For many artists, art and the creation of art are sacred experiences. The process of creation can be a meditation. A painting can be a prayer. This week I was asked to consider where I am the most aware of the presence of God. For me it is in meditation, in prayer and most definitely in art.
Any time, location or circumstance in which God’s normally mysterious, unknowable presence “breaks through” and makes itself known to seeking persons can be defined as a sacrament. Is art then sacramental? I believe so.
Several years ago I did a series of interviews on my blog titled “Inspiring Artists.” One of the questions I asked of all of the artists was to finish the following sentence. “For me art is…” The answers I received seemed to indicate that many artists share my belief. Art is a process and a noun through which the Divine may be experienced by humanity.
The following is just a small collection of responses to this question. Each of these artists practice the art of keeping a visual journal in addition to other mediums. A sample journal page accompanies each quote. To read the full interviews with each artist, click on their name.
For me art is…“a gift – to all of us. It is a gift for both the artist and the one viewing it. Art moves us, stirs our emotions, it impacts our lives in deep ways. Art speaks to the heart. It certainly has been a gift to me as it has helped me see into my heart. Art has helped me heal some of the broken places in my heart. I want to clarify something here – I believe the healing is accomplished by God, but he uses the art in my life as one of the means to do so. I love this quote by J. Scott McElroy, author of Finding Divine Inspiration: ‘Art speaks to our intuitive side. God designed the arts to jump over our barriers, past our intellect, and to go into our hearts and souls.’ Think about how a painting, photo, dance or music can move you.” –Mary Freeman
For me art is…“’Expression of experience’. I think the attempts to define art as a universal term have failed because it is simultaneously a noun and a verb, simultaneously something collective and fiercely individual. Trying to find static words to describe such a fluid concept is like trying to hold a river in your hands…
To experience life in [a] mindful way and then express it – though paint, journaling, the way we drive or do dishes, words, dance, sculpture, humor, music – is true, vibrant art. Whether it expresses the joyous, the painful, or the cycle within those, for me art is the expression of our divinely human experience.” –Lisa Wilson
For me art is… “my journey in discovering the deeper truths of myself.
Art has been with me my entire Life and at times it has been my comfort, my companion, my struggle, my teacher, and my bliss. Even though my relationship to it constantly evolves and changes–the fact that it is always calling me deeper into my soul stays constant. I am forever grateful to live this Life as an Artist and I celebrate and honor the gift of Art each day by simply showing up–by creating something–by inspiring someone else–and by giving thanks to Art.” –Connie Hozvicka
“exploration, salvation, inspiration, conversation, … declaration, liberation, and celebration.” -Natasha Reilly
During the time I was conducting these artist interviews I asked my son, Noah, who was three at the time to finish the sentence. He said, “Art is everything… like God is everything.” His comment brought tears to my eyes. I think this is exactly the reason why I -an artist – am currently pursuing a Master of Divinity degree. I see both Art and God in everything.
There is an amazing similarity in all of these responses. What is even more interesting is that they are reminiscent of replies I have heard as classmates define what “God is” to them. Considering all of these responses, it does not seem such a far stretch then to consider artwork and the process of creating art as sacramental.
How about you, have you ever had a sacred experience through art? I’d love to hear your replies. To leave a comment, enter your name and email in the space provided below. Website is optional.
Love & Blessings,