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Stories from the Studio: Being Present by Gabrielle Dearman

by Gabrielle Dearman ~ Media Intern for The Worship Studio

In the artist group meeting at River Oaks this week, we had a great discussion about being present in the creative process. Matt started off showing us one of his baskets that is in progress. He talked about his process and how he gets so into the very weaving that his hands can even “check out” and he feels totally content in that place, needing nothing more than that moment. He then read a few excerpts from Thomas Sterner’s book, The Practicing Mind, that encouraged those of us listening to embrace the process of creativity rather than striving for perfection in only one moment of our work, for example, the ending product. We were challenged to believe, as we shared about our places of contentment and discontentment in our own creative processes, that the beginning, middle, end, and every moment of the creative process is perfect.

One of the most helpful takeaways from the discussion was the reminder to speak faith over our art instead of fear. We must learn to rest in the middle of pushing through a challenging artwork and see the mystery and beauty in it instead of fretting and being afraid of the unknown. We discussed the importance of intentionally bringing an awareness in each step of our creative process. As we spend time creating in worship and prayer, and enjoying following the Spirit of God through that time of connection, we are more able to flow creatively without getting stuck worrying about the outcome of our work. Awareness makes it possible to find new revelations and insights during the creative process that can be shared and celebrated with others.

I’m always surprised at how these community group meetings speak to the very place where I am in my own creative development. Not too long ago, I entered the very strange stage of metamorphosis in my creative journey that I have started referring to as a “Style Shift.” Apparently, this particular style shift calls for bigger canvases, a combination of broad brush strokes and tiny detailed patterns, and lengthier, undefined time frames of painting. I must admit I started out excited, but quickly became frustrated with the process and even a bit fearful.

When arriving home after the group meeting, I unlocked and opened my apartment door, and that big 36″ x 48″ painting-in-process was right there to welcome me home. And for the first time in my life, I considered an unfinished work of my art to be perfect.

“Stories from the Studio” is our weekly series by Gabrielle Dearman where she will be sharing about the happenings at River Oaks – The Worship Studio’s local creative community here in Asheville. Check it out each week as Gabrielle shares highlights from our local artist group meetings, community days, workshops, and all the other great things happening in our creative community.