Saturday, September 22, 2012

Strengthen My Hands




For our new semester, I started my art class off with pastels. Most are old students of mine, and they all groaned. Groaned! It is my favorite medium to use in art, other than my iPad. Where have I failed? How can they hate pastel?

Could be the teacher. The picture at the top of this post was my demo drawing from the photo we were working with. The sky and the ocean without the chair would have been a good choice. It turns out the chair was made up of harder shapes than I had originally thought. We only got as far as roughing in the chair shape and then to prevent the whole class from dissolving into tears, we did the sky. We finish it up during the next session.

So I sent them home with a drawing only half completed. Those who do pastels know that if you do them correctly, pastels don't look good until the moment before they are completed. Until that moment, they are unblended, with few details, and smudgy edges. It is in the last few moments, at least when I work with pastels, that the drawing suddenly has a metamorphosis. It can go from a mess to a masterpiece in seconds. But the class doesn't really trust me on this. I think most went home discouraged. That is not a good way to start the year.

It is hard to trust when all one sees is a rather messy smudgy half completed endeavor, and it doesn't seem there is any way this will all work out in the end. I think it is what we all face as we sketch our lives. God is guiding every stroke, or at least is willing to if we will trust Him, but before the work is done, we cannot believe it will ever possibly be anything of beauty and worth! He keeps reminding us, "It will all be beautiful in the last moment, it will be of eternal beauty. Trust me to get you there."

One new student never complained. He quietly drew, using pastels for the very first time.
"Thank you," he said as he left the class, "I like pastels."

Nehemiah 6:9,16 (NIV)
They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” [16] When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.



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