Living at the convergence of faith and art.

Planning: Overrated!

New Handpainted PaperI’ll show my hand here at the outset; I’m not against planning.  I’m against my former anal-retentive, hyper-controlling methods of getting creative things done.  Can you imagine how much of my own art-making I’ve stifled simply because I’ve “planned” what I’m going to make down to the n-th degree?

At the gallery (ArtFx) last Friday evening I got to speak with people about my work.  Many were engaged by the power of the colors.  Others were taken by the impression of movement.  Some of them moved in closer and mentally dissected the work wondering how it was made.

“How’d you do this?,” they’d ask.  Do you sit down and plan what you’re going to do?”

“No,” I’d tell them. “It’s all an act of faith.  I trust my instincts and feel my way forward not knowing what I’m going to get.”

That’s a really big change for me in the last few years because it hasn’t always been like this.  Up until recently I’d plan everything trusting entirely in the plan and the planning process itself.  What I was doing was completely left-braining a right-brain process.  I was rationalizing, naming, labeling, and categorizing the work, all the while thinking that something creative would emerge from the process.  I was a really tight person.  You would not have wanted to spend much time around me.  Heck, I didn’t even like being around me back then.

For me it was a control issue.  Brought about by the way I was raised, my hot-button was having control of my life taken from me.  How I was raised; who I had become through that horrid process had imposed itself upon my art-making.  It was killing me.

What I’ve recently discovered in the growth out of that tight, closed thinking is another dimension to the convergence of faith and art.  It’s one thing to be a faith-driven artist; making art in the company of the Lord.  It’s another to believe not only in God the Father through His Son, Jesus, but to believe in the creative process from within that milieu.

Glue-Up PressIn the nourishing and nurturing environment of faith in God, I am asked to trust, to surrender, and to really believe in what I do not yet see on the panel.  I am asked to simply choose colors, forms, and movement as He and I “dance” in the studio.  And, I say it again, every single time I open the gluing press the next morning, it’s all-ways a surprise.  I am always amazed at what was made even though I was present for every moment of the making.

I don’t plan anymore.  These days I simply gather, ruminate, and respond.  My blood pressure is almost ten-points lower.  My joy is high and growing daily.  And my faith and confidence in this additional convergence of faith and art is an endless exploration of discovery.

In the end that’s what I told folks at the gallery about the art I make; that it’s all-ways an act of faith, and a process of discovery.  And you know, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


In the studio, what does faith look like for you?  Where do you find convergences of faith & art?  How does that work for you and your own art practice?


6 responses

  1. Sue Beckman

    You so nailed this Lew! Art & Faith….
    We need to get it together, and let God do all the rest and trust.

    January 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    • Lew

      Thank you Sue. This faith thing constantly amazes me because it’s so counter-intuitive; the more we let go and trust the deeper and richer the result.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm

  2. if i don’t have a plan i have an anxiety attack. i thought i was getting better. DEFINITELY not. anyway like what you had to say. don’t make fun of my pathetic excuse for a “page” i don’t have this blogging thing down yet NOR do i have artistic ability.

    January 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    • Lew

      Tasha, thank you for stopping by.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:28 pm

  3. That is pretty amazing! I have been discovering that there’s a lot to be said and had from letting one’s art (and work, even) be an act of faith.

    January 9, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    • Lew

      Enjoy the journey of discovery!

      January 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm