this whole art journaling thing really took off my sophomore year of college. my roommates and i took an art class with T. Graves (that’s what we called her…) and were required to do a painting. i quickly decided that i didn’t like painting concrete things. it might have been because i attempted to paint an incredibly beautiful picture that my dad took in Italy and i just didn’t feel like i was doing it justice. but i think it had more to do with the structure of it all. my painting turned out alright, but i wasn’t overly impressed. it was a lot of work. and took perfection. and in the end, it still didn’t look as good as my dad’s photograph. when the class was over, i continued using the paints and started doing art the way i wanted to. it wasn’t a graded assignment and heck, i didn’t even know if anyone else would see it. but i went from painting a pristine picture to scribbling like a 3-year-old because it was liberating.
remember what it was like trying to stay inside the lines of coloring books? there was always a little part of me that wanted to run that crayon like crazy over the entire picture, but it had to be perfect. teachers used to yell at kids who scribbled outside the lines. “don’t scribble. color nicely,” they’d say. sometimes, i feel like i have to live life inside those lines. trying to be perfect and pristine. but guess what? i can’t live life that way. i’m gonna mess up and i won’t get it right every time. grace catches me when i fall and freedom is there to let me- be me. somehow, scribbling seems similar. it calls for imperfection. there are no requirements in scribbling. i hold my crayon or maker or paintbrush and without any hesitation at all, i put color on paper. and there is beauty created in the mess.
there is nothing perfect about this art. i worry about even calling it art sometimes because it seems like such a disaster. but that’s all a part of it. there’s something unique about each piece. something beautiful that catches a person’s eye. i believe this is exactly what God sees in humans. sometimes we feel like a scribbled, messy pile of (fill-in-the-blank). and yet, i believe with all my heart that something in us catches the eye of God and fuels a desire in Him or Her to continue giving us grace and freedom. grace is a mystery to me, but i know it exists and that i need it daily. and while freedom waits for me to let go of all i carry, i know there are times i hold on with all i have because it seems comforting. thankfully, God gives us these things lovingly and without hesitation.
while i believe God is generous in giving, i also believe we have to choose to accept. this is one reason why i do art. it is a physical way of engaging my hands and my heart to the things i have been given. God is there waiting for me to take a hold of Him. and sometimes scribbling helps me to grab on to that grace and freedom and love. so don’t be intimidated by the word paint or create, thinking you have to paint these immaculate masterpieces. think: scribble and be free.