Technical Insights from “Not Far from Home” #14

Discouragement and “Forgiven”

Have you ever had a day when you were not sure that what you were doing had any meaning?  Or had the feeling that in light of all the world events, this practice of moving colored mud around a canvas may be overwhelmingly trivial.

I was having “one of those days” when I began this work, “Forgiven”.  I am grateful to have been given the energy to push through the discouragement of the moment, because as I began the preliminary drawing on the canvas and the charcoal followed the line of her skull, I was immediately exhilarated with a sense that I was exactly where I needed to be, doing precisely what I had been made for.  The simple act of mimicking the rhythmic and mathematical line of this Egyptian woman’s head created such a sensation…amazing.  I truly believe our Creator had this reaction in mind when our world was knit together. (Not just for me specifically or for artists in general, but for all who respond to His calling, whatever it may be).  For me, this changes everything.

For me it means that investing my time to study beauty and recording it for others to see in a fresh way has tremendous meaning.  This may be an obvious no-brainer to most, but for some reason I need to be reminded of this from time to time.

Discouragement can be a wicked taskmaster, but I find that if when facing it, I simply put myself in the position to be inspired, it will surely dissipate.  And what exactly do I mean by “putting myself in the position to be inspired”. For me, it is simply hiring a model and watching the beauty unfold as the light falls upon it.  Unfortunately, left to my own devices, this does not always happen on its own as it seems at times I would rather mope than be fruitful.  Fortunately, my wife Jennifer then gently reminds me to hire a model and allow myself to be moved… (thanks Jen).

On this week of Thanksgiving in America, among many other things, I am grateful to our Maker for the inspirations I have received and for His endless mercy and undeserved grace as I stumble my way through this life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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5 responses to “Technical Insights from “Not Far from Home” #14

  • Kathleen Wiley

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  • Laila Garza

    I didn’t find it at all surprising that you felt discouraged as you began this work. I like how you describe being an artist as a calling. We were given our talents from the Lord and called on to use them. Not everyone responds to that call. But when we use our gift in a way that will bring others to Christ, as this one will, Satan will do his best to fill us with doubt and discouragement. He hates to see artwork (or anything) that brings the Spirit into peoples lives. He wants to keep us in darkness and without a hope in Christ. I love how you describe that you worked through it and then came an amazing, uplifting feeling from the Lord, confirming His approval of you, as His chosen messenger of the power of His forgiveness. Satan makes us feel we are of no worth but the Lord makes us know we are of infinite worth.
    Thank you so much, Daniel, for sharing this personal experience that we can learn so much from

  • Kim

    Well said. There were so many “quotable quotes” in your posting that ring very true in my life, too. I cannot paint unless I pray through it; I cannot enjoy painting unless the subject is chosen for me by God. I so appreciated Laila’s comment, too.

  • Tricia Ratliff

    Daniel,
    Thank you so much for posting this. Yes … I often struggle with “the feeling that in light of all the world events, this practice of moving colored mud around a canvas may be overwhelmingly trivial.” So, reading your post is an encouragement that other painters ask this same question and take the risk that there is value in this wonderfully endless pursuit. We hope even the simple practice sketches and still life paintings are leading up to the opportunity to create something meaningful, something lasting so that it might move others after we are gone. Your painting was certainly worth it … a beautiful and meaningful depiction of a moment that resonates so deeply with women (and men) who are thankful to be forgiven.

  • Jay Fullmer

    I love this story but until your painting I had not found an image that celebrated it in a way that I responded to. Thank you for your vision. I am not sure if you respond to these posts but if you do, can you tell me about he two versions of this pieces I’ve seen online. One appears to be the “full” painting and the one posted here seems to be the close up. Did you change the composition from a larger piece?

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