The Art of Creation: Painting with Love
I’m no artist. I’ll be the first to admit that. There was a glimmer of hope for my artistic future once upon a time in a high school art class, then I realized that “real” artists didn’t use paint by number schemes for their latest creations. Unfortunately for me, the numbers were a necessity! I say this jokingly, but with a deep degree of sincerity as well. The natural ability to draw, paint, or anything remotely in that world escaped me from birth. Not only that, but it was never a particular passion that I possessed. Some might say this is because I never fully invested my time into developing my ability, and that might be true, but in any case I moved on quickly from the idea of myself as a painter, or artist of any type for that matter.
Logic, and analytical thinking were my fortes. I felt most comfortable in conversations about the black and white, not the abstract. The exact. The things, or areas of life where “gray” didn’t exist. Of course, as most people do I grew into an understanding that there are very few areas of life that are actually black or white with no shades of ambiguity. After all, living is to deal with the complexity of human behavior, emotion and thought. When confronted with such things we start to realize just how unique we each are. Even those who think most like us, speak most like us, or believe most like us are bound to differ from us in a myriad of ways.
Isn’t that art after all? Being able to capture the uniqueness of a moment, an emotion, a being in order to inspire or move another? This is exactly what Brian Peterson is doing with his non-profit startup Faces of Santa Anna (Learn more here). In our recent podcast with Brian (Listen Here), we learned that seeing the beauty and uniqueness of each person is exactly what Faces of Santa Anna is all about. He’s attempting to capture the joys and the pains of a person’s life journey through the image of their face, and he does it well!
I have a great friend who is a naturally gifted artist, and he amazes me anew with each creation. He once told me, “I feel like all we artists are really doing is trying to recreate, as life like as possible, what God has already created. That’s the journey of an artist. Constantly being faced with the reminder that God did it better.” Rather you agree with the whole of his statement or not, it does raise an interesting topic. In the creating, in the artistry, aren’t we attempting to become more and more like God? After all, everything we see, hear or touch that might bring some level of inspiration was created by him in the first place. See, I told you I think to think logically!
It’s a similar understanding that I took from our conversation with Brian Peterson. He’s taking what God has already created, and re-presenting that in a way that might help us to take a deeper look, and see beyond the mundane of everyday. We see these incredible creations every single day, and sometimes I fear that we walk past the most amazing pieces of art without a second thought to their beauty. You know, the living, breathing pieces that walk right past you. Faces of Santa Anna is helping open our minds, yet again, to the new creation that happens in the Kingdom of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
With vibrant colors, and a renewed sense of purpose, Brian Peterson is helping to open our eyes to what the new creation can actually look like. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the spiritual meaning of our latest theology, that we can easily look past the “good theology” happening right in front of us. This new liturgy, the work of the people, that we’re seeing from Faces of Santa Anna should serve to inspire each of us to pick up our brushes again (so to speak), and begin to paint the picture of life that’s right in front of us. Sure, we may not all be artists like Brian, but we can all help create something new by simply loving the beautiful art that’s in front of us each and every day. In the words of Bob Goff, author of Love Does, “Love God, love people, and do stuff.” Don’t wait for the future, because the Kingdom of Heaven is now, and the new creation is all around us.