready to reveal. My studio has been languishing and so has my right brain!
That said, I’m listing ways I can revive those creative juices, so here’s my proposal to myself. The idea is to finish the year like I started it: strong.
- Not to buy any new supplies for the rest of the year (except paper and adhesive). I have waaaaaay too much stuff!
- To make at least one thing each month that is not obligated to someone or something.
- To add to my Etsy store each week until the end of the year.
- To be early with my swaps.
- To complete my Jesse Tree ornaments before the end of November.
I hope to be able to keep up this pace. It’s exciting to think about how the “no new stuff” restraint will stretch my creativity.