This is the last of 7 blogs on releasing your creative potential.
If our chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever, then the purpose of our art, and our life as an artist, is to enjoy God.
Glorifying God and enjoying him. One leads to the other. This doesn’t mean that every moment of our artistic life is a sugar high. Enjoying God is the slow, steady build-up of knowing that being in his arms is the right place to be.
Creating art knits our heart to God. This reality is certainly one of the reasons that creativity is a spiritual battle. This battle, this struggle, manifests itself in a variety of ways, many of which creatives are quite familiar with. Continue reading “How will You Live as an Artist in God’s Presence?”
The process of creativity can be daunting. There’s so much raw material to choose from, and things can get complicated fairly quickly.
In music, for instance, there is a near infinite selection of note combinations, melodies, harmonies, rhythms, counter and polyrhythms. How’s it even possible to be creative under such circumstances?
For Bill Bruford, the answer is listening to the space between the notes. Bruford was the drummer for Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks, and numerous other bands and projects.
Continue reading “What’s Your Creative Lever?”
The problem with gifts is we always want more.
We seem to be wired this way from an early age. Even if we got the gift we wanted for our birthday, it wasn’t too long until we wanted the next thing.
Then we grow up, and we think we’re beyond this. Yet, every gift we receives seems to have a built-in time limit, an expiration date past which we receive increasingly diminished amounts of joy.
The gifts of good relationships and friendships hold up better, but how often do we expect more from our relationships? No matter how much is given, it’s never quite enough. Continue reading “From an Infinite Well”
Does God care about your artwork?
Everyone expresses themselves creatively. It can’t be helped. It’s one of the things we’re born to do. It’s part of what the Bible refers to when it says we’re made in God’s image. (Genesis 1:26.)
An essential part of God’s nature is that, beyond all possible imagination of abundance and diversity, he’s creative (Genesis 1:1). We reflect that part of his nature in the abundance and diversity of our art, music, movies, etc. The difference is, God creates out of nothing. We, at best, “borrow” any material we can find and repurpose it. As Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
Continue reading “Does God Care about Your Artwork?”
An idol is anything you place above God. More specifically, anything you love more than God.
It’s the thing you dream about, fixate on, want to have. It’s the thing that captivates you.
The movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, depicted this perfectly.
Agents of Nazi Germany are attempting to locate and control the biblical ark of the covenant. In the movie, the ark represents a direct connection to God and thus power over others. That’s the first idol – the insatiable lust for power – and it is personified by the German character, Major Arnold Toht.
Continue reading “How Idols Melt Your Face Off”
As artists, we sometimes wrestle with the question of volume: how many CD’s to press, how many books to print, etc.
I’d like to share a couple of encouragements on the difference between artistic output and publishing volume.
The best way to think of it is to always aim for more creativity and output, but be very restrained and measured in your publishing volume.
Continue reading “Always More, and Less is Best”
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
In the Old Testament book of 1 Chronicles, chapter 16, just after the ark of the covenant was restored in Israel, King David gave to Asaph and his fellow musicians a song of thanks to the Lord. Maybe Asaph helped write the music, maybe the musicians simply performed what was given them by David, but in any case it’s a beautiful psalm of praise.
Verse 34 says, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
This phrase, “Give thanks to…” is repeated over and over in the life of Israel. Continue reading “Take Your Place in Line”
Ever have money thrown at you? Israel did, as they left Egypt…
Exodus 12:35-36 (ESV) 35 The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. 36 And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
I’m sure the clothing helped as they went into the desert.
The silver and gold, however, what became of that?
What becomes of the gifts the Lord has given you? How do you steward over the things God has graciously placed in your hands? Not just money – your time, your personality, your art?
It’s probably bad enough that for most of us, our gut reaction to the things we have or the artists we are, is that it’s ours, and we do with these things as we please.
But sometimes it gets worse.
Continue reading “Follow the Gold”
Stephen R. Covey helped bring consciousness to the concept of Abundance and Scarcity in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Regarding Scarcity, Covey said, “The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit – even with those who help in the production. They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the successes of other people – even, and sometimes especially, members of their own family or close friends and associates. It’s almost as if something is being taken from them when someone else receives special recognition or windfall gain or has remarkable success or achievement.
Although they may verbally express happiness for others’ success, inwardly they are eating their hearts out. Their sense of worth comes from being compared, and someone else’s success, to some degree, means their failure.”
In contrast, here are Covey’s thoughts on Abundance, “The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives and creativity. Continue reading “Abundance and The Voice”
Melodies are what make songs pop. Melodies give life and vibrancy. Melody make music memorable.
This could be seen as bad news for chord progressions. Melody (and its intimate friend harmony) are the glitz and glamour of song-writing.
Chord progressions, though, should not be taken for granted. They form the structure on which melody plays. Notes without a chord progression underneath are just melody. With a chord progression, they’re a song. Continue reading “Chord Progressions, Melodies, and Mountains”