Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hidden Art Book Club: Chapter 1

Art/Artist was a bad word for me for a long time, conjuring up unorthodox images and anxious feelings. Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking: Ideas for Creating Beauty in Everyday Life resolved my hang-ups.

As an elementary school student, I squandered much of my art class-time by wringing my hands over what to draw, paint or mold.  In middle school, I got kicked out of art class because I couldnt draw a picture of pollution.  I sensed manipulation and political-correctness in the assignment.  That was the last time I ever took *art.*

The first time I ever felt artistic was May 9, 2003 (age 45), even though I was creative before that.  I just didnt recognize it.  Here's a link to that story.  It's my very first blog entry, after coming up with the title for my site.

Before that, in the mid 1990s, I spearheaded an art appreciation program at the Christian school where our daughters were attending.    It was called Picture Parent and there was a 2-hour training program for volunteers.  I was called upon by the museum-trained docent to select a painting from a stash of prints on the table and explain why I liked it.  A mild panic attack set in.  I couldnt think of anything to say.  Thankfully, I spotted two prints, both head studies of young girls.  In front of the group, I held them up, stating that they reminded me of my own daughters and what type of artistic expression I wanted them to emulate.  That's why I wanted to be involved.

What did Edith write and I read years ago that cleared up my view of art and artists?

Chapter One, The First Artist.

Specifically, the Amos reference ~

For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind
And declares to man what are His thoughts,
He who makes dawn into darkness
And treads on the high places of the earth,
The Lord God of hosts is His name.

Therefore, because God (The Creator, The First Artist) knows me (called me), I must be artistic.  By definition, I can create and be creative.  Look for it.  It's there.  He tells me what to think.  That's how I know what to do.

Furthermore, the first chapter is an appropriately-placed apology, a defense of doctrine that is Truth, vital to daily living and worldview.  It lays the groundwork for implementing the practical aspects of the following 13 chapters.

Schaeffer's reference to Isaiah 61 is the call to action.

What would Edith have us do?

Let's get busy.

Artwork Credit:
Acrylic on Canvas
10" x 14"
signed *DJ*
Sunday, April 28, 1968

Link to related blog entry


  1. I love your picture. It has my favorite art color combinations. I always fall for the paintings done in blue and white and yellow and green. When I say I like it, I mean I genuinely like it.

    I am not an artist like that either but I am trying to keep a nature notebook although I only have 3 entries in 9 months.

    1. Once while at the beach on vacation I tried to sketch a sand bucket..... FAIL

      although that exercise taught me about the principle of negative and positive space

  2. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. You articulated much better than I (I went off on a tangent) how I feel about the chapter.

  3. I'm excited to be part of this book club. I've never been "artsy" -- I can't draw much more than stick figures and never had an art class until Art Appreciation in college (which I enjoyed). I would not have described myself as creative as I grew up, but I came to see there are different ways of being creative. When I first read this book some 30 years ago, it gave me permission to delve into that. I had been thinking maybe we would be more effective Christians if we lived and dressed plainly, but this helped me see that God could have made the world just functional, but He made it beautiful as well, and since we're created in His image, it's more than ok to add touches of beauty in our homes and dress.

  4. I'm so glad you were able to recognize that you are creative in your own ways as well! I think of the many beautiful outfits you *created* for us growing up and, as you mentioned, the home-cooked dinners every night. It takes a lot of creativity to rear 4 children! I had forgotten you helped start the art study program at Heiskell -- that was always one of my favorites! Your creative influence was obviously pretty effective. :)

    Can't wait to start reading Hidden Art of Homemaking for myself!

    1. Mrs. McCarthy I was looking ahead in the book and thinking, "Dana is going to have the best clothing entries later on in the book."

  5. I also appreciated her beginning with a solid foundation, not only about our Creator God and being made in His image, but pulling out that that means we *are* creative and we *should* grow in creativity.

    I'm also looking forward to your clothing posts when that chapter comes. :)

  6. Why is it that so many of us have preconceived notions about what 'art' is or what an 'artist' is? I believe its a distraction that causes us to take our eyes from The One Who created us.
    It's never too late, is it? To be creative, to see the beauty in our everyday lives.
    Thank you for sharing, looking forward to more in the weeks to come!

  7. Dana, what a beautiful painting. You're also an artist in the kitchen!

    Thanks for reminding us of the Amos verse. Very powerful.