I had been reading a lot of artists who worked on real life paintings, and saw many pictures from artists who were just starting, so I geared up the courage to do a real life painting. In the past years I limited myself to still-life, floral, and landscapes, so this was a HUGE leap for me!
I sketched my outline (the first time I’ve EVER done that! Terrible of me, huh?) :-D, and began to apply pastel. I did the eyes first, I had a book to guide me and give me some helps, and I prayed a bit, so I don’t know why I was surprised when they actually turned out pretty good! I was greatly encouraged, and commenced the rest of the snow leopard cub.
When I was finished, I was actually kind of frustrated and disappointed. I had some trouble with the paper filling with pigment to quickly, so I wasn’t able to get all the layers in I wanted. My proportions were off, I didn’t have the colors I wanted, so all in all, I just got discouraged and said I would never do a real-life painting again!
That night as I was getting ready for bed, the room was dark, besides the soft light escaping from the closet door. In the beam of the light I caught a glance of the eyes of that cub. It was almost as if they were reproaching me, and I felt the Lord’s still small beckoning. As I stood over that painting, God chastised me for being disappointed.
“I have blessed you with a beautiful gift, but you cannot expect every aspect of it to come easily. Even with great talent comes different times and portions of learning so one can better themselves for My glory!”
I looked again at the cub’s eyes and I thought, “Who am I to be disappointed when God obviously wants me to work to glorify Him with my gift? I’ve learned at least one thing with this painting, and that’s those eyes!”
Now when I think about it, I find I was probably responding very similarly to the servant in the parable Jesus told about the talents (Matthew 25:13-29). He gave three different servants three different amounts of talents. Two of the servants worked hard to develop the talents their master had given them, and gradually multiplied their talents. One servant did nothing with his talent, and when the master came back was severely punished.
It’s almost as if I was sitting there with this talent, expecting to be pleasing the Lord when I wasn’t putting any work to develop and multiply my skills. What a sober lesson for me, to realize that, in order for God to develop me how He wants to in EVERY area of my life, I must be willing to take the step (pick up the pastel, learn the difficult part of that song, practice that new technique) and make an effort to work and develop those areas that He has blessed me in.
Praise God for the way His Holy Spirit works in our lives!