Lessons From My Favorite Artist

Growing up I did a lot of projects. My parents, grandparents and even my Aunt made things we called miniatures. They were just little wooden replicas of some of our favorite American nick-nacks like bluebell ice cream, old fashion school desks, pencil holders, stumps with a tiny hatchet through the middle with the words gone hunting glued across it.

My family was always painting one of these little jewels for a wholesaler who would then sell them to stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. Wax paper would be laid out in sheets across every table in the house with 12 dozen “pencils” drying before being glued to their “holder”.

So I would often set up my own desk and make my own miniatures with whatever paint and supplies I had.

We were also the family who made most of our home decorations and gifts for holidays and birthdays. My mom would make pillows for family members, often ironing on a favorite picture and adding fun fringe around the edges.

I remember she painted our bar stools to go with the Southwest flare we had in that room. She also painted a picture of dogwood trees for my grandparent’s motor home so they’d always have a slice of home wherever they traveled.

I too caught onto this trend – silently that is. I would dabble in paints and projects, wanting to make masterpieces too, yet vowing to buy my gifts when I grew up! (Not sure how well that worked!)

There’s one thing I learned about art – it can be frustrating, especially if you want to get it perfect. Perfection can happen in accounting – maybe – but not in the art room!

Just when you get something just the way you want it, someone bumps you on the arm and your final brush stroke smears across the whole picture. Or as you get up the paint spills and the color you carefully blended is now a watercolor brown.

Maybe that’s why I like words. They seem to stay on the page and I can place them just right, as long as the computer doesn’t crash!

But I’ve learned, that’s just the art of art. The key is learning how fix the smudge by working with it, not against it. And my mom was (still is!) a master at that!

She taught art to 6-12 graders at the school I attended. I watched and heard endless stories of weeping children bringing their messed up pieces to Mrs. Kuster as a last ditch effort before chunking it in the trash can.

It never failed. She could fix anything.

She didn’t always erase the “wrong” lines we didn’t like, she just had an eye to incorporate what we saw as mess ups into something totally different. You just had to be willing to go a different direction than the original plan.

Now as an adult and a mom myself I see so much of life in that example. There have been times someone bumped my arm in mid stroke or I spilled water all over my work, blurring the attention to detail I just spent hours perfecting. And sometimes, I’ve intentionally attempted a drawing that didn’t turn out looking like the picture –at all – and I felt like I ruined the whole thing.

I forget God is the Master Artist and Creator. I can never mess something up beyond His repair. He owns the pattern and all the materials necessary to turn my mess into a masterpiece. It may not look like what I had first envisioned or planned but if I’ll let go of my desire to control the outcome I’ll see it’s quite beautiful in the end.

I worried my school decision would be this black smear line that would never blend in with the other colors. I’ve written a book about all my failures and shame and I can easily think, Oh, if I hadn’t done that, life would’ve been better – this picture would’ve looked better.

But the truth is, if I hadn’t done that I would’ve done something else. And, if I hadn’t done that, I would have missed how God used it – how He blended the colors together in His grace.

True grace means the Master Artist takes a painting from His frustrated, angry, hurt child – a painting she thinks is ruined – and in time He fixes it, Redeems it and ultimately Restores it better than it was before.

He doesn’t yank our painting from our hand and scold us, telling us how stupid we are and that He can’t believe we did that again.

No. He asks, “Can I have that? Will you trust me with it and step back?”

One look at the sunrises and Rocky Mountains tells me I can trust His art work!

I love you mom. Thank you for teaching me about the Master Artist through your art work!

This post is apart of a series called 31 stories of hope for every homeschooler. To see the entire series, click HERE


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