WIP: Eat, Sleep, Paint…Repeat

Or…

Please be patient;  I’m a WIP (Work In Progress)

Work in Progress, © 2018 Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© 2018 Lynn Abbott

On an open shelf in my studio sits a shiny red coffee mug.  It first caught my eye at one of the Smithsonian’s gift shops.

I’ve filled that shiny ceramic vessel with charcoal pencils, and paint brushes.  It’s a beautiful reminder of my visit, but that’s not why I bought it.

Rather, I found inspiration in its imprinted motto–the words of master artist Michelangelo: “I am still learning.”

And I think to myself, if Michelangelo felt it necessary to continue learning for all his life, then I definitely should anticipate spending the rest of my life seeking the same.

With this in mind, I enrolled in post-graduate school this past January.  Now, if you work full-time as well as manage a household and family, you’ll understand just how crazy my decision was.

Never mind the fact that I am a woman of a certain age.

But sure enough, I now devote many hours to study for my Art Atelier classes.  Yes, I know.  I already work full-time as an artist.

So why bother?

In fact, sometimes, I ask myself if I have lost my mind.  Have I spent too many hours breathing paint fumes?

And viewing my decision from a purely time management perspective, I recognize that taking on yet another “task” probably wasn’t the wisest decision I ever made.

But then, I catch a glimpse of that shiny red mug and read Michelangelo’s poignant words: “I am still learning.”

And I smile and nod because I know that unlike Michelangelo, I have a long way to go before I achieve anything akin to mastery.

I suspect that art will continue to challenge me until I step into eternity.  For this reason, my passion for creativity never grows old.

“I am still learning,” ~Michelangelo

Yet, to be perfectly honest,  I must admit to you that I have never liked “practicing.”  I want to master the arts, but putting in the tedious time and effort into practice isn’t my favorite.

Never has been. I actually gave up  piano lessons as a child simply because I thought the required discipline was monotonous.

But there is no getting away from this universal principle:   mastery requires daily discipline.

Yup, my art mentor reminds me that I will need to practice foundational drawing skills for the rest of my life.  He notes that no matter how skilled I become, I must continue to review and practice the basics.

Oh, dear me…

I’d much prefer to study something, check it off the list and move on to more “interesting” bits.

Forget the drill and practice.  That’s boring.  Enough already.  Haven’t I learned that lesson already?

This past week, though, my mentor reminded me that while I might understand a concept, the more I drill my lesson, the more I will ensure that that particular skill becomes my default mode.

In other words, I practice to memorize and ultimately make my learning intuitive.

As I pondered this, I felt that familiar and gentle tug on my heart…the Holy Spirit’s nudge.

You betcha.   Sometimes, I have whinged about trials: “Haven’t I already completed this lesson?  Haven’t I walked this way before? Why do I seem to repeat this test again and again?”

If you are anything like me, you probably like to study something, check it off the list and move on to the “interesting” bits.

But you see, becoming more like Jesus isn’t a matter of understanding a Biblical Truth and checking off a lesson.

No, Abba wants Biblical truth and Christ-like character to become my default mode.

As athletes say, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

Or, as my art mentor exhorts, I need to continually drill down on the fundamentals.

Actually,  the Apostle Paul had something to say about this.

Of course, he did.

In 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27, he wrote, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. ”

Paul added this challenge: “They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”

He continued this same theme in 1 Timothy 4:7-8, “…On the other hand, discipline yourself to the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

Mastering Biblical fundamentals requires commitment to daily practice.

In other words, there’s no such thing as “once and done” for disciples.

Becoming more like Christ–the process of my sanctification–is not a “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt” proposition.

And, in fact, two giants of the faith could attest to this.  When I consider Abram, I see that God tested Abram’s trust in God again and again.  Abraham actually lied twice about Sarai’s relationship to him; evidently, he feared that powerful leaders might harm him in order to win beautiful Sarai, and thus, he sought to protect himself (Genesis 12; Genesis 20).   God later tested Abraham’s faith regarding Isaac–Abraham’s only, beloved son (Genesis 22).

There’s no such thing as “once and done” for disciples.

In much the same way, Peter faced repeated tests throughout his life.  Although Peter regularly spoke boldly for Christ,  the apostle nevertheless struggled with “people pleasing.”

After all, Peter denied Christ for fear of the Jewish leaders, (John 18: 12-27).  And later, the apostle Paul confronted Peter because Peter had stopped eating with Gentile Christians in order to please those who identified themselves as the Party of Circumcision, (Galatians 2:11-12).

Indeed.  If New and Old Testament saints like Peter and Abraham had to repeat spiritual lessons, I undoubtedly will.

No doubt about it…Mastery requires repeated practice.

And since the goal is to make Christ-like character my default mode,  I can count on repeated tests.

Even so, Abba promises us that discipline ultimately yields Christlike character, (Hebrews 12:11).

James defines this as being “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” (James 1:2-4).

You betcha.

A successful athlete or artist knows that one cannot rest on one’s laurels, so to speak.

Ongoing success requires paying careful attention to the fundamentals. Mastery demands ongoing review, discipline and practice.

Such qualities define the life of artists and athletes…

Yet, how much more should this kind of discipline characterize the live of those of us who follow the Master,  our Sovereign-Savior, and seek to become more like Him?

That’s right. I think I’m getting the idea…

As a committed disciple, I will choose to “Eat, Sleep, Seek Christ, and… Repeat.”

“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek; That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, To behold the beauty of the LORD, and to meditate in His temple… When Thou didst say, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to Thee, ‘Thy face, O LORD, I shall seek'” ~Psalm 27: 4, 8

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” ~Philippians 3:13-14

“On the Drafting Table.  WIP and Me…”

 

90 Replies to “WIP: Eat, Sleep, Paint…Repeat”

    1. Aww… you are so truly kind and good to me, dear Lindsay! Thank you with all my heart! I do so long to grow as I know you do from your beautiful blog posts! Thank you for your thoughtful words here! You have encouraged me and blessed me more than you can imagine!! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Thank you. I am sure your studies will be enriching and helpful in your work. Speaking of ateliers. Perugino had a busy atelier.

    https://betweentwocities.com/2008/08/01/perugino-presages-palmer/

    David Larkin

    On Sun, Sep 16, 2018 at 5:36 PM Through Ink & Image wrote:

    > lynnabbottstudios posted: “Or… Please be patient; I’m a WIP (Work In > Progress) © 2018 Lynn Abbott On an open shelf in my studio sits a shiny red > coffee mug. It first caught my eye at one of the Smithsonian’s gift shops. > I’ve filled that shiny ceramic vessel with cha” >

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You do such amazing work and it has to be God inspired in each piece. I love this image as well. It just pops out at me. I agree with you about practicing and the older I get I realize I still need to continue growing in all facets of life. As you mentioned, we can’t just sit back and say we have arrived. God expects us to keep pressing toward the mark, training and perfecting along the way – knowing we will never arrive at perfection here on Earth. That’s part of the joy of life – learning and growing each day. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, yeah!! So very true, Ron!! And thank you with all my heart for your kind words about my paintings. I do indeed pray over each one, and God is so very, very good to me. I’m so glad you like this painting. It is yet unfinished… I haven’t really begun to paint the foreground… the river and river banks. I will complete this piece this coming Saturday…painting this outside since this bridge runs right through the center of my town. So, you may see this one again in a more completed state. 🙂 God bless you greatly, my talented friend!!

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      1. You are so talented yourself, thoughtful and generous. I can already picture the bridge in your town. It is no doubt beautiful and peaceful. It reminds me of how God continues to paint His picture of us and what it will look like when our work here is done. Each one of us is a masterpiece in which He delights. Sometimes he is displeased and corrects the image toward His vision. I hope I don’t create a lot of revisions – however, He never gives up. 🙂

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      2. That’s exactly how I see it, Ron! We are God’s masterpieces and yes, I know I need a lot of revising! 🙂 Thank you for your very thoughtful and kind comment! You are truly an encouraging and wonderful friend! 🙂 God bless you!

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  3. We will never be perfect until we pass from this world into God’s kingdom. I truly believe that our mortal life is a time of grace allotted us so we can be made ready for that day. Our learning here will be nothing in comparison.to the wealth of knowledge waiting for us there. Lovely post and yes we are kindred spirits!

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  4. Oh Lynn, this is so encouraging, I too gave up piano because of my unwillingness to dedicate myself to daily practice of something I considered mundane and boring (Haha!) I too love art and word and Michelangelo’s words are beautiful, such great inspiration to keep learning, keep mastering the basics. I am now in stage of life where I am becoming an expert in mundane things that I don’t love, like laundry, cooking and cleaning, it almost makes me wish I’d spent time disciplining myself with daily practice all those years ago, I’d be more efficient!
    However, I have disciplined myself to spend time daily with my Lord, and the difference is that time with the Lord makes the mundane more than efficient, it makes it worthwhile. Time with the Lord also inspires the creative within. When we spend only time on the mundane, resentment kicks in. However, when we spend our time covering the basics with the Master, becoming more like him, practicing, then the rest of life becomes fun and more efficient, by default there is a flow on effect of mastery in other areas and delight in other relationships. Isn’t God wonderful!
    Have a blessed day, I hope you thoroughly enjoy your season of stretching. What a gift! Bless you, Lots of love, L

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, Lauren, you are so very very wise! Thank you for adding your keen insights and thoughts here! I hope many read your thoughtful comment! Time with the Lord certainly does make everything else fall into place! I have found that to be true over and over again! And yes, the mundane can really drag…but as you say, it is a season and one in which God can bring great joy as we tune into Him. You are such a fantastic example for us all! Your faith, joy and humility truly inspire me and I suspect, everyone who knows you! God bless you, my sweet and wonderful friend!! ❤ ❤

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      1. Yes, over and over again is so true. How good is God, I am only faithful etc, because he is the treasure within me. A very earthen vessel to be sure, with many cracks out of which can shine his beautiful light. Praise God that he makes the broken beautiful for his glory. Have a lovely weekend Lynn. We are off and offline for a few weeks. Lots of love L

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  5. Once again you’ve managed to beautifully weave our journey along ‘the Way’ into a few short, musings and perfectly scripted anecdotes.
    Take a well earned bow young sister.

    PS I don’t recognise the old Viaduct, but I’m guessing that by ththe ‘mood and tones’ we’re still back in Italy. Perfect. X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww… thank you, Warren! You are very kind and a true friend and godly brother!! And I’m not surprised that you don’t recognize the Viaduct… this is the simply the beginning of a plein air painting…the ruddy color paint is my under-painting. I will complete this piece outside this coming Saturday. The “viaduct” is actually an old train bridge here in Virginia. I live in a gorgeous, old Colonial town…full of as much history as you can find here on this side of the pond. 😉 Of course, nothing compares to GB or Europe, but this is about as close as I can find in the “New World.” All this to say, I wish I were painting outside this Saturday in Italy… but for now, Virginia will have to suffice. 😉 😀 God bless you greatly, my kind and most generous friend!

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  6. WOW Lynn, good for you! I, similar to you, like checking things off my list. But there is no substitute for everyday practicing and learning to achieve something great. Almost blogging for 2 years now, I feel I am getting better over time as well. Mind you…I have a looong way to go, to be where I want to be…but the daily grind and repetition definitely works. I learn something new everyday. It’s hard for me to imagine your paintings getter any better than they are now…but I am sure you have a goal you want to achieve and I applaud you!

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    1. Your blog is and always has been top-notch, dear Denise!! I think you need your own show on HGTV, DIY or TLC! I learn so much and glean so many awesome ideas every time I visit you blog! I absolutely LOVE it! And thank you for your extremely thoughtful and encouraging words. I feel I have so far to go with my painting to achieve the excellence that I desire. But I continually remind myself that every step forward brings me that much closer! And that is a truly encouraging thought. 😀 Have a beautiful week, dear friend…but of course, you will… You create beauty everywhere you go! 🙂 ❤ ❤

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    1. Thank you, dear Shae! It’s so great to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way! And thank you for your kind words about my writing and painting… the painting, of course, is unfinished. I needed to picture here a “Work in Progress” 😀 Love and hugs to you! ❤ ❤

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  7. Wow Lynn! The way you tie together what you learn through painting, what the Bible teaches, and the application to our spiritual lives is amazing. Thank you for this encouraging post to remind us how necessary it is for us to keep learning as “Abba wants Biblical truth and Christ-like character to become my default mode.” As always, your painting is beautiful. And I love the saying on the mug. 🙂 I pray God will give you strength and wisdom to keep up with the art class on top of everything else. It sounds like you’re learning a lot already. I love that you tie it in with a spiritual lesson for us. 🙂 Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Oh, Trudy… your words encourage me today more than you can possibly imagine! Thank you with all my heart. And your prayers mean the world to me! What a gift your friendship is! I pray God blesses you beyond anything you could ever imagine! Love and huge hugs to you, dear Trudy! ❤ ❤

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  8. Oh Lynn! I so wanted to see that red mug……loved that you showed a picture of it. Yes we all are still learning…….yes, we all are a work in progress. For me it is two steps forward, and then, three steps back! In Deuteronomy 4:10 it says this: “Gather the people to ME, that I may let them hear MY words, so that they may LEARN to fear ME all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.” May we never stop learning and thanks for this post that so reminds of that!

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    1. Oh, I’m delighted, dear Maxine! I’m so glad that I thought to photograph the mug! 🙂 And amen to that beautiful passage from Deuteronomy! Thank you for including it in your comment. I hope others are as blessed in the reading of it as I am!! Love and hugs to you, my godly friend! ❤

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  9. Dear Lynn, I’ve looked forward all week to reading this new post. It has comforted me on a sleepless night! You are surely inspiring. From someone who, too, quit piano lessons for the same reasons as you, I need this reminder to practice the fundamentals of my faith and art. Like I said, you are always an inspiration! Much love and sending my prayers as you go deeper into your work. So wonderful! Deb

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    1. Oh, dearest Deb… we should have emailed one another. I couldn’t sleep last night either. You are truly my kindred spirit, and I hope and pray that one day we will meet here on earth! It would be so fantastic to be able to talk over a cup of tea or lunch! Thank you so much for your kindness, your encouragement and your beautiful friendship! Love you so much! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

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  10. I love this! Yes, this describes the process of discipleship; of sanctification; the process of our salvation which will not be complete until Jesus returns for us and takes us to be with him, and our relationship with him is consummated. We are all a work in progress, and we should always be learning, but not with head knowledge only, but with heart knowledge, which is applied learning.

    We should be becoming like Jesus, and yes, it takes daily practice, continuing in the faith, putting on the armor of God, fleeing temptation, resisting the enemy and drawing near to God in full assurance of faith. I love the way you shared this in such a practical and understandable way which we can apply to our daily lives. Thank you so much! Love you, Lynn! ❤

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  11. Can I just say I love your heart for others. Seeing so many beautiful and encouraging comments from you, it fills my heart. There is a hymn called I love to walk with Jesus and I feel like these are like the lessons we have. He wants us to go over them daily. Not till we get it but when we live it daily without a pricking of the Spirit. 🙂

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    1. Yes to “I love to walk with Jesus” and all you say about walking with Him! You completely “get it!” And I always love and appreciate that about you, dear TR! Thank you for your thoughtfulness. You are too kind, but your words truly uplift me! Your friendship is truly a huge blessing …so thankful to blogging for it allowed me to meet and get to know you!!!!! Love and huge hugs!

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