It is a fascinating phenomenon to watch how one creative process feeds and inspires others. In the creative community working out of the deep stream of Inspiration one venue can — and often does — inspire work to be done in another. We see this every day where novels are transformed into screenplays and then translated into film. We see songwriter’s inspired by poetry or by experience create songs that are re-tooled and rearranged by other singers. Today I am delighted to share with you a recent experience of this very process of collaboration that is close to home for me personally.
Not too long ago — right as I took off for South Africa this year — I received a most surprising request in my email from an artist asking for permission to use some portrait images that I shot last year in Oxford and Cambridge to create paintings from of Malcolm Guite. This was a totally new experience for me and my first response, like most visual artists I know, was to pull back to protect my “own” work. However, I also immediately thought of the culture of creative generosity that I see demonstrated by Malcolm himself and I was thankful for her offer of photo credit with a link back to my website. This request represented an unlooked for opportunity to learn how to behave with trust in context of creative community. I promptly said yes, even though I was nervous about it, and within days the resulting image appeared in my inbox and in Malcolm’s! Such is God’s grace to us!
In the portrait by gifted painter Faye Hall I am delighted to see a new interpretation of what I saw in those moments with Malcolm at The Kilns this past summer. One of the things that so deeply struck me about this is the rare opportunity it gives to see what I see through someone else’s eye and heart and skill – depicted with skill and nuanced observation. I see the unique qualities that painting can capture and interpret that cannot be done the same way through photography and I can delight in the sweet opportunity to collaborate with a fellow artist in the process of cultivating beauty to share with others. I am so grateful. You can directly link to Faye’s work on this piece here: http://fayehall.com/2012/05/creativity-begets-creativity/. And I heartily encourage you to look at the range of her remarkable work here: http://fayehall.com/category/paintings/
Faye shared with me a little bit of how she was drawn to create the painting as well as the two that are yet coming. “I work at Signpost Music, the indie record label for Canadian singer/songwriter Steve Bell. When I started to work for Steve in 2007, my desire to start painting again was revived by the inspiring photos Steve took of peoples from his travels to India and Ethiopia.
My hiatus from painting had previously been a result of working in the advertising business and raising my children. Once the inspiration returned, it has since been pouring out like a breach in a dam. I get inspiration from faces of all kinds. Malcolm Guite is a personal friend of Steve’s, and a curiosity to see some more photos of him caused me to “google” him, to see what was available. As soon as I saw some of the photos that Lancia had taken of him, I immediately contacted him to ask permission to paint a portrait. “The Hand” had to paint!
The result will be a set of three paintings – there were just too many great photos to choose from! “The Journey – Malcolm Guite” is the title of the first in the series. The other two will incorporate some personal handwriting by Malcolm, indicating some lines from a couple of Steve Bell’s favourite sonnets penned by Malcolm.”
We are looking forward to seeing more of Faye’s work and I’ll post links to the next two paintings as soon as those are ready for public release. Blessings!!
The image above of Dr Malcolm Guite was shot at The Kilns – the former home of C.S. Lewis and now study-centre owned and maintained by the C.S. Lewis Foundation. The painting of Malcolm Guite is copyright of (c) of Faye Hall and the original portrait is copyright (c) of Lancia E. Smith.
Lancia E. Smith is an author, photographer, teacher, and business owner. A grateful lover of the Triune God, Lancia is the Founder & Executive Director of Cultivating & The Cultivating Project. She has served in executive management, church leadership, boards, and Art & Faith organizations over 30 years. She & her husband Peter have parented 7 children, & have a flock of beloved grandchildren. Lancia loves garden and website design, beautiful typography, road trips, being read aloud to by Peter, & cherishes every book she ever read by C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and George MacDonald.
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