At my church, Pastor Brad has been doing a series of sermons on worship, and today the sermon was "Worship and Beauty". As an artist, art and beauty go hand-in-hand. I think that most artists are lovers of beauty. For me, the creative process is attempting to express that feeling that I get when I see something of beauty, whatever that might be, then recreate it on paper or canvas in hopes that others will feel what I felt. I guess its all part of the longing as a person to know God better and to be known better by others.
To me, sketching outside in a beautiful place like that is a form of worship. I see, hear and smell the sounds of nature around me. I'm aware that God created all of this (for me!) and being out in the midst of it brings me such peace and an overwhelming sense of God's presence. Like Psalm 23 says, "He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul." Being out in nature really does "restore my soul" by it's beauty and it's reflection of who God is. I think that's why I usually find it easier to "pray on my feet" when I'm on walks. My conversations with God seem to flow so naturally when I'm out there with all of the amazing things He's made.
If I'm lucky, the wonderfulness of it all will stick to the paper of my sketchbook and I'll have a great drawing. Sometimes though, I get frustrated with my drawing and just give up. The vastness of the view is so grand, and my drawing seems so inadequate in my own eyes. As I try to capture all of my feelings on paper (and even though I'm not usually successful at it), I need to keep reminding myself that it's the process and not the outcome of my drawing that is the worshipful-ness of it all.
As even my words here struggle to express what I feel, it's a good feeling to at least try to get it out there, share it and hope that something "sticks" as a small piece of encouragement to you. Pastor Brad said this morning, "Worship and beauty are traveling companions that are never found far from one another." So, the next time you're outside, take a look around and take notice of the beauty around you, and tell God, "Thanks!". Because He made it just for you.