Category Archives: Art

How Artists Create

Lately I’ve been considering how artists create. Photography is a hobby for me, and I’ve been playing with it recently and trying to create. The trouble is I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. How do the best photographers do it? How do Stieglitz, Strand, Hine, and Adams take those pictures? What did they see when they looked through the viewfinder? And what’s the difference between what they saw in the viewfinder and the finished product? Do they construct an image within the viewfinder knowing they can later crop it? Or do they do as much cropping as they can when they actually take the picture? How much of the art of photography is done in the darkroom? The other thing I don’t understand is how do they capture such stunning shots of active situations? They take pictures of things that can’t be staged, yet the image is laid out like a masterpiece, as if they did stage it. Are they just lucky, in the right place at the right time? Or is there a skill involved in it? What about painting? What kind of an image of the final product does the painter have when they start? Or does it just come into being as the paint is applied? What about writing songs? Which comes first, the music or the words? In writing, I often find that the creation can come from both a preconceived idea and just the spontaneous act of writing. Sometimes I know what I’m going to write, other times as I type and it tells me what to write. Creating is a mind boggling thing. It requires such attention to detail, such mastery. It makes God that much more amazing, doesn’t it?


I’m beginning to learn how hard it is to create something. I’m working on a few projects for my graphic design class, and I keep running into difficulties. Maybe it’s just that I don’t have all the tools the professionals have, but this is really hard. I have all these images in my head of what I want, but getting what I want is a completely different matter. That’s assuming I know what I want. Coming up with the ideas is even harder. What really gets me is that when I finally produce something really good, it wasn’t something I thought long and hard over, it was a lark. It was just something I tried on a whim between two real ideas.


My big Christmas present this year was a new camera (thanks Mom & Dad!). One of those real cameras, not just a point and shoot deal. So now I can act like a photographer. I got my first rolls of film back today. Since I’m still giddy about pretending to be a photographer, I thought I’d show you one of my new pictures. It’s called “Evergreen.” (hey, I’m an art minor, I’m allowed to at least act like an artist)

Yo-yo’s, Downtown Chicago and Artistic Cows

Well, there I go again. Friends come in for the weekend, and I stop pondering. Sorry, hope you don’t feel to deprived. But I’m back.

This weekend my girl friend came down again, and two good friends and former yo-yo partners also came down. We had a blast yo-yoing on the streets of Chicago. Yeah, that’s right, we went downtown and stood on the corner and yo-yoed. Made some decent money too. Nothing like doing what you love and getting paid for it.

Highlights from two days of yo-yoing? I saw kids on a leash. That has to be the most degrading thing on the planet. The funniest thing was that the woman had two kids, so one leash on each arm. If the kids ever got smart, they could run around in circles and tie mom up real fast.

I also found out that German Shepherds don’t like yo-yo’s. A really big one kept barking at me while I was yo-yoing. I jumped the first time he did it.

Downtown Chicago is pretty cool. I haven’t seen too much of it, but what I have seen is really cool. This summer they’re having a really cool art exhibit too. Spread across the downtown there are supposed to be 200 life size cows painted by local artists. I heard about it on PBS and saw two of them while I was down there. I think it officially starts on June 15. I thought it was an utterly cool idea (sorry, couldn’t help the pun).

Well, my yo-yo finger needs some rest, so I’ll ponder later. By the way, I don’t think the summer is a very good time for many intelligent ponderings. They seem to be few and far between.

Visiting the Walker Art Center & Minoring in Art

walker.gifYesterday with my 2D Design class I went to the Walker Art Center in downtown Minneapolis. I’d highly recommend it if you ever have a chance to go. I suppose I should clarify my reasons for recommending it. Outside of the Art Center there’s the Sculpture Gardens. Those are just cool. There’s a really big cherry on an even bigger spoon. It’s bizarre. But that just makes it fun. The actual Walker Art Center isn’t quite to my liking. There’s some modern art stuff in there that I certainly don’t understand at all. But I should probably try to be more open minded about it. Being immediately repulsed by something doesn’t mean that it has no value. Some people treat my work that way, and I’m almost insulted that they don’t look more closely. I should at least give some of these modern artists the same respect that I yearn for.

I’m taking a moment today to talk about art because more and more it seems like I have a connection with art. I’ve taken a few art classes here at Bethel, and I’m considering an Art Minor. I don’t consider myself to be an artist, but in some ways I may be inching closer to that title. This week I was working on two art projects that I had a lot of fun with. A portion of that work may be on this site soon. Also, today I picked up a pen and some paper and tried to do some drawing. Now I’m not good at drawing. It’s not one of my skills. But I figured I’d give it a try and practice a little bit. I took a drawing class last year, and I didn’t do too bad. I took a picture of my girl friend and tried to sketch it. I learned a few things. The creation of God is so beautiful and so magnificent, my feeble attempts to mimic it are laughable. The curves are so perfect and precise. The subtle changes in light and dark boggle my mind when I try to copy them. I think the artist certainly has a greater appreciation for God’s handiwork than the rest of us do. Try it sometime, it’s kind of humbling.

Art is Hard

Art is draining. For the past two days I’ve spent almost every moment of free time working on an art project for class. I finally finished it tonight, and I feel so tired. And this isn’t even real art. I have a new respect for all the artists out there, be they painters, sculptors, musicians, writers, or what have you. Good artists poor themselves into their work for the benefit of their audience. Take notice of that next time and be a little more appreciative of the effort the artist puts into the work.