Today I'm concluding my interview with deAnn Alyse Roe, Director of Visual Arts at her church in Pennsylvania and the blogger behind Vertical Creativity.
LeAnne: What are some ways you're helping people to "live in their creativity"?
deAnn: I post much of my own creative journey on the blog, my struggles and highlights, which I hope encourages others to approach God through their creativity as well. I also feel strongly about the importance of arts communities. These gatherings offer people a chance to meet with others who are exploring their creativity through a particular art form. Currently there are three arts communities at our church: a photography group, a reflective writing group for women and a new writing practice group that will begin in January. Other art communities are forming--sketching and painting. The synergy that builds when a group of like-minded creative people gather is unbelievable and fun.
LM: What are your favorite creative outlets?
dR: Oh my, I have several. But honestly, the current favorite depends on were I'm at in my spiritual journey. I've always liked words. I'm a big journaler and occasionally a poem will birth from a place of gratitude or grief. Sometimes when words can't express what's on my heart, I sketch or sit before a canvas and paint (usually with my hands and fingers--I like the feel of the paint and the texture of the canvas). In high school, I played the saxophone in marching band. Recently, a friend sold me their saxophone. When the mood strikes, I pick it up and squeak out the only song I know, "I Love You Lord." It's a song from my heart to God's heart, a real source of worship for me. However, photography, particularly macro photography, has really captured my interest.
dR: Photography causes me to slow down and see--really see the world around me. There are two little lakes close to my house and it's a near perfect day for me when I meander through the tree-lined trails in silence, enjoying God's presence. I don't zoom past anything; instead, I get on my knees, nose to the ground and investigate a fallen acorn, decaying leaf, spider web, or dew drop on a blade of grass. Then after taking in its wonder with my eyes, I try to snap a shot that will remind me of the experience. With macro photography, you get up-close and personal with your subject. You see things that you never would have noticed if you hadn't slowed down to really look. This gives me a deep sense of gratitude for the beauty of creation and God's love for me.
Also, photographs can tell stories or lead your mind into imagining--whether it's the aged face of a stranger, the broken TV on the curb, even the Ghost "Peeps" [marshmallow puff candies] that I saw abandoned alongside the road (yes, I took a picture of them!). There is something healing about slowing down our pace of life and being fully present in the moment--and the arts cause us to do this. I believe it's important to develop our creative voices for this reason: to break out, from time to time, of the fast-paced lives we've grown accustomed to living, to slow down and "be still" before the Lord.
Coming soon: new features!