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Musings about art, hope and flight

Birds.

 

I am fascinated by their anatomy, freedom and movement. They are very vulnerable to hunters, environmental conditions, predators, etc., yet they survive as the magnificent creatures that they are in spite of the odds. Needless to say, much of their glory is in their ability to fly, something that a lot of human beings desire or associate to hoping. Birds, like the ones in the stories of Noah and of Elijah, are messengers of hope to me because I tend to feel inferior and think about dropping out of school to develop on my own as an artist, free from all the pressure from deadlines, comparison to other students, failures, fears of failing and expectations. However, I realize that by doing so I would be taking myself away from the very place  that is probably most conducive for my growth, like placing a bird of the forest inside a cage. A whole life of adventure, learning, freedom and living out your true design traded for… Security? Preservation of life? Unless its for suicide or a quicker or easier death, this method is self-defeating.

 

"At least other people won’t be doing it to me. It’s my own choice." What about you? What’s the reason behind you wanting to run away? If you’re like me, you would also be making the mistake of comparing yourself with others.

 

I’ve learned that there are almost as many ways of flying as there are kinds of birds. And similarly with us, students in the art world (Though I welcome readers from any other field of study/work), we all share the same affinity and ability to thrive in the air, but we will always have our differences because all of us are made unique. This uniqueness ought to be used to inspire and encourage one another as we each will have our unique contribution to the world, but because of the ambiguity of art’s meaning, people are free to impute their own desired meanings to it. Art begins to feel like a sport, in which the only rule is “what works.” (I have heard it often said in the Work of Art reality TV series). And it’s true that if you don’t stand for your convictions, you will not stand at all. We in wanting to succeed will compare ourselves to others and get paralyzed. I am a victim of my own choice of such assumptions, but as I learn to let go and find better assumptions, a clearer mind set is developed. I become less encumbered, carrying only the things that give me to live and let others live. What I believe and what I strive for in art. That freedom—life—is what I want to have its way in spite the limits of my work.

 

I have yet a small body of works. A lot of my time in the UP College of Fine Arts has had to be spent on my internal development (such as ‘befriending’ the media we use, learning how to overcome my doubts, learning to listen and ask questions, being in a place saturated by people who know art and about it more than I do) than technical skills. Skills can be learned, practiced, honed and even taught, but the mind, the soul, needs to be fed. More than anything it’s the inspiration, direction, motivation and determination I’ve been lacking, because of the wrong set of assumptions. My feet got caught in snares. But I thank God for there is never a failure, grief or difficulty wasted in light of all the hope I will have gained and shared.

 

I find that I am drawn to works that are not only innovative or masterfully done, but art that is rich in meaning, not necessarily art that is popularly acclaimed, but art whose form and narrative deeply resonates to me personally and to the viewers. Given the uniqueness of every individual there is actually no single way for a goal such as this to be accomplished. We all do need inspiration. And I’ve learned that there is a hope that can be shared with everyone, not just kept to myself. I want to share this hope that is real to me, in spite of my limitations.

 

I guess the struggle comes from the idea that a full message about hope cannot be displayed in just one canvas, or even a lifetime of works. But still, somehow a degree of that spiritual resonance (Thanks Kandinsky) can and will get to people, because we’re all given the ability to create and associate meanings. And more importantly, in the end, it’s not what you do but who you are that will affect others most (I heard that in one of Paul Washer’s sermons). I believe that’s true for every person. After all, people don’t admire works alone (but the artistry found in them), nor do people want their works to be admired while they themselves are taken out of the picture. It’s always the person before his/her performance.

 

As for me, in all things, I want to give glory to my Maker who alone is perfect, the One whose light far outweighs all that is sorrowful, ugly, dark and painful in the world and in ourselves, the One who is at work in my life as much as He is in the rest of His creation. He deemed us worthy of the agonies he faced in His life and death, because of the sheer joy His heart was holding onto, the hope of reconciling to Himself what He has made and what He has been zealously longing for. That He is walking in and around me all throughout this deep darkness, towards His kingdom of unimaginable glory, fills me with so much hope that I want my life to speak of.

Christ broke down the three barriers that separated man from God: the barrier of nature by His incarnation, the barrier of sin by His death, and the barrier of death by His Resurrection.
Saint Nicholas Cabasilas (via assumptionofthesaints)

132 notes

written 11/3/12 edited 4/14/13

see, i got used to going through the motions all my life. letting things pass by because it seemed better that way, better than me having anything to do with it. i didn’t have a clear vision, let alone a hope or a direction until of late, now that im getting to know God and his plan for my life.

i am delayed in learning how to discipline myself in setting up goals and making the follow-through list, plus the follow-through itself. i held on to blindness and rebellion, they fed my emotions, but didn’t heal me. only Jesus can and is willing to do it. over and over again.

i remember Paul who described himself as one of abnormal birth. all his life he thought he was in the right, but he was so wrong and God changed him. Jesus showed himself to him and changed him forever. it is never too late for any of us, because GOD is the One working, initiating, chasing, maintaining, loving, bearing, filling, cleansing, sanctifying, reconciling, correcting, uplifting. He makes even single words resonate with so much meaning, simply because He. Is.

i am thankful, like little worm towards the most powerful Being that could’ve easily crushed it but loved it instead. that the Lord is patient with the mess-up kid that i’ve been. not just enduring… but enjoying me. even salvaging my miserable mistakes in order to make a perfect work of art, a huge work, bigger and better than what i’m capable of imagining, involving all creation. i am confident that He who began this work will carry it to completion until His day, always bearing with every single one of us. what grace.

James 1:2-5
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Even the weakest saint can experience the power of the deity of the Son of God, when he is willing to “let go.” But any effort to “hang on” to the least bit of our own power will only diminish the life of Jesus in us. We have to keep letting go, and slowly, but surely, the great full life of God will invade us, penetrating every part. Then Jesus will have complete and effective dominion in us, and people will take notice that we have been with Him.
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest  (via godmoves)

(Source: somanysisters)

279 notes

(This ^ is a link.)

I am quite in a rush and cannot devote more time to blog about my reflections on this link due to time and bodily constraints, but this is for everyone who is desperate in their pursuit of God and desires to have a tangle-free emotional life.

It’s full of-sorta-rules that I might have rejected in an instant if I had read this a long time ago, because rules usually equate to unnecessarily suffocating boredom.

But I really went on a quest for this because I realize I’d been doing very poorly, if at all, in guarding my heart and in guarding my neighbors’ and brothers’ hearts as well. A lot of blood has been spilled, and I cannot ‘unspill’ them. Seeing these devastating effects, I am driven to depend fully on His grace and mercy, interceding for them, and striving to be a wiser and godly person. I am in no way proud that I had a part in breaking people’s hearts more than once in my life, for having masked lust with the face of love and for choosing to desire less than God’s love in my desire for autonomy. I had this epiphany that a lot of my failures have been brought about by this self-slavery. I abhor lust in my old self, and I know that alone I cannot pry my chains away. Only God can if I would just quit kicking and screaming. I praise Him who is powerfully at work in me and with me, that I am now even a slave (and a happy one!) to righteousness—aching to do what is right, not for mere morality’s sake, but for Christ’s sake!

I desire complete freedom in the One who created me for Himself. My old life has been a rebellious response to every kind of authority and boundary, aside from my own imagined sense of authority. There is no greater slavery than being a slave of my own will. Christ gave up His rights so that we may be free indeed. No longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness, yielding to real, unrestrained blessedness and life—sheer harmony with God and creation! By surrendering to Him we gain victory and freedom.

Who in his or her right mind would crave anything less? By justifying and settling with our alternatives, we cheat ourselves by deeming false satisfaction true.

"Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me."
Psalm 142:7


"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

2 Corinthians 3:17