We semi-circle the supplies around us at the table — newspaper, paper towel, the empty, rinsed out salsa jar filled with clean water. Brushes, white paper.
We are going to paint.
And they start out doing their own thing, and then their eyes wander over to my paper, and they stop.
They set their brushes down on the table, defeated.
They compared, and their nascent creativity has been hindered by my years of learning and experience in their young eyes.
And I understand.
I have long watched those artists who could sway the paint across the canvas, their entire arm set free in abstract abandon, and make it a masterpiece.
My brush, it is rigid. Like a pencil, I grip it and find that it won’t flow free, but is confined by the lines in my mind. My art is calculated, detailed, measured.
They want to do the same.
But I want them to see that their crooked lines and their slanted horizons and their lop-sided portraits are art, too.
And God, He doesn’t only paint inside the lines.
He does all of the above.
He paints with the symmetry of the evergreen, and with the wild abandon of the climbing ivy, like grace spreading across the wall of a hardened heart.
And both are alive.
He paints with the muted mist of impressionists and the bold sunsets of expressionists.
And both are beautiful.
So I try to get them to see that they shouldn’t try to be like me, or paint how I paint.
They should try to be like Him.
Because He makes them alive and beautiful.