The hubs and I are both naturally drawn to the arts. Original paintings make my days happy. Strolling through random galleries in any city I ever visit is a must. Photography exhibits make me giddy. Live plays in small theatres are nearly the best except for large productions in big theatres which is the arch rival. But how can one choose, really. Bands playing in small clubs before they get too popular is our joy. (My husband has the best story about how Nirvana came on stage randomly while they were at a school gym to see some other band and played a full set. Good times…)
When we were just babes and dating one another the best gifts that I ever received were things that he made for me. There were sketches of funny characters in homemade cards and sculpted flowers out of wax and coat hangers.
After we were married we vowed to only hang original art up on our walls and not have prints purchased at IKEA adorning our front entrance, lovely as it may look. There’s just something so raw and captivating about a piece of real art on the wall. Plus, it’s something we want to support, those starving artists. Thankfully we have a few friends who are artists (like the real deal!) and so we got some great pieces as wedding gifts. And of course I’ll never forget the Valentine’s Day that I got one of my very favourite paintings as a gift, that one knocked my socks off!
All of this to say, it’s only natural in our home that we desire to share the arts with our children. Not only do we want to share our loves with them but we want them to see the beauty, to grasp the time and energy that goes in and to really develop an appreciation and love for the arts.
We do this with music as well. Explaining the difference between a band who writes their own music, works hard and pours their soul into what they do and a singer who is told what they’re going to sing and how they’re going to sing it. There’s a difference!
Edith Schaeffer asks the questions, “What is Art? Authorities do not agree. Definitions differ. Who draws the line that separates:
Art from Design?
Sculpture from Ornaments?
Poetry from Jingles?
Great Music from Pooh’s Hums?
Great Literature from Daily News?
Is Art beauty, or depth, or expression?
Is Art communication calling for response?
Is Art the talent for involving other human beings in what otherwise would remain locked in the mind?
Is Art something that draws many into the beauty, joy and vividness of another person’s understanding?
Is art something that includes others in the torn struggling of another person’s suffering?
I don’t know the answers to each of these. I only know what my perceptions are. What I do know is that art involves creativity and originality, whatever form it takes, and I think the reason I’m so drawn to art is that it helps me to see God. The artist, working on their piece, reminds me of the great Artist we read about in Colossians. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible.”
There was no tracing by God. No copyright infringement. Just pure creative juices flowing in the best form they’ve ever flowed!
All of that to say, just recently we introduced our children to their first live theatre! (!!!) I know they’ve seen plays in school put on by other schools and I love that but this felt different to them. We headed into the city, ate a nice dinner and then walked a few blocks on a frigid night to a charmingly small theatre. So small that when we entered the boys looked at me with dismay. “How can they create Narnia in here?” One asked. I simply raised my eyebrows and shrugged my shoulders not wanting to explain it, just wanting them to experience it.
The next line of questioning came when they read the playbill. “Mom there’s only 2 characters. Just Peter and Lucy. How can they call it The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe if there’s only 2 characters?” I could see hesitation setting in. They were fearing boredom, I could just tell. “Watch,” I whispered to them, and they did.
Magic happened that night in the tiny theatre. 3 boys, who love Apps and Video games as much as the next guy, were on the edge of their seats. They would lean forward to look at me with huge grins on their faces. They would start to say something excitedly and I shushed them and repeated the words, “Watch!”
The stage that night, which was no bigger than their bedrooms, was transformed into a spare ‘oom, a snowy wonderland complete with lamp post, both a beaver’s and a fawn’s home, though nothing in the props or set changed at all. They were taken to the White Witch’s castle on her sleigh, they stood beside the stone table and they rode on the back of Aslan himself. In a word, they were captivated.
The play was marvelous and it had every effect that I hoped it would. In an age of constant go, go go, gadgetry and billboards, messages being flashed at us in every direction and fast-paced games and movies that suck the very life out of us I wanted my boys to see something simple, yet not simple at all. I wanted them to see the power of the imagination, the genius of two artists who were able to play every role needed to tell the entire story, the creativity of lighting that shifted from cold blue snow to the warmth of a fire. I wanted them to see magic in the arts and they did.
They left mesmerized and enchanted and they wanted to be quiet and smile and blabber about all of their favourite parts all at the same time. It affirmed in me a need to do this for our children. To expose them to more than just a screen. To show them the real deal. To show them creativity and expression and the power of the mind. To show them another window into the heart and character of God.
Also want to announce that the winner of the Karla’s Teas Sampler Tea Pack is Rebecca! If you can send me your contact info we’ll get it sent off to you straight away so you can be sipping and sampling over the holidays!