What an experience...
I had these creative visions and dreams in my head, but they felt transient and I was unsure.
So it was with a bit of trepidation that I finally reached out to Mitzi, of Mitzi Starkweather Photography, for help in bringing some of these ideas to light.
As an artist, I have always been fascinated with the human body…it’s form, capabilities, appearance. I took a life drawing class in college and loved every minute of it. Still, I saw myself as the one behind the easel, viewing, rather than the “model” being viewed.
The whispers of insecurities and unknowns told me how ridiculous and scary of an idea it was for me to be the subject of an artistic project or photoshoot. Especially one that beckoned me to reveal more of myself: heart and body, than a typical photo session.
Yet, as I contemplated things more…it began to feel like a challenge and a step outside of my comfort zone I needed to take. Because it was the perfect opportunity to explore some of the lessons God had been teaching me lately, in life and art.
My goal in creating: from drawings, to jewelry, to these photos…is to highlight the beauty of what the greatest artist has already made.
Our Heavenly Father sculpted this world and took special care in crafting us: uniquely, full of potential, and in the beauty of His own image (even when we don't necessarily "feel" like it).
Yet the world often seems to want to reduce our selves to things of criticism or objectification. We don’t look good enough or have the right level of stature. Our path seems undetermined and we don’t have “what they are looking for.” We have wrinkles, scars, and blemishes…on our bodies and our hearts. Or maybe we are one of the “lucky ones” who has the proclaimed desired appearance and life, and thus become a trophy, idol, or goal.
But those are limited and tired ways of viewing ourselves. Why not celebrate and appreciate our bodies and souls for what they are?
Works of art.
And art does not have to be perfect to be captivating. In fact it is usually the pieces with idiosyncrasies that catch our eye or stay with us the most.
Which is rather ironic, since society appears to beckon us to strive for perfection and gain. And I myself fall into that wave of thinking more than I’d like to admit. Yet, while aiming to be and do better is not to be dismissed, the chase becomes tiresome and exhausting if we are not appreciating the journey along the way. While a part of our souls yearn for more, because we rightly know there is something greater and pure, it is not to be completely obtained here.
Thus, we must grapple with the tension of looking for perfect and yet living outside of it. And I think this is done best through thankfulness. Because thankfulness shifts our gaze away from us, our imperfections and what we lack, and back to Christ.
It shines a light on the areas where God has worked wonders, big and small, and proves a testimony to his presence, thus giving us hope for things to come.
By seeing ourselves as art, we are allowing ourselves the freedom to acknowledge our imperfections and yet still celebrate the areas of beauty, growth, and blessings we encounter on our life journey.
Coming back around, the time I spent in front of Mitzi’s camera was beyond refreshing and encouraging…for me as an artist and as a woman. The depth of revelation and assurance I discovered from the experience surprised me, for God surely used the process of designing and participating in the shoot to solidify many of these revelations.
Yet I know my own heart can be wayward and easily distracted…and so I pray: for the days ahead when I feel like a masterpiece as well as the days I feel like a mess…may my soul be reminded that in Christ I am always His beloved creation.
As children of God we are valued and we need to see ourselves, as well as our brothers and sisters, as such. We are dearly beloved, beautiful, and worthy works of art…
...works in progress, yes, but works that can be thankful for the progress.
Because how exciting is it to know our Father and Creator continually has his hand on us.