Creativity's Workshop


Life is so full of contradictions, dichotomies, ups and downs, isn't it? One day we are convinced of something, another day we are full of doubt. One day we are bouncing off the walls with excitement, another we are dragging our feet to the rhythm of our tear-drops.

I realize that although my life has often been a roller coaster of  such highs and lows,  reality is wonderfully unchanging. My feelings may be all over the place, but that doesn't mean the earth under my feet is crumbling under the weight of my frustration, or flooding when I cry. The battle inside my head does not automatically rage outside of it. But even so, my moods affect the world around me, because they affect my decisions, how I treat others, where I go and how well I do my job. Feelings are not facts but they can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. How often have I told myself "I can't", "it's impossible", or "it's too late." These are often self imposed lies, fears that have have been mistaken for truth.  In other words: "It's a trap!" However, the ultimate truth remains: when we are positive, good things can and will happen. (Or at least we will notice the good things that happen regardless of how we feel!)Today was a day of negative thoughts, about how certain things are not the way I want them to be, about what I don't have, about everything I am missing.  But upon looking at a diary entry from a few days ago, I found that a few days ago I wrote down how excited I was about so many things: my job, my boyfriend, even how grateful I was for the bathroom!  Reading about this past joy started to bring back the joy I had felt then.

This resurrection of happiness made me realize how important it is to surround myself with positive things, books, people, images. Of course we are responsible for how we act upon our grumpy feelings, but we are also responsible if we purposefully participated in things that we knew would
make us grumpy, depressed, lustful etc (I.e. Occasions of Sin). Keeping busy, productive, positive and creative is actually a duty of sorts. After all, "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." I realized we are either living a fruitful, loving life of growth or we are slipping backwards into hazy gloom.There is no in between. We are always on a path to somewhere; we are always crafting something in our workshop.

Even standing still is moving backwards. I know this from my experience of depression. A depressed person is not just sad and frozen. They are regressing, being sucked further and further into a black hole. First you panic, then you cry, then once you can't cry anymore, and are incapable of feeling emotion, you stare at the wall and ponder your doom, then you convince yourself that your doom is inevitable. Finally, you come to the conclusion that you might as well die. That depression was not something that appeared out of nowhere, all of a sudden. It was a slow backwards decay that had a beginning. In the words of Yoda: "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

So be careful what whispers you listen to. The workshop in your mind just might get working on whatever influences you let in. The cogs and the levers will be working away, so be sure to reflect on what exactly they are working on. That is why it is never to late, you can turn around and go back to the good path anytime. Re-reading my past joys was a refreshing breeze. I remembered I have so much to rejoice over and look forward to. There are so many wonderful, joyful possibilities. And just
think! What wonderful things will await and open up before us if we believe the voice of hope.

A New Hope

So getting back into the excited frame of mind, I will now get to what I really want to write about in this post....After talking to the graphic designer at the office, I had a realization that I'm really excited
to investigate graphic design/screen printing/illustration programs again. I had been accepted into a graphic design program back in 2010, but chose Costume Studies instead. More recently I had been really focused on all the health/psychology programs I could take...and that idea was actually kind of stressful. I just thought about how much time and money re-educating myself would take. I figured I have to do something helpful, that I believe in, with my life. And that is true. But is beauty not helpful, not worth believing in? Does it not sooth and heal souls and even minds? Is that not of an equal, if not even greater value than healing minds with psychology or bodies with medicine and nutrition?

Certainly a really sick mind may need to be helped before appreciating beauty. But for most minds beauty touches us somehow. We are designed that way. For myself, I find that beauty can draw me out of dryness and sadness and boredom in an instant. The expression of beauty through art can A) be therapeutic, B) be inspiring and life changing, even to those who are in states of malaise, discouragement or mundane ruts, C) tell stories, give perspective, visually explain difficult truths and lessons. After all a picture is worth a thousand words. That is the equivalent of a few therapy sessions at least! Artistic creations can  reach a deep part of us that words just bounce off of. Paintings, photographs and music can soften that hard, otherwise impenetrable hard shell. Beauty, I believe, ultimately leads us to the wonderful constant reality, that hope and goodness outshine the doom and gloom.

I want to make art that inspires! I want to make art that witnesses to the beauty of God's undying love! Because ultimately He is why we are here and what we should live for. I believe it is vitally important to produce art that draws people into this freeing, joyful reality.

The Beginning

I have drawn many pictures and scribbled many sketches in my life, but one recent painting has
inspired me to pursue this passion. Earlier this year I painted a quick watercolour for my loving boyfriend. I called the painting "Life Line," inspired by his strong spiritual leadership, gentle encouragement and our mutual consecration to Jesus through Mary. I was happy that he liked it and framed it, but I was so surprised by the countless other positive feedback that It received. I realized the power of art in witnessing to truth, beauty and goodness. Even a painting that took a few hours had such an impact on many people. I am so grateful and so inspired to continue even in the little things. Just a little time, a little love, a little work along the right path goes a long way!

"Life Line" by Emily Claire, 2014


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