It’s a story I’ve heard many times before. Someone, typically a well-established adult, begins to take up some art form—maybe playing with watercolors or learning to play an instrument—and in the process, they begin to discover a part of who they are that they had forgotten about themselves. As they delve into their latent artistic predispositions, they begin to see themselves differently—as a creative being, as an artist. And as they do so, they discover a simple but profound knowledge of themselves, an intrinsic identity unlocked in the depths of their soul. They are wonderfully made in the image of a Creative God.
A great story to be sure. And as I said, one I’ve heard many, many times. Except this time, it’s happening to my wife.
Now Debbie and I have been married an amazing 25 years. Thankfully, we are very compatible in a hundred different ways, and love and life seem to mesh easily between the two of us. But one of the things we’ve never had in common is the arts. She has never considered herself an artist—though she even read my book! She shies away from the stage and any limelight, she won’t sing in front of me, She’ll only dance with me at weddings, and she wouldn’t step anywhere near an easel or a musical instrument.
But lately something very different has been happening. A few months ago, she decided to take a class in Creative Art Journaling from a wonderful local art teacher and life coach, Sherry Meneley. And suddenly she has become this mixed media maniac.
I’ll come home, and the entire house—kitchen counters, dining table, desk and easel—will be covered in plastic and art supplies. Papers, paintbrushes, and pigments. Glues and bottles of gesso and other odd concoctions. Custom stamps and colored pencils and other art tools I don’t know the names of. And as I walk into the room, I’ll find Debbie sitting on her stool, pensively mulling over a large watercolor matte, concentrating madly, the handled tip of a paintbrush pinched loosely in her mouth.
She’ll greet me with a smile, then with a certain vexing coyness, ask me, “Want to see my art journal?” Turning the pages slowly, she will offer a few caveats and invite a few compliments. In response, I will gush sincerely over her work, a dazzling splash of colors and textures and experiments and emotions. And somewhere in that moment, I will recognize the simple satisfaction that twinkles in her eyes as she explains and elucidates every page. Because as an artist, I know what that satisfaction feels like. God made us to feel that exact emotion when we create. And I am so gratified that she is experiencing it too.
All four of our children see themselves as artists in one shape or form—guitarists, painters, drummers, harpists, sculptors, actors, filmmakers, writers. So our household is a pretty creative place. And now we can add Mom to that mix.
[Note: For the record, Debbie approved this blog. And she created these photos too.]