watching, reading, and writing stories

Why do I make Art?

I was skimming through old school assignments today and came across this question I had to answer. Here’s what I wrote five years ago:

Why do I make art? That’s a hard question. I’ve been doing it so long it seems like part of who I am. I was always told I was good at art when I was growing up so I kept doing it. I think the satisfaction of someone seeing my work and approving it was what I sought after. But I don’t think that’s the whole reason. I mean I like people’s good opinion, but I think I also like the shared experience of the artwork. When I make a painting of a sunset, or some landscape, it’s because I see it and I just want to capture it. I don’t ever want to forget what it looked like and felt like, and then when others see it too, it makes me feel like I got to share that experience. I also love art because, I feel like it’s worth the work, like at the end of the project there’s a deep satisfaction and enjoyment of the work. When I finish a big paper for class, I never want to see it again, but when I finish a painting, I want to show it off, to hang it up and let the world see it. I guess I also really admire O’Keeffe and how she took something that no one would notice and made it where you couldn’t ignore or miss it anymore, like the everyday flower. I feel like that’s what I want in my art, for people to be able to see and appreciate what I see. To not just see another sunset, but see the purples, pinks, yellows, the beams of light and vibrancy that make it unique, that might never happen again. I just love seeing the beauty in nature, and I want others to see it too, so I paint, draw, take a picture, or whatever. I don’t know if my art is meaningful, if there is some great question or problem I’m trying to address. I guess it could be as simple as stop and smell the flowers, enjoy life, it is so beautiful and amazing. And maybe this won’t always be the case, I’m sure the problems and changes in life will affect what I make and what I want others to notice, but I’d like to hope that I’ll always be positive and uplifting with my art, because that’s who I want to be and what I want others to get from my art.

I think many of these reasons still are true for me. But a conversation I had the other day reminded me of how much more significant artwork can be when it’s used for God. For the past two years my mother and I have worked on making small watercolors to give away to people at prayer rooms. These pictures could have a scene from nature with a verse, or some object or person represented. But the whole point of them was to remind people of truth, not just with words but with images. It’s been amazing to see how God has used these little pictures to encourage people, remind them of His love and provision and speak truth.

So I think the reason I make art has grown, to not just make people notice what they’ve been missing in nature, but to recognize the God who made nature, us, and everything. I hope my artwork continues to improve and glorify the God who enabled me to make it in the first place.

And since I’ve talked about it so much, I thought I’d share a few pieces of artwork.


Using Your Gifts and Talents

This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to make artwork for a women’s conference. I’ve always enjoyed making little paintings and watercolors, but in more recent years I’ve started to see ways how I can use this hobby for God’s glory.

It all started with my mom’s birthday a few years back. She wanted to celebrate with a lot of people, but she didn’t want a bunch of presents. So she thought we could have a few donation options for people to give to in lieu of presents. Our church had been doing a similar thing with Christmas where you could donate to a charity and get a small ornament to give to a friend or family member and let them know that you gave the gift in their honor. My mom set up the church’s charity as one of her options, so people could get an ornament if they gave to that. (Maybe I should mention my mom’s birthday is in December). Anyway, she had a couple of other charities that she wanted to support and she thought it would be fun to have something to give if you supported one of those. Since all of the girls in my family like art, we decided to make several small paintings. Then if someone gave $50 or more they could have their pick of a little painting.

Here’s a couple of the paintings:

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These were my first attempts at more inspirational artwork. And one lady at the party asked if we had ever heard of or done prophetic art. The idea sounded a little weird to me at the time, but I think I kind of understand it a little better now. We all have different gifts and talents in the body of Christ. And art, just like any gift can be used for God’s glory. He can sometimes speak to people in pictures instead of words and I’ve found that combining the two is especially meaningful to me.

So fast-forward a couple years and my parents got involved in a Healing Ministry that wanted to give artwork to people who came to be prayed for. My mother volunteered and got me in on the reoccurring project. We decided to make watercolors since they are quicker and cheaper to make, especially if you need so many for one month. As I began with these paintings, I started to focus more and more on God’s Word and verses that spoke to me. Sometimes I’d start with a verse and try to paint something to match it, other times I’d start with an image and then find a verse to go with it. But each time I was excited to see how it would turn out and how others were impacted by it.

Here are some of the watercolors I’ve made:

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So when the opportunity came to do some more for a conference, I said yes and got to join with a friend and do it together. It was a little new for both of us to be making art with other people around, but it was also fun and I hope all the women at the conference who ended up with one of the paintings or drawings was blessed by it. In any case, I’m excited that God has given me these talents and opportunities and has more in store for me in the future.

So whatever your talent or gift is, I hope you look for opportunities to bless others with it and glorify God.



How do you decide when something is finished? Whether it’s writing a report for a class, or refurbishing your house, all projects eventually need to be “done.” I’ve had friends and relatives, and I admit I’ve fallen into this category too, who are perfectionists. We want everything to be perfect, we want our best effort to be seen. And well this makes it hard to ever be “finished.”

However, I’ve started to overcome this obstacle to finishing. I think it started in my first painting class in college. I had painted before, and well… it took forever. Every dab of paint was important, I had to use tiny dots of paint on my brush so I didn’t have too much and mess up all my work. It seriously took me at least four months to finish one tiny little picture.

Well the first day of class I come in to find that we will be painting 6 pictures in one semester, all on large canvases. My world was turned upside down. I couldn’t paint like a perfectionist anymore, the limited amount of time wouldn’t let me. And so, I changed. Instead of putting tiny dots of paint on my brush, I’d scoop up a big blob. Instead of dabbing the canvas, I’d make big strokes. It was hard to relearn, to change, to be uncomfortable with “the mess.” But thankfully I had a good teacher. He showed me that if I just went for it, and got all the basic shapes and colors arranged, then I could come back in with details later and still end up with a beautiful painting.

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I think the same thing can happen with writers. We start off wanting to write something, a novel perhaps, or a poem, or whatever. But we want it to be perfect, to perfectly express what’s in our minds. And that makes it hard to start. We can spend so much time on little changes, on using “the perfect word” to describe something, that we end up never finishing.

Instead I’d challenge writers to just start. Spit out whatever is on your brain, even if it isn’t very good, and then come back later and “touch up.” That’s what editing is for anyway. And then when you finally finish that paper or project, celebrate! Don’t critique yourself with little errors you missed, just enjoy the final product and relax.

So here’s a poem I “finished.” Hope you enjoy it. 🙂

Lydia Hill

February 2, 2012

Life’s Gait

I used to take riding lessons

in the dust of a parched Texas summer.

The steady beat and swift breeze

kept me circling the worn path.

Click of the tongue,

nudge to the stomach,

tug on the reigns,

up and down with the motion.

Sometimes we canter quickly,

sometimes we walk slow,

but always we must move.

We cannot stop the flow

round the earth,

round the sun,

the motion of time,

since life first begun.

We like to think

we have control,

that our choices determine

where we will go.

Then in the air, all

power stripped away

hit the hard ground

wondering what went wrong

Did I lose control

or ever even have it?

Legs shake as I rose, to face

my choice.

Do I sit out on life?

Or jump back in?

It will keep moving,

whatever my decision.

I could fall again,

and break more than my pride.

But is security worth the price,

of losing out on life?

I climbed back on,

determined to keep in mind

that despite my lack of control,

life is still a fun ride.

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