Through Their Eyes: Lessons on Art from a 4-year-old

I often face creative blocks, taking longer than I anticipate to complete commissions, and feeling stuck in my projects. Well, just this past Christmas, my 4-year-old son did more than just change my perspective - it made me reflect on my art-making process. Turns out, I have much to learn from my tiny Picasso.

Picture this: We are on a family trip, me trying to squeeze in some art time amidst Christmas celebrations and the opening of presents. I have my fancy new sketchbook (waiting for that "divine inspiration," of course!), some unfinished pieces, and the usual artist anxieties whispering doubts. Suddenly, my little one arrives, Lego forgotten, eyeing my paintbrushes and paints, demanding to create. My heart did a tiny flip - this wasn't the "perfect moment" I envisioned! I hesitated as I opened the sketchbook for him, laying it flat on the table, and selecting a brush I hoped he wouldn't stab into the paints and paper. 

What unfolded next was nothing short of a revelation. He attacked the blank page with zero hesitation, and no fear of the unknown. Castles erupted, squiggly lines danced in vibrant chaos, and colors that I wouldn't dream of pairing splashed onto the canvas. He was uninhibited, uninvested in the "value" of the materials, and most importantly, completely free from the pressure of perfection. 

As I watched him, a truth whispered in my heart: these were the very chains binding my creativity! The fear of messing up, the need for everything to be "perfect," the endless comparisons to the curated online world - they were all stifling my creativity. My son, in his innocent artistic expression, was showing me the pure joy of creating, the freedom to experiment, and the beauty of not taking it all so seriously.

So, what did I learn from my tiny art teacher?

    • Just start, and offer it up. Don't wait for the perfect moment, the perfect inspiration, or the perfect materials. Grab a pen, a crayon, a piece of napkin - anything! Make a mark on the page, an offering to the Creator who gifted you with the ability to create.
    • Embrace the unexpected.  Who knew purple and orange could be so magical together? Celebrating the uniqueness God wove into you, the messy, the "off-beat" combinations that make your art, your life, a vibrant masterpiece.
    • Let go of the preciousness. That fancy notebook? Use it! Don't let the fear of ruining it hold you back. Remember, true worship isn't about perfection, but about offering our all, even the imperfect beginnings.
    • Don't obsess about the outcome, focus on the journey. It's in the process, the exploration, and the joy of making something new that we grow. Every masterpiece starts with a messy beginning, and every act of creation, big or small, is a step closer to understanding our Creator who made us.

We don't have to be "professionals" or compare ourselves to others. Art-making is a chance to reflect our Creator, to play, to connect with something bigger than ourselves.

Grab your inner child, pick up a paintbrush, and unleash your creative worship!

...(The) theology of art that is both sanctified and sanctifying. John Wesley taught that, while each Christian is justified by faith, we spend our entire lifetime moving towards Christian perfection, which he called sanctification. Art, like any human activity, is not perfect, nor does it have the ability to make us perfect. What it can do is carry the tune when we are off-key and keep the beat when we are out of step. A sanctified art is like a mirror that always tells the truth, even when we would rather it lie. A sanctified art can show us both who we are and who we are meant to be as we journey together towards perfection. 
From Sanctifying Art, by Deborah Sokolove 

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

1 comment

  • Well written and challenging for us non-artists as well!


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