We Each Own A Monster

10:25 PM

We see with our spirits.
We are creators.
We are artists uncovered.
And we each own a monster.

There’s my short little musing, now let me explain.

We See With Our Spirits

I recently began studying under a wonderful artist, William Whittaker. I’ve now only spent a near 10 hours (maybe?) working alongside him in his studio. Already, I have been tremendously inspired and have learned, really, a great deal that I have been repeating over and over in my mind just so I don’t forget a bit of it. Really, I should write it down, but I’ve never learnt art that way. 

One very eye-opening lesson I have learned is that we as artists see with our spirits. I cannot tell you how many art books, teachers, professors, or other artists exclaim “learn to see!” Or “learning to see is key!” or even “the key to success is to see!”

Does this sound like technical artistic gibberish to you? It did to me too. In fact, I can almost remember when I first read those words, “learn to see!” I would guess it was in my treasured “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” book by Betty Edwards. (If you ask me who the author is in person, I will always say ‘Betty White’ and later realize my mistake in horror.) 

But as an artist, as I have tried to teach myself to see like “they” always say, I feel that I have learned to see slowly over the years. Though, I don’t fully understand it quite yet, I do find myself seeing and painting what I see.

Now, recently during my studies with Whittaker, during a discussion on this very topic of “learning to see,” he asked me a very thoughtful question that has been racing through a maze in my mind for days now. (Today I had to repent for letting it race during Sunday school. I still cannot tell you what the lesson was on...) His question was something to the fact of “why do we as artists paint? Why don’t we just take a photograph and beautifully alter it or print it?” We continued to talk how machines can basically “paint” a portrait with beautiful brush work, real oil paint, and everything else in-between “nowadays,” but it’s still not quite the same.

This pressing question, you know, the one racing through that maze in my mind, has come to a few conclusions, ends, open doors, what ever else you wish to call it: Our spirits see things that we cannot. Our spirits are familiar with things we have yet to intellectualize. Tell me it’s not true? Have you ever been talking with a person and felt a weary spirit about them? Or have you ever been so consumed with a person because you “could just tell” that they we a wonderful person? They had the light of Christ emitting from their very souls! It wasn’t necessarily your body recognizing that, I believe, but it was your spirit.

As artists paint or draw to express a person’s being and spirit, they have an ability to see the spirit of that person, and paint with their own spirit the message needing to be said. Or the emotion that spirit has to offer. That is something a machine cannot do. That is why I do what I do. 

We Are Creators
(Following message from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.
You might say, “I’m not the creative type. When I sing, I’m always half a tone above or below the note. I cannot draw a line without a ruler. And the only practical use for my homemade bread is as a paperweight or as a doorstop.”
We Are Artists Uncovered
(Following message from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
“If that is how you feel, [that you are not the creative type,] think again, and remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.
But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy.  Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things.
If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the next.
You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. 5 The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. “Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.
What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.

If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it.

And We Each Own A Monster
Yes, it's true. I own a monster. It eats, breathes, commands, and demands. I have to take very good care of it. If I neglect it, it makes me very sad, and it's almost better than a really good dog. My monster is the monster of creativity. Once I find myself set to a goal or task, I must finish it, or start it again in a new way. I must, I must, I must create. I must make something good. I must make good art.  It the monster that drives me and lends me unreal energy to stay glued to a painting late in to the early hours of the morning. It is what sits me down and makes me write. It is what runs my mind. It is what solves my problems and teaches me again and again. It is what just kept me up the past hour or more when I have class early tomorrow . . . Haven’t you encountered that monster? Better go find it if not, because you own a monster too. (Check under the bed, or between the cushions of the couch, sometimes they're there too.) 

(Six 2x3in. B&W digital landscapes.)

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  1. And I continue to learn from a wonderful girl who's 1/2 my age!!! loved this post

  2. This post was absolutely beautiful. I feel I need to print it out and put next to my desk to remind me to "see" .....create through my spirit.


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