The Three Inescapable Laws of Art-Making {...any art, of any kind...but only if you want to be truly original...}


{The image of the dandelion has huge significance to me, in terms of the creative process!}


One of my great passions is The Creative Process.  I have the same reverence for the creative process, that I have for the finished product....the "masterpiece", whether that masterpiece be an amazing twist on roasting chicken, or a book about string theory, or a mixed-media painting,  or a Taylor Swift song.  The nuts and bolts of creativity are sacred rudiments.  Even the mechanics are holy.


Because the Creator of the universe is behind it all - whether the artist understands this and acknowledges it or not, every person who creates anything can do so because he or she is made  imago dei...in the image of God. God is the original artist;  He is the source of it all from concept to completion, and He is behind all the messy mechanics that characterize the middle of the creative process.

So, at great risk of pulling the wings off the proverbial butterfly, I hope to take apart the process - breaking it into about three components, and putting it back together while still retaining the mystery.

Tall order.

The first law:

You have to put yourself in front of the best.  The best books, the best minds, the best music, the best art - and make it your life's avocation to cultivate an informed opinion, through comparison and contrast.  Most importantly:  get outside.  Let creation itself inspire and refresh you.  Let new (and even seemingly bizarre) relationships present themselves.  Let all of it - the ideas, the images, the recipes, the paintings, the trees, the mountains, the theology, the books - let it cross-pollinate all up in your head.

Yo.  Blow the dandelion.  Stir the soup.  (see the relationship?)

Every day.

If you don't, you won't have what it takes to be an artist.

The second law:


Know when to stop it.  Know when to put down the book on string theory.  Know that you aren't putting it down to watch TV or take a nap or check Facebook - know that you are putting it down to make up your own recipe, a new twist, say, on "40 Clove of Garlic Chicken".  (It can be done.)

Know when to fall off one horse, so you can jump onto another.

It's how creative people "rest".  They just give their brain a change of scenery - the bigger the contrast, the better the effect.

The third law:

Never.  Ever.  Never try to be creative.

If you have to try to be an artist, you aren't.

Hey...Shalom, y'all.  Embrace it.  The world needs engineers and administrators and literal people - stop hating on yourself.  It isn't healthy for you or anyone you love.   The whole world is missing out on the best parts of you, they are missing out on your gifts, because you think you need to be deep and find the metaphor in everything...you think you need to make stuff, and you end up just sort of making stuff up.

Just do you.  Be left brained.  The world needs you.  Even artists can't try to be artists...they just are.  "Art" really is a form of the verb "to be", and it's okay.

It really is okay.  It is okay for me to paint and write and be weird, and for you to organize and account and crunch the numbers and administrate and be literal and normal.  Every bit of it is a reflection of God - never let the clay say to the Potter, "Why have You made me this way?"

How is this third law a law of creativity, then?  Because making no overt effort to "be creative" is as vital to the process of art as not doing math equations all day every day is to the process of teaching math.

You have to let fallow ground, lie fallow.  It's the only way to a sustainable harvest, year-in and year-out.  Trust that it all will come to you, in due time.

I'm sorely tempted to add a fourth law - and call it something like, "The Law of Actually Doing It".  I'm tempted to add that law, because as an artist, I live in my head all the time, and precious few ideas I have actually make it to the light of day and the marketplace.  Confession is good for the soul - that's the cold, hard truth about me.  I have far more ideas than I have the discipline to grind them out and make them real.

I gotta work on that.

And since I can only teach what I already do, authentically...I will stop at three laws.

I will get to work on actually bringing a couple things I've been thinking about into concrete reality.

Thanks for listening...now, here's a "Pinnable" (thanks in advance for sharing):








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