Circles and straight lines.
So simple, but the foundation of so many things that we see every single day of our lives.
I started a one-on-one drawing class on Saturday. With all of the other creative endeavors I have tried my hand at, drawing was never one of them. Until recently, I had just assumed that it was something available only to the “true” artist.
Maybe it’s hitting the half century mark that makes me want to try new things, fear of failure trumped by fresh curiosity and the possibility of discovering uncharted territory. Maybe it’s wanting to add a dimension to my repertoire. Whatever the reason, I’m enjoying the lessons that come from something as simple and Drawing 101.
My teacher is a local artists who has a gallery downtown. He is from Afghanistan. His English is broken and heavily accented, but he has a smile that takes up his whole face. And when he is teaching about his passion, it seems that all language barriers crumble. His hands and fingers are able to do most of the talking as he describes and demonstrates how to hold my 6B pencil between thumb and forefinger.
Circles and squares. Straight lines and curves. For two hours this was my focus. Basic but foundational. Those simple shapes helped me learn how to gently hold my instrument and to use it in a brand new way, to do brand new things. Positioning. Moving from the wrist instead of the fingers. A simple pencil somehow magically becoming something more than a writing tool and becoming a bit more like a paintbrush.
Even the direction that I moved my hand, clockwise or counterclockwise, determined whether I was able to make an oval or a perfect circle. It was the strangest and most intriguing thing to watch and observe, almost as a third party to my own appendage. Naturally doing something that it couldn’t do minutes before, because it wasn’t fighting itself. It was working with and not against the natural flow.
I know these may not look like much, but these are the circles and straight lines that I was able to draw once my pencil was positioned properly, my fingers were placed correctly and I relaxed enough to let it flow. To me, they represent bubbles or balloons – a lightness and airiness that depicts freedom. Exactly what I felt when I began to become one with the basics.
Ah, the analogies to life and faith. Starting with the very simple, the point from which everything else builds, and practicing that. The truth about who God is, reveling in the promises He’s made to us regarding His character, presence and love. The foundational components of loving God and loving people. The simplicity of getting back to basics.
My instructor told me to look around at all of the things in nature that are formed from simple curves and lines. One day my circles will become apples and faces and flowers. My lines will become trees and bodies and landscapes. But I have to keep practicing what I already know before I jump ahead. Content with the simple and watching it grow and morph into something beautiful. My wrist loose, my thumb and finger in position, learning which direction to move and then letting what’s supposed to happen, happen. Art. Beauty. Something new and unique.
I love that in life, our Art Instructor, shows us the basics – the foundational truths on which everything else is built. The circles and lines. And with practice and His partnership, we begin to see beautiful things happen in our hearts and consequently in the hearts of those whose lives we touch. Every life unique, every portrait different. Depicting the Master Artist’s intimate knowledge of who we are and how the circles and lines play out differently in each of our lives, the relaxed Wrist of creativity painting something of unique beauty.
Today a circle and line. Tomorrow the sun and its horizon…
Philippians 1:6 -… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Genesis 2:7 – Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.