A sketchbook Artists Creed

Wednesday night is when our students (youth) meets and I have been helping out as one of the leaders. TJ, the youth pastor brought up making pledges. We all had to rise to our feet to say the pledge allegiance to the flag, staring at an American flag shown on an overhead projector around 10 students rose to her feet, put their right-hand on our heart and recited that pledge we all know and love (well at least here in America). He segmented this into the Apostle’s creed (before the majority of people knew how to read and write this broke down the major points of Christianity). His point was to showcase the values of our Faith. To make it as real to them as the pledge they say every morning.

As I sat in a local StarBucks this prayer came to me and I like to think of it as a sort of creed for myself.

The sketch artist’s prayer

When I go out to draw let me look at what is unique in the people and places I see. Not to fall back on old stereotypes. May I see the good in what you made. Draw attention to the needy and add something of value with my pen.

It is short and sweet. Though really that’s all you need. I like to think of it as something to get me in the mindset, opening myself up to what I might encounter. That’s what I like about sketching out there!

I was hunched over a tiny light wooden square table, sipping iced coffee and sketching people that piled in and out of the coffee shop.”What a wonderful life I have” raced through my head as I did what I was created to do.

Sketch of young woman and man looking at a laptop

I once was jealous of people with 9-to-5 jobs and big fancy houses. “Man they have the life!” I thought.

As (age)40, inches its way ever closer (currently I’m 38) I couldn’t help but think of the things I didn’t have. No car, no house, no little family of my very own. Where was my American dream?

Life is fickle and always in flux, more so today than ever before. Questions are being raised about what us humans should be doing with our time and what’s truly important. Questions that were just assumed ‘how life is’ in years past.

Sketch of woman in big oval glasses

Having to get up each and everyday to give meaning to my own existence has been a blessing. I feel these past five years have given me a work ethic that I achieved without the aid of bosses, managers and/or leads. Every day, rain or shine, I get up and do what I do best; draw. I have been doing this, religiously. The Lord has blessed me with a style of my own and an artistic language to express myself with. Social media made it possible for me to put these drawings into the world and bless people.

Sketch of man in NASA Cap.

Life is filled with surprises but you need to leave the studio to see it. I am able to react to what I see and experience in real time. My goal is to capture what I see, that glimmer of life, before it vanishes for eternity. This is my version of being in the zone. I have laser vision and I just want to get it down. If I wasn’t open and receptive to see what God wanted me to see I would have missed it.

To do that we need to be still and attentive. The goal is to hear the things God hears and see what He sees. The obstacles are many in our postmodern world.

We, all humans, are creatures of habit and I think us artists are even more so. Lots of smart people are, that’s how we’re able to get so much done. We find quick and easy patterns to help us man our every day. Holy cow, our cell phones have made this even easier. We order things online, text someone ‘ happy birthday :) ‘, and write that very important paper all from the convenience of a smart phone.

Though people still go to the coffee shop. They could do that at home, make their own coffee and drink it. Though they decide to come and sit, usually alone though occasionally with a friend. Young Hipster College Students to old burly Construction Workers value the shared space. There is something magical about being outside our tightly controlled studios and into a collective world that can through odd balls and unexpected opportunities our way.

Here I am, because I don’t have a job and I can waste my time sitting and listening. It is said God speaks in a still small voice, he is looking for us to listen. He is out there in the coffee shops, restaurants, department stores, movie theaters, bike trails, hair salons, bars, and every other Highway and byway. The question is; do you know where to look?