Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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God Knows You’re Working Hard

Posted by Luther D. Powell on September 20, 2012

I won’t complain, but I’ve been working pretty stinkin’ hard lately. These high-level art classes have been running me ragged. I mean, really I’ve been running myself ragged, but one does not simply make EASY artwork in advanced courses. I make work that I enjoy, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

The cool thing is, if you’re doing what you’re doing to glorify God and His Word, not just to earn yourself a grade or paycheck, God will always help you through it. I felt inspired to tell a story about this past week involving such a scenario.

I had the first critique in my highest level drawing course this past Monday, and I had planned to finish two large pieces for said crit. Now, I’ll confess that it is hilariously easy for me to procrastinate on these types of projects, but in truth, I DID NOT PROCRASTINATE this time. I started the drawings as early as possible. Took photographs for references within the first two weeks of class and began immediately. It turns out, that didn’t matter. I was up ALL night Sunday struggling to finish these drawings and I was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t finish on time.

The nice thing about art classes is that instructors vary in toughness when it comes to completing work on time. And also, the worst thing about art classes is that instructors vary in toughness when it comes to completing work on time. Usually, it’s easy to assume that you have to finish everything you’re doing by each critique or you’ll receive a very poor grade and/or get grouched at.

With that in mind, I was so frustrated with myself by sunrise on Monday morning because I had given the project all I got. Didn’t sleep (I laid down for a little while to stretch my legs), ate bare minimum, guzzled two energy drinks, spent the previous week cooped up in my bedroom instead of hanging out with friends, and the thing still wasn’t done. I worked up until an hour before my first class of the day, all the while, praying that God would contain my instructor’s wrath when she saw that I brought unfinished work to my critique.

Still buzzing with enough caffeine to wake up Rip Van Winkle, I lugged my drawings to class. As soon as I entered the classroom, I pulled my instructor aside and let her know that the work wasn’t finished. With no expression on her face whatsoever, she told me to set up.

Critique days are interesting. If you’re not done with what is to be critiqued, it may not be a positive sort of interesting, but it is always interesting to see who’s done, what everyone did, what everyone thinks of yours, etc. They can be the easiest class periods and the hardest, because all you do is talk about each others pieces. If you’re exhausted from finishing your piece the previous night, talking and listening may be taxing on your absent mind and heavy eyelids.

The critique began. I sat, legs trembling, heart racing, sweat dripping down my back, praying in my head that when it came my time to be critiqued, that the class and my teacher would go easy on me. I worked so hard. SO hard. I would have been devastated for my instructor to give me a low grade, but I knew that technically, I deserved it because the piece wasn’t finished on time.

It was time. My instructor directed my peers to the wall where my pieces were displayed. To be honest, I don’t remember everything that was said about the drawings, because I was too busy being terrified of what would be said about the drawings. One thing I remember was how impressed my instructor was with the overall composition of the two drawings. She wasn’t concerned with the fact that they weren’t finished because the compositions really held her attention. The perspectives and positions of the figures were very unique, she said, and she asked where I got the inspiration for them. I didn’t really have an answer; my mind was blank, but I was probably smiling.

She liked the compositions! I’m like, “You’re kidding me, right? You’re staring at obviously unfinished work but you don’t care because the composition is THAT GOOD?!” For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of composition in art, it’s a huge deal. It’s not the image itself or what the image is about, but rather, how the viewer sees the image on the paper/canvas, so to speak. It was the first thing I learned about in college art courses, and the only thing that high school art classes totally didn’t teach me about.

All in all, the critique felt like a huge answer to prayer. I won’t know what my grade is until the end of the semester, but my instructor’s interest in the work tells me I’m not going to fail miserably. It felt like God was saying, “Dude, calm down, I know you’ve worked hard and I won’t let it go unnoticed, so long as it’s for me.” Not only that, but it let me know that I’m apparently pretty good at arranging drawings in a way that is eye-catching even if they’re not finished!

After class, my instructor told me not to worry about my grades so long as the pieces are complete in the end. I was in awe of God’s mercy that afternoon, and gleefully caught up on my sleep that night.

I would post a picture of the drawing(s), but they’re still not done, and they’re not exactly family-friendly (I like scary stuff, remember?). Moral of the story: your work is important to God, and He will help you pull through if you ask for the help.

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

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