Friday, October 20, 2006

The ugly humbles

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So, supposedly, is art. Well, I have created the ugliest piece of artwork that I may have ever seen. What began as a wonderful drawing, very graphic, very smooth and soooo good has turned into a nightmare. The round iconic drawing of a raven with a woman in the center became a horrifying mess of purple turning to black messed up with streaks of white. Ugly! Ugly!

Susie tried to tell me that it wasn’t ugly, and, if it was ugly, why did I keep it? Well, it’s ugly, and I kept it to remind me that not everything I try will work. Not everything I do will be good. Progress is being made, but that painting so ugly that I turned it away from the clock so the clock wouldn’t stop. She finally agreed that it was not pleasing.

What value does ugly have? If we, as Christians, should embrace our suffering and offer it up to God, then, should we also offer up the ugly? I can’t imagine God being pleased with such an offering. God might be pleased that we are making progress, and we can offer our progress and our learning up as blessings, but ugly?

This painting was humbling. I was so pleased that I was progressing in learning how to paint and draw. I was actually creating pleasing things. I even liked my color exercises. And, oh me, when I did this round drawing of the raven, I was ecstatic. Susie kept saying, “Paint it.” So I did.

I am certain there are a lot of sayings about messing up good things, and several come to mind – none that I would put them in print. So I am considerably more humble about my artistic talent. Which is probably a good thing. My mother would say that it needs to carry over into the rest of my life, too; I have little humility according to her. But, she’s dead; so what does she know now. Humility is thinking more of God than you do of yourself, and I have a lot of humility – at least about most things.

Perhaps our mistakes, our uglies, serve to keep us humble and grateful. I will keep the ugly raven painting just as I keep memories of times when I have hurt others or made ugly mistakes. They will serve as a reminder to me not to think more of myself than I do of God. But, I really wanted to be God.

1 comment:

MadPriest said...

May I suggest you submit it as an entry in the next TURNER PRIZE (the U.K. annual modern art competition). It cannot be uglier than Tracy Emmit's "bed". Honest - you'd stand a really good chance of winning and there's a lot of prize money involved.