“Once again I allowed myself to be led astray into reaching for stars that are too big—another failure—and I have had my fill of that.”
Vincent Van Gogh
Though he was painting from the insane asylum he had checked himself into and was attempting to paint a night-time view while working during the day, Van Gogh produced an absolute masterpiece when he created The Starry Night. Offering an abstract, whimsical version of the view from his bedroom window, this painting is known as one of Van Gogh’s finest works, and has been part of the permanent collection in New York’s Museum of Modern Art since 1941.
When examining his own work, however, Van Gogh criticized himself for the giant swirls which he had tried to craft into stars, and called the work “a failure.” If only he could have known what world-wide acclaim this painting would receive one day!
As artists, we often see the worst in our own work and criticize ourselves much too heavily. Sharing our work with others is an emotional risk, and it’s often tempting to hide our ideas away so that no one will laugh at them. But when we take that leap of faith and share the fruit of our creative labors, it may very well be that others will find it to be even more beautiful than we had hoped.
Have you fallen into the trap of perfectionism in your artistic endeavors or in your Christian life? Remember that we can never be perfect, and will drive ourselves insane trying to do so (just ask Van Gogh!). Instead, may we accept our shortcomings and hand our failures over to a Perfect God, who is able to create a beautiful masterpiece out of our weakest moments (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Things may not turn out the way we envisioned, but just like The Starry Night, they might just turn out better.
Photo Credit: The Starry Night – Vincent Van Gogh – Public Domain
This post was submitted as part of the A to Z Challenge, where participants agree to write an article that corresponds to each letter of the alphabet, posting every day of the month of April (except Sundays).
Here on The Artistic Christian, my theme for the month is The Classics. Each day I’ll examine a book, film, or work of art that has become a beloved classic and discuss what has made it such a success, and what eternal themes it contains that Christian artists can use as modern illustrations.
For daily reflections from my personal travels around the world, check out my companion blog, Everyday Musings, where my theme for April is Reflections From Around the World.