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All of creation

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.  (Genesis 1:31a)

For the Christian artist, all of creation can be our subject.  Sometimes our thinking gets short-circuited into narrow views of what can properly constitute Christian art, but really, if God said that all He made was good, then who am I to argue?

My friends all know that I am a follower of Jesus Christ first and an artist second.  My close online friends know that as well, although perhaps not all of my more casual readers do.  I certainly don't do anything to try and hide it, but my work doesn't always consist of art themes that are traditionally identifiable as "Christian."  Not that my work is ever anti-Christian either, so don't start to get worried!

What I want to suggest to other Christian artists is that it's important for each one of us to develop a full understanding of what is the proper content of Christian art...applicable only to ourselves.  After studying this issue for myself, I concluded that I don't need to be inspired by a verse of scripture in every piece I make.  Many of my pieces are inspired this way, and the Word of God is certainly the most inspiring writing that informs my work, but my work isn't Christian art just because I write a verse on it or because it sprang from a verse.  My work is Christian art because it was made by a Christian who loves and seeks to serve God and the world by using the gifts He's given.

So if all of creation can be our subject, what do we do about the fact that the world is fallen?  What limitations should we put on this statement?  Notice that I didn't say everything I make is automatically Christian art: I qualified it by stating my motivation, to love and serve God and the world.  That means that I can't give you a list of what you can and can't use as a subject for your art.  That is between you and your Creator.  But I can give you the general principles that I studied in order to decide for myself what my content should be. 

I divided my study on the topic of the content of Christian art into four positives and two negatives.  I vote yes to art which is an imitation of God's creative work, a narrative which shows Him working in history, an act of love and beauty, and a subject that makes my heart burn within me.  I vote no to subjects that are vile or degrading, and those which inspire negative fruit like lust, idolatry, and pride.

For my readers who may find this topic interesting, I'll be posting about these subjects in more detail over the coming weeks.  After that, I'm probably going to move on to topics like the development of excellence in our craft and art as ministry.  If these topics don't interest you, I hope you'll still find that my free tutorials, business tips and tools, and guest artist links are helpful to your development as a mixed media artist. 

Copyright 2010 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


Beautiful, Cyndi. I look forward to the coming posts in this series.

I don't tend to pray while I craft. The crafting takes all of my feeble mental capacity. Lol.

I do pray every day and I sing - which counts as praying twice ;-)

I'm looking at the lovely Zentangles you and others have done and thinking, now there's an art that could help my mind soar.

I'm definitely with you on the negative ungodly art. I don't do it. I won't patronize it and it makes me sick that so many of our tax dollars go to support it.
Cyndi L said…
Thank you, Eileen. I know what you mean about needing your mind focused on the task itself while you work...I do too, so my prayer time at other times of the day is really important. It needs to "spill over" onto my art time, if you know what I mean :-)

The Zentangles are great for being able to actually pray and work at the same time. The whole point of doing them (for me) is to not actually think about what I'm drawing. For other Zentanglers it's the exact opposite. The neat thing about them is that you can use them in whatever way suits you and your worldview best!

Thanks for your comments :-)