When you look beyond the art and into the artist


I am a fan of all art everywhere. I am even more a fan of the artists. I remember when I went to New York City the summer I turned 18. We had coupons and were able to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They were showing Monet's watercolour lilies. They're huge, one piece spanning across entire walls and I stood back and just looked at them for minutes and minutes and minutes. Tears formed in my eyes and I wondered what Claude Monet was feeling when he painted them.

Recently I realized something: I want to try and look beyond the art and into the artist. I think I've realized this because that's what I hope people might do for me. Look beyond the things I produce and instead look into who I am.

Without further ado, this is some of my favourite art -- but even more than that -- some of my favourite artists.


Annie Barnett of Be Small Studios. I see Jesus in Annie's art. I have this print hanging on my wall and I look at it every day. It reminds me there is beauty in brokenness. It reminds me sometimes things break before they become free. Annie is a tremendously beautiful artist, but her art is more than that. The best way I can describe it is this: her art is not about selling, it's about a story. That's a breath of fresh air for me.


Hope*ologie (by Emily Freeman and Myquillyn Smith) is one of my favourite treats I give myself. (It's even better served with a big bowl of ice cream -- this month of course being candy cane.) It's a place where I can simply rest. And laugh. It makes me laugh a lot. It's the best kind of art -- the kind where nothing is expected of you. You can just show up, right as you are. And isn't that the most refreshing thing? Each month I look forward to seeing what these incredible artists will hold out as no-strings-attached offering for me.


The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Sampson changed three things for me: 1) my faith 2) the way I write and 3) the way I view the world. In my life, those are three fairly profound things. I've read this book innumerable times and each time have come away restored, inspired and transformed. I'm grateful Lisa put her art out there. (I should say for the most part I am not a super fan of Christian fiction, but this blew me away. Oh please read it. And then please tell me what you think.)


Something In The Water by Carrie Underwood has given me shivers and tears every time I've heard it. I feel proud of her -- for this prayer, this art, she's so graciously extended to the world. Oh, my most favourite part is when she sings Amazing Grace at the end. Just. Shivers.

This is what I'm going to try and do today, and perhaps you'll try it too: instead of focusing on the art, the product, the process, we might look past all that to who really matters, the artist, the person. Maybe when we stop focusing on what they can do for us, and begin to focus on who they are, that is when we can love them. Who knows what we might discover?.