the mess and the beauty: life & art

January 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

I think my little sister is now a bit less deprived on the art front.

No one in my family is particularly talented in traditional art.  We’re all very good at coloring.  And Dad can draw pretty good maps and excellent straight lines. 

We’ve got quite the artistic resume.

But we encourage the Small One in arts and crafts, and she has lots of art supplies.  Just not real paints.  We have the “no mess” watercolors that you use a little marker with, and the “no mess” paints that only show up on special paper.  (Can you tell Mom doesn’t really like messes?)

So today I decided it was high time we make a mess, with real paints, and learn that Artistic Messes Can Be Good. 

I have three things to say about that project.  One, I make a bigger mess than a five-year-old.  We covered the table and ourselves, and I still managed to get paint on my hands, arms, shirt (under the smock I was wearing…but it did come out), and the table.  Oops.  In my defense, I wasn’t expecting the paint tube to squirt sideways.  Second, the painting was thankfully a big hit.  And third, my project was a lot better in my head. 

Due to my sub-par drawing skills, I find that when I’m supposed to be artistic and creative (and I can’t use stamps, stencils, or pretty scrapbook paper), I’m still a word artist.  I just write cool words in cool colors and see what happens.  So I wanted to do an artsy word project based around my Little Words for 2011, but quickly realized that the flimsy paintbrushes we have are terrible for writing.  I even tried both ends.

We didn’t exactly create A Thing of Beauty And A Joy Forever, and we did make a mess – but it was worthwhile and quite fun. 

And it got me thinking about how messes and beauty are so connected.  I can’t do anything crafty or pretty without making a huge mess.  And in life….I don’t think we can see the really beautiful parts unless we’re willing to first dive into the mess and brokenness of lives and hurts and struggles and a person’s past.  

Flowers are somehow more beautiful when they spring up in the midst of poverty than in an elegant garden.  So too is the beauty in a person more beautiful when you have walked through the hard spots together and you know them more deeply. 

But what does it look like to truly understand someone and where they are coming from if your experiences were completely different?  I meet people and I hear pieces of a story, and I simply can’t imagine what they’ve been through.  And I’m afraid I come across as having it all together, although I definitely don’t, because I simply haven’t experienced those kinds of things. 

I want to be able to know them honestly, to walk through the mess and the beauty.  But sometimes, I’m just not sure how to get there or what it looks like. 

Beauty and brokenness coexist, and usually they’re intertwined.  And that’s a very awkward paradox.


Entry filed under: art, beauty.

one little word 2011 and the clock strikes midnight: whisked back to another world

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My One Little Word 2011

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