2020-08-12 - The Power in a Pencil
Originally published on 07-05-2015About five years ago, I drew a pencil rendering of a pair of Royal Penguins of Macquarie Island. I found them to be quite fascinating, and it was an honor to sketch them. The eleven-by-eight drawing features a pair with others in the background. There’s a crowdedness within the confines of the composition (As defined by Artlex Art Dictionary: The plan, placement or arrangement of the elements of art in a work.), only to exemplify the fact that the penguins are part of a very large herd. It’s funny how when someone sees the drawing, they first guess it’s a photograph. Then if they discover I had done the drawing, they can be complimentary or confused about why I am not doing such work for a means of earning money. What connects me to the work is the fact I was given a gift allowing me to be as close to one of God’s creations as I could ever imagine, outside of actually seeing it. Sometimes I get to do both, seeing something and then drawing from photos I have taken. It’s as if power flows through me into a pencil (or paint, pastel, or whatever medium from which I work) and onto the paper.
It’s the closest I have come to understanding how I am used as God’s vessel. It’s of the highest honor, and any use of it simply for my own gain seems wrong to me. Should it be made clear to me that I am to be commissioned for a piece, as has been done before and perhaps will be done again, I will do so humbly and obediently.
I think of a quote from Bruce Lee that continues the thought. “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip, and it can crash. Become like water, my friend.” The Bible describes it in terms of clay. “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Isaiah 64:8, KJV)
When I work on any piece of art, I try to become “like water” and allow myself to be “the clay”. And each time, I am astounded by the results. Not because of who I am or what I have done, but because of how God decided to use “little ol’ me” to show someone something about himself. Each time I am given the chance to be part of his plan I am so honored. I never want to take it for granted. The glory is all His.
“Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.” (Psalm 44:5-7, KJV)
All verses are from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.