Growing Up With Art

OK, I’m writing something for the church newspaper, and my assignment was to write about how growing up in a family of artists affected me and my faith.  This is what I have so far, and if anyone feels like giving me feedback (in the next 24 hours) I’d love honest feedback!  Obviously, it’s not finished, if you look at what’s in brackets!  I seem to have hit a wall in writing so I’ll try again tomorrow.

“Artist” is an incredibly emotionally loaded word for me.  Art does not come naturally to me like some might think it would.  [I need something else here, I think]

My mother’s family is made up completely of artists.  We have poets, painters, sculptors, printmakers, musicians, photographers, and dancers.  There are abstract artists, portrait artists, and landscape artists.  Some had formal training and others just had it come naturally to them.  Emails are sent around to family members about gigs people are playing, art shows coming up, photography blogs, and poetry prizes.

I don’t fit into this mold as well as most of my family members, since I’m one of the few non-professional artists.  I like words and facts. I like words to mean what they’re supposed to mean and things to be described as they are.

I spent a lot of my childhood around artists, with all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful things that come along with that.  I was always around oil paint, turpentine, and wood shavings, and can vividly remember each of those odors.  Art and artists had strong positive and negative effects on me.  I learned to paint when I was about eight years old and my grandfather decided that one hour of art every other Wednesday at school wasn’t enough, so he took me into his oil painting studio and let me use his supplies.  I learned to see beauty – in art, in nature, in faces, in colors, and even just in shapes – a gift that I think adds a great deal to my life.

The stereotype of the tormented artist has a lot of truth in it, however, and there were also many negative effects on my life.  Many of these artists in my family had substance abuse issues or mental illness.  Depression abounded.  Art was a way to disappear – people could, for a short period of time, erase themselves and offer a beautiful creation in the place of their frenetic thoughts, sorry, and low self-worth. Even as a child, I was confused about this.

[connecting these two paragraphs]

Somehow, I have not only always believed in God, but I’ve always known that I was being taken care of.  I’ve been able to use art to remind me of God’s faithfulness, and of the fact that I am redeemed.  At times I have wished that I could not believe – when I’m angry or disappointed in God.  For some reason, I can’t not believe

[something about experiencing God through art]


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