I am slowly working on becoming a better artist. And I'm really enjoying it because it's more of an outlet than anything else. This quote essentially sums up everything: “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”
The picture above shows some of the process I go through while painting. This painting in particular is of Worcester Cathedral, which I painted for my roommate Alex's birthday. A fellow anglophile, she had visited it when she went to England earlier this summer. It's also a testament to our love of Worcestershire sauce (best eaten on a piece of Welsh rarebit ((basically toasted bread with mustard and cheese melted on top))). Its place of origin the same as this cathedral. Not to mention, it was an excuse to paint a typical scene from the most beautiful country in the world.
Painting is just one of the artistic talents I'm striving to develop. The other is temporarily on hold until fall semester. And I'm dying to get back into it! It's a bit embarrassing but 80% of the decision of where to live this last year of college was made by how close I could get to the building with the ceramics studio. And I literally ended up in the closest place to it...right across the street. Thankfully, truly thankfully, I ended up with at least one awesome roommate I know I love (Shelby) and a huge top-loft bedroom...in a very nice complex, which I got a serious discount on. Benefits of working in the BYU off-campus housing office, I think.
I'm so excited to get my hands back into that clay and make things that are me. I'm freakishly attached to that studio. It's the only thing that saved me from going insane last year while taking some of the hardest classes of my major. It's one of those places that always makes me happy when I'm there, no matter my mood beforehand...it easily changes into nothing but a content sense of calm and genuine happiness. This year will be especially interesting because I'll be the only non-Visual Arts Studio major in the class. I was recommended by my previous ceramics professor to take the higher level/majors only class because she saw, quote: "skill and a unique vision" in me. And honestly, when it comes to creating art...I am not going to shy away. I may not be extremely talented but I am determined to create and enjoy it anyways.
My determination to do so only grew when I read THIS fantastic article by Neal A. Maxwell on how we should cultivate our artistic talents. In the article he talks about how we shouldn't compare ourselves to other people. Everyone is on their own timing and it is pointless and wrong to envy and be discouraged by people who we consider to be much better than us or that are farther along than we are. We all start at the beginning at some point. I loved how he explained that each time we create something, we are creating something that has never been before. We are unique and no painting has ever been painted in the exact way that you painted it, no piece of pottery had been thrown and fired the same. When we use the talents that God gave us, we are unique in our expression of it. It is similar to the way that God created US and made each of us unique. We emulate God when we cultivate our talents and we also glorify Him.
Elder Maxwell also promises that: "The greater our sensitivity to the Spirit, the greater our response to beauty, grace, and truth in all their forms as these exist about us. Our righteousness opens us up like a blossoming flower to both detail and immensity. Sin, on the other hand, closes us down. It scalds the taste buds of the soul."
This is so beautiful. I've always thought I had an appreciation for the small, lovely things around me but I never realized that I could heighten my senses and enjoyment even MORE through the Spirit. This is certainly one of the most wonderful promises I have heard pertaining to making our lives more beautiful, happy, and full.