Monday, August 26, 2013

Allow me to introduce you to my current creative endeavor:



Image of Anna Taylor drawing with a Micron penMy sister called me up the other day. “Anna,” she said, “I just saw your watercolors on Instagram. I don’t know why I hadn’t seen them before… but do you know what? Those are really good!" I stumbled to accept the compliment. Heidi was referring to a series of 6 x 6 watercolors I had sold to friends on Instagram to support my recent trip up to the Alaskan arctic. She went on: "You could make more and sell them online! It could become something!” She suggested I start by selling my work on Etsy and creating a blog to support it. I heard a lot of exclamation points in her voice-- when my sister wants something, she gets passionate. 

As she went on in excitement, I hesitated. “Yes,” I thought, “I could do all that. But there are so many artists out there who are better than me!” All of a sudden, I felt like everyone who already had a blog and an online shop was miles ahead of me and I'd never catch up. Insecurities like those always seem to sneak their way into my head when I consider a risky creative endeavor. 

You see, in the past, I have tried to imagine myself as one of those cool people with a hip blog, hoards of followers and DIY-everything. You know, the ones with perfect lives? As I look now around at my somewhat cluttered, one-bedroom apartment (we're in the process of moving, so boxes are everywhere) and consider my current state of joblessness, the comparison seems a little far-fetched. For one, I don’t own the greatest camera gear for which to document my oh-so-perfect life. For two, I’d generally rather buy a cute furniture piece at a good price at World Market than spend the time and energy to DIY my own. For three, I don’t have an amazingly clean white counter on which to photograph my organic farmer’s market produce. Not to mention the fact that, for me, those widely-read blogs usually leave a small, twisting knot of jealousy in my stomach. I certainly don’t want to create something that elevates me in the eyes of others and provokes envy and comparison.

That last point is mainly what I’ve been struggling against. What are the ethics of starting an endeavor like the one my sister suggested? Is it all just worthless self-aggrandizement? Will it, in the end, be of any lasting value? Essentially, my question is this: how do I create and sell my art and promote this project in a way that glorifies God instead of myself? I’ve come up with three ideas:
  •  If I’m going to do it, I should do it well. This thought comes from a blog post by my brother-in-law, Riley, who writes that we can worship God in our work simply by doing it with excellence. So, as I undertake this creative endeavor, I can honor Jesus by working hard at it.
  • Show the messy parts. I’ve realized something about those “perfect” bloggers: they have messy lives, just like me. Sometimes, they probably have to clear away some clutter in order to photograph an object on a white, clean counter as a backdrop. Huge disclaimer: My life isn’t perfect, either. Rather than hiding that fact, I hope to write with an honest transparency that will allow me to relate to any readers I might have in our mutual messiness.  
  • Seek to inspire others to create. Often, when I shut my computer after being sucked in by beautiful blog after beautiful blog, I find myself comparing and despairing: “I could never do that!!” I hope that my blog becomes an inspiring catalyst to others who want to create something, but are anxious that it won’t be good enough. [[ Side note: A great example of a website that does this well is Tania Woods’ Ink Me Pretty.  Her home page explains how and why she started her own design business. My favorite line is this: “I decided once and for all to stop comparing myself to others, stop saying ‘I can’t’ and frankly, put on my big girl pants and just DO it!” Her words and talent pushed me towards creating my own art. ]]

And thus, this blog was born. You might ask, “Why Line & Feather?” Well, I use two mediums to create my watercolor art: Micron Pens and watercolors. The “line,” then, alludes to a pen, while the “feather” represents a paintbrush. “Line” also evokes a minimal, modern feeling, while “feather,” I think, is a rather charming and whimsical word. I like a little bit of modern and whimsy in my life, so I think it fits. 

One last thing: I reserve the right to try this out, and fail. I'm really going to swing for the fences, and I hope some of you stick around to watch. But if I end up with a foul or strike or whatever (I'm not the best with sports analogies), that's ok too. Because I know I'll have learned something by the end of it, and I'm pretty sure at least my mom will be proud of me for trying, and that's nothing to sneeze at. 

Thanks for reading. More to come! 





15 comments:

  1. Anna, your commitment to transparency and vulnerability right in the midst of pursuing excellence in your craft is a worthy endeavor. You might remember I have had similar thoughts about what it means to represent myself honestly on the internet, trying to strike that balance between honesty and over-sharing. I'm eager to follow along on this new adventure of yours...

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    1. Sarah, thank you! And yes, I do remember that conversation. I definitely think your words helped shape my thoughts/wonderings about how to do this "right," or at least how to do it best.

      Also... I have so much respect for you as a prolific blogger with an amazing control of the English language! You are one of the best writers I know, and that's a fact.

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  2. I am so excited to follow your blog! Trust me, you will have readers... Not just because you are so loved, but because your writing is excellent and so authentic. When I started blogging at LIVE TEACH ALASKA, I thought the very same thing. "Who will read my blog? Am I really good enough?" But when I put those feelings aside and just started writing, I found that despite the number of followers I had, I was having a blast writing. Best of luck to you, lovely lady, and count me in as an avid reader! All my love.

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    1. Natalie, thank you so much for your encouragement. I love your LIVE TEACH ALASKA blog. I was just reading your post about your first day of school. What a treat, to have a small group of 9 kindergartners to work with! Those kids are ADORABLE and remind me so much of the kids we just visited in Anaktuvuk Pass. And that school gym is strikingly similar to the one in AKP, as well. Love, and thanks.

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  3. So excited for you my dear!!! This is great!! I loved your instagram creations and was so disappointed when I found out that I saw them to late to claim one for myself. You are simply wonderful and I love that you are worshiping through your ability to create beauty. Happy exploring and learning through this new medium! Love ya dearest!

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    1. Thank you, thank you Elizabeth! I will be working on creating some pieces I like well enough to get fine-art scanned and printed to sell on Etsy. I have my work cut out for me! Thanks for being excited with me :).

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  4. So many bloggers, true, but few with a clear intent to glorify God and who write so well. What you've demonstrated in this first entry will surely draw readers to follow along. :-)

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    1. Thank you, Becca. Yes, and I guess I should say there are definitely many wonderful bloggers out there who strive for transparency and avoid putting a "perfect" life on display. Here's to hoping I can actually live up to the task I've set out for myself. ;)

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  5. I love this. I'm so excited to follow along on this adventure! So much love to you!

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie! Also... I still have your plate from those delicious cookies you baked for our bake sale. :). We are in the process of moving, but after we are settled I'll come right over to see you all and hand it back. Love!

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  6. Anna,

    I'm excited to follow you on this adventure and here the word of God through your life, words, and art. Thank you for your boldness. I'll be praying for you as you start this journey, that you're not overcome by deceitful word by the evil one and that God provides light, truth, joy, and humility :)

    Love ya always girl!!

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    1. Karisa! Thank you. I appreciate and love you so much. Thank you for the support & prayer.

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  7. Anna, I struggled with the same questions you do. Seeking always to honor God in all we do because we love Him is important to us. I just wanted to remind you to remember that you create your art because you enjoy it and the Lord finds pleasure in your pleasure. It is His gift to you, after all. A.W. Tozer states, "In this world where men forget us, change their attitude toward us as their private interests dictate, and revise their opinion of us for the slightest cause, is it not a source of wondrous strength to know that the God with whom we have to do changes not? That His attitude toward us now is the same as it was in eternity past and will be in eternity to come?" So, with this in mind, Eric Liddell said it best, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." Enjoy your journey ;)

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    1. Connie, I love both of those quotes--Thank you! It's such an encouragement to know that when God looks at us he sees Christ's righteousness, an unchanging fact. And that I can allow myself to truly enjoy the creative process because I'm made in the image of a creative God who thought up this whole beautiful world.

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  8. Anna! This is just what I needed to hear! Thank you so much. I am super excited for you!

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