Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Art of Discovery (Part 3)

I started what has become a three-part article by looking into some of my own recent experiences of Discovery. I will finish it with some cautionary advice, also gleaned from personal experience.

There are those who warn against using the word "create" and its derivative nouns and adjectives as being something akin to blasphemy.  They reason that using this word for anything other than referring to the Creator's direct creative acts and the resulting Creation attempts to dilute the power and uniqueness of that primary act. I can certainly understand that viewpoint and even have some sympathy for it. However, I believe there is still an appropriate use of these terms, when humans are involved in what has come to be known as creativity.

God's highest achievement in His creative work was undeniably the creation of humankind. In the first part of Genesis, God is seen finishing off the perfect work of creating by saying: "Let us make man in our image— our God created man in his own image...male and female he created them...God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." There is a rich depth of meaning bound up in the phrase "made in his own image," but for this brief article I would like to consider just one aspect.

In the opening narrative of Genesis, we certainly see God primarily as Creator of all. It would be surprising, therefore, if this creative talent/skill/bent was not among those aspects of "his own image" that He placed in His highest creation, mankind. Because of this, I believe strongly that the ability to "create" (in the secondary, not primary sense) is an integral part of who "Adam" is (and we, by derivation) . This ability to take what is unseen, unmanifest, and bring it into physical reality is a gift beyond words, beyond imagining. This gift, along with other God-like aspects of our character, is worlds apart from the rest of the Creation. Why God put this absolutely stunning power within us defies explanation. But nevertheless, there it is.

CREATION, bronze sculpture,
© Irene McCoy, all rights reserved
The power to "create" (and this is the last time I will use quotation marks to differentiate our abilities from God's) is so amazing, so astonishing, that it is also intoxicating. Just as a rare and exquisite wine can have the wonderful attributes of color, clarity, bouquet, and other gustatory delights (and, apparently, Jesus made/created some amazing wine Himself!– see John 2.10) it has the ability to stupefy, as well as uplift the senses. I have written previously about the exhilaration that can come with the adventure of discovery, and with anything that is so exhilarating comes the potential for "drunkenness." We can easily become "drunk" with our ability to create, and not appreciate it for the gift it truly is.

Being a creative being carries with it tremendous responsibilities. First among them is to realize that God Himself, alone, is THE CREATOR. All creative ability and acts are purely a gift from Him. There is nothing of merit that we can do, apart from Him. Because of this, it is incumbent upon the creative person to seek this Creator God, to know Him, and to know His direction and guidance for the whole of our lives, including our creative work. Then, in the final analysis, it is only right for us to thank Him for this grace, and to appropriately give Him all the praise and glory for the outcome.

This last part can sometimes be difficult. It can be so fulfilling and pleasurable to receive praise from others for the artful works that come about by our agency. But this is a trap that can only serve to sever the channels of creative flow that come from our God. If we believe, and if we allow others to believe, that this creative ability is our own isolated possession, we cut ourselves off from the true Source, the true Spring of creating. By claiming to be the sole source of the creative pulse that flows through us, we set ourselves up in the place of the Creator and forget Who He is, and we are then simply left to our own paltry devices.

Know the Creator God, and glory in His wondrous work, whether it comes through us, through others, or simply and directly from His own capable hands!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Two Thumbs-up!

The 2011 Hill Country Invitational show was a very satisfying and productive venture for me. I have had the opportunity to place four new images of mine before a large gathering of people who care a great deal about serious art- and they have given me an overwhelming "thumb's up!"

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Art of Discovery (Part 2)

I believe that creativity and faith are parallel journeys to be taken.  The Writer of the "Letter to the Hebrews" defined faith this way: "Faith is the evidence (or substance) of things unseen."  There exist eternal things that yet reside in secret and are hidden in darkness— invisible— but nevertheless have a certainty and reality.  That reality is held and ultimately manifest in this physical universe by the exercise of faith.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Art of Discovery (Part 1)

The OPEN PORTAL image continued to grow on me for a few days, and I was very much looking forward to sharing this view of Mission San Jose (and more) with those who would attend the Hill Country Invitational show in Boerne.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that something was yet missing.  The image itself continued as a high point for me, but it seemed I was still waiting for something more to come.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Looking Further Up

I wrote earlier that I encountered interesting surprises as I began my preparations for the fall show in Boerne, Texas.  No matter how much I think I have prepared ahead of time for an upcoming show, things always seem to be somewhat of a moving target and the last few days I am usually found scrambling.  This show has been that and more.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Learning to Expect the Unexpected

Recently, as I was preparing images for exhibition in the fall Hill Country Invitational show, I had some surprising, but not totally unexpected experiences.  In my previous post, I mentioned the serendipitous nature of the particular photographic arts that I have been pursuing.  I have seen enough of this that I have come to expect the unexpected.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Looking Up

The conventional format for a panoramic photograph is a "landscape," or horizontal, layout, and perhaps this is due to the fact that we humans possess binocular vision, with the two eyes paired in a horizontal arrangement.  This arrangement causes our field of vision to be spread out left and right, taking in as much as possible of the horizon and, in fact, the horizontal plane on which we stand and walk.  This mostly horizontal orientation to our vision (and much of our life) becomes the main reference from which we tend to view and understand things.