This video answers with the now well-known Biblical point that since God is creative and made mankind in his image – then yes, each human is creative. While this video is good news for artists who are Christian, they are the ‘usual suspects’ type of fine arts – when you ask many people if they are creative they reply “I’m no Picasso.” But that was not the question. The question is not if you are a painter – it is if you are creative.
For the less-obviously artistic, Creativity can be (amongst almost infinite varieties) giving thoughtful gifts, creating peace, making a good home, gathering a group of friends and keeping everyone in contact although they’re widely different personalities, it can be starting a business, cooking well, making a tiny amount of money stretch to feed and clothe a family, having a baby and envisioning a life for them, can be mentoring someone younger when you see the potential in them, it can be wisdom or using colour well, writing which conveys emotion and truth, making others feel good about themselves…….
Creativity creates an atmosphere which is better or ‘asks the more beautiful question’.
Although everyone is creative, there are different levels of concentration or focus. For example, writing.
Private: You can journal daily – this helps you think.
Personal: Then you can write to others – this stretches the field of influence of your words. You are now writing for an audience. You may get some articles or poems published without receiving payment. You write with consideration. What themes matter to your intended audience? You have to consider basic skills of editing, putting words together so that other people can follow your line of thinking. You are reading other people’s writing, and responding to it – gradually, you join the community of writers. You can recognise good or poor writing with others and then gradually in your own work.
Public: You develop your craft of writing (poetry, scriptwriting, articles) to such a level that people who don’t personally know you will make sure they’re in the room to hear, or pay for a piece of paper with your words on it.
Artistry is intentionally practicing your creative talent, studying it, learning, collecting necessary tools and working repeatedly until it becomes more natural to make in that medium, with those tools. In the process of doing this, the truly gifted will develop their own, distinctive styles and techniques.
A problem with Christian Art
There is a book whose very title sums up the problem: “A profound weakness: Christians and Kitsch” by Betty Spackman.
This weakness stems from thinking that because you feel you have an idea from God, therefore however you express it, it is perfect. Those untrained in any branch of art will just use the obvious metaphor, in unthought palettes and materials, inexpertly and expect others to think it is perfect; whereas the trained artist/writer will receive the idea or message and then consider how to express it best, possibly trying out different variations on a theme. The cliche or Kitsch does not make the viewer think, it is hackneyed and lazy, not inviting us into wonder or further, deeper thought. Whereas the artist thinks how to express in a new way, not just a repeated image from the past, and this helps those coming to it, to see with fresh eyes. (Often the first thoughts for how to represent will be the cliches – it takes longer to think through something else.)
If you imagine someone who has begun writing poems recently, in their journal – they are private writers. But then when they feel they’ve been inspired by God and try to instantly become public writers – there is a lack of talent and originality. There is no skill with rhyme or rhythm, somehow the words say nothing we haven’t met before on a greeting card. Where there is an unwillingness to learn or consider great work by others, the original gift is not developed. It’s like a gardener who has been gifted packets of seed by an expert gardener going around, twenty years later, with the packets of seed still unsown, trying to enter them for the Royal Horticultural Garden Show at Chelsea as a finished garden. The work of sowing, cultivating, raising, planting and maintenance has been ignored.
Consider if other people keep telling you that you have a gift for something – something which seems quite natural to you. It may well be worth considering looking for great exponents of that talent, developing your skill further – in case that creativity is not just for you, your friends and family to enjoy – but is for others, further afield.
Thank you to Alabaster Co for making this video with beauty.
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