I honestly think this was one of the hardest projects I ever had to work on. Garden of Eden—what could be more exciting than illustrating the Garden of Eden?! When I heard this was the theme for this summer's Vacation Bible Study (VBS), my mind was going mad with a whole spectrum of vibrant colors and gorgeous plants and scenery. I had no idea this project would turn into a trial that would ALMOST convince me to ditch my career altogether.
I started with simple sketches. Oh I'll finish this up in two days, I thought. Sketch after sketch and draft after draft, everything looked like utter crap. Crap crap crap. Even the color combinations looked like crap, literally. After a week of struggle there was still no inspiration but only a migraine. My brain was a desert, and I was overcome with feelings of incompetence. I was supposed to ace this project swiftly and wow myself. Days passed, and I was feeling quite hopeless. The biggest fear of a creative mind is probably losing that creativity forever. What if I can't make another good piece for the shop? It sounds melodramatic now, but at the time, I was just incapable of being creative. I had been lamenting on my floor the entire day when my husband stepped in.
"Let me see what you have. Well, what do you think should be the central point? Why don't you do a beautiful and intricate landscape? You can do a lot better than this. I honestly think you've been feeling content and maybe a little lazy."
Lazy! Me? I have always had such pride in hard work and diligence, setting goals and achieving them. But he was right. I had been too content with my work and too confident in myself. And I had hit a wall. God sees all things, and He had stepped in. Doesn't the Bible say pride goes before destruction? I crumpled up all the crappy work I had done during the week and prayed for reliance and humility. At the end of the day, I'm still a sinner in need of grace.
I cleaned out my mind, opened the windows, and started over.
It all just came to me and I did finish this one in two days. I also enjoyed every minute of it. This is Garden of Eden before the fall of man and before sin entered the world. Oh how I wish it was still that way! I will say this whole thing was quite an ordeal, but a necessary one. As someone who makes a living being creative AND loves Jesus, I will continue to need the reminder that there is nothing I can make without inspiration from God and my faith in His providence.
This print is available in our shop HERE.