Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Twelve Gifts: #12 - CREATION

I grew up playing in my father’s studio. Holding the brush together, dipping it in water and paint and watching it disperse color across a pristine sheet of textured paper, he babysat me through my first few paintings. Later, as I developed more confidence with the medium, he was very trusting and generous with his supplies, allowing me to sit at his desk, on his stool, and use his own brushes and paints. Studying and imitating his gorgeous paintings, experimenting with his tools, I learned a love of watercolor that has lasted throughout my life, and I always hoped someday I’d grow up to be an artist like him.

There in his home, I developed my gift, worked extremely hard in school, and eventually set off on my own. The big test came when, as a young bride, I moved to Los Angeles, determined to prove my worth both in our fledgling family and as an artist. I was away for nearly twenty years...nearly equal to a lifetime at that point.

Then I remember one summer when I returned home for a visit. My dad invited me to his new studio...a larger, more accommodating one, the entire top floor of an old pioneer house. He showed me some oil paintings he was working on, and invited my opinion. I was a little surprised. I was always the one who had learned from HIM. And now he wanted my input. Wow.

I suggested a warm glaze over one of the landscapes, an English countryside. He handed me a brush. “Go for it,” he said. “Really? You trust me to work on your painting?” I asked incredulously. He nudged me toward the canvas and I dipped the brush into the thin glaze, adding just a trace of alizarin. Then gingerly I touched the canvas and carefully glazed a section of the surface. He approved, even became excited as he saw the results, and dipped in his brush as well. There we stood, side by side, collaborating, painting...creating. And in a way I lack the words to describe...synergy?...transcendence?...I suddenly felt a whole new kind of alive.

It’s an image I’ll never forget, working side-by-side with my Artist-Dad. That whole experience rings not only true, but significant: First being with him, being taught at his feet, then leaving for what seemed like a lifetime to go out on my own, prove myself. Then finally returning as a professional, a colleague, and a collaborator. I suddenly understood with greater depth why God calls himself Creator, and why he wants to share that incredible gift with His children.

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.*
Thank you, Dad, for giving me the opportunity to
create with you.

*Pres. Dieter Uchtdorf, "Happiness, Your Heritage" 2008.

10 comments:

LisAway said...

As a parent, sometimes allowing my kids to help me create is sometimes very difficult (mom, can I peel the carrots? -- very nice, but I want to eat within the hour, and they probably won't be peeled by then. . . or I don't really like egg shell in my muffins, but I remind myself that it can be fished out and let the kids crack away)

I love the trust and confidence your father showed in you. That must be so empowering. But hey, I've seen some of your paintings, and if I were him I'd be asking YOU to make entire paintings for ME! :)

Kazzy said...

I admire your relationship with your dad. You two do have a unique connection, and he has been a symbol of Godly teaching. Coolness at its best!

Mrs4444 said...

Your relationship with your dad...hard for me to articulate. I guess I'll just say that it's something that is so rare and beautiful, and it's good to know it exists for you and for others. It's just nice to know that such a thing really exists. And now that I think about it, I'm sure that Kendall and her dad could have that one day, as well. It's so great to have married a man who is such a wonderful father.

Heidi Ashworth said...

I love the analogy between this and our Heavenly Father. Few children experience a sense of being a peer with his/her father, but we can all feel that one day with our God. Many people would love to have a similar experience you did with your father (whatever the medium) but few stop to think (or know enough to do so)that we are meant to be all that our Heavenly Father is--and stand side by side with Him. Love this post!

Heather of the EO said...

I love having this picture in my mind of you and your father side by side (even though I don't really know what he looks like and I'm sure you don't always look like your picture, but you know what I mean) :)

The way you told this story of the process of creation over time is beautiful.

Brillig said...

It's truly amazing that you can create such beauty, not only with paint, but with your words.

Missing you...

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

What a wonderful gift, a Dad who teaches, shares, trusts and empowers. It's truly an enviable relationship. You are blessed. Because of this you have a special window to God's relationship with his children which I'm sure helps in your personal relationship with Him.

jenny p said...

Having learned at the feet, so to speak, of your dad for a time as well I can envision that scene. In my classes now I think of him often and try to think of what he would have done and imitate his generosity. Truly a great educator. I'm sure you are too.

Dedee said...

Full on tears now. Reading this reminded me of so many times when my mom would take us out to watch the sunset and ask what color it was. And if we gave some sort of mundane answer like, "Peach." she'd make us look again and see the grey, purple, orange, pink, brown, gold, etc that was really there. My mom tells me on occasion that I have a better sense of color than she does, but if I do, it's because she taught me to see. And now I translate that into quilts and loving the art that I see hanging on walls at random people's houses that I've never met before that day. ;)

I feel honored to know you today Charette.

Luisa Perkins said...

What a breathtaking scene you've captured. I'm envious!