Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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It has been way too long since my post at Thanksgiving, and way, way too long before that one.  I thank everyone who does look at my work, and want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.  I pray it is full of blessings bestowed upon you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  God bless you all and remember to stay safe this holiday weekend!

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Made to Create

As artists, musicians and other creatives, we often question ourselves and our abilities.  We listen to the voice of the one who is against us and after a while we begin to believe the lie:  “What difference does my art really make?”  I create it, then what?  Even if it sells, it doesn’t change anything.  That is where as creatives and believers we are wrong.  Dead wrong.

Last month along with 20 to 30 other artists, I attended the ‘Made To Create’ workshop given by Deborah Gall of Abide Studio Ministries and hosted by Grace Chapel in Franklin, TN.  It was a wonderful time of worship and learning, all while giving glory to God the Father.

Deborah is completely in touch with God and listening to and doing His word.  She is passionate about reinforcing to the creative person the fact that we as artists were made to create, its in our genes and we are to go about it with purpose, passion, and as artistic warriors.

Made to Create, Denny Martindale,
One of the exercises at the Made to Create workshop

Taking us through a series of exercises over the course of the day, Deborah revealed how the scriptures not only give affirmation to craftsmen, but also command us to use the artistic gifts the Creator has given us to further His kingdom.  She offered scriptures, book references, as well as break out sessions for artists to worship and create in whatever form they desired.  Many painted, some played instruments and/or sang, while still others wrote poetry or in their journals, while another even danced.

Made to Create, Denny Martindale
One of the breakout sessions of free artistic worship

By the end of the day, each of us was filled with the Holy Spirit and a renewed sense of purpose for our art and life itself,.  We were deemed ‘artistic warriors’, and charged with Deborah’s mantra, “If you want to change a culture, change it’s art”.  Sometimes just hearing truth to the fact we are on the right path helps us to take the first steps to making change happen.  Thank you Deborah!

Faith and Perseverance

Over the past few years, I have seen my ability as an artist grow, as well as my portrait business itself.  Then, 2008/2009 happened.  Most of the artists I know saw a dramatic tumble in their business.  Commissions dropped to very low levels, so I took my second job, as a server in a restaurant.  I do enjoy it, although not as much as painting for hours at a time.  I am forced to watch the clock more now when I do paint, as I have a tendency to get lost and forget time even exists.  I have had a problem over the past year, questioning whether I should remain serious about my art, will business pick back up, and, at times, is my art any good?  (this would fall under the “beauty is in the eye of the beholder department, I ‘m sure)

    Our talents are gifts from our Creator, and the enemy is constantly trying to control us, especially with our thoughts.  If he can make us think we are not good at our craft, that it is not worth anything, that we will never succeed, then he feels he has won.  However, if we look at what we can accomplish, through painting a portrait for a mother of her daughter who has passed away unexpectedly,  or the pet that really was man’s best friend, we can see that there is more to it than “business”, and it may be a huge blessing to the recipient.   These moments make creating art most enjoyable.

      We must overcome these times of doubt, and the best way is to have faith and perseverance.  Faith that business will pick up, faith that our work is good, and faith that the Lord gave us this talent to use for His glory, whether it is obvious to us or not.  perseverance that we can overcome these hurdles, perseverance when someone makes a snide or hurtful remark in regards to our talent, and perseverance when it feels like everything is against us to succeed in just performing the talent we have been blessed with. 

     I have had to work over the past year on both faith and perseverence in many aspects of life.  I am also beginning to see the fruits of it all.  Commissions are starting to come in again.  I am able to put the poor thoughts out in the compost pile.  I have been able to enjoy painting, instead of feeling rushed or behind, even though I am not.  Plus, if someone does not care for my art, that is alright too.

      Thank the Lord for His mercy and grace, and for giving us the ability to create art and to have a passion for the creative process!