Creativity Devotional – Running vs. Painting

Runners in Oregon

Running in a Marathon

If you have not painted before, or in years, don’t expect any more from yourself than if you had not run in years and were going out for your first jog.  

Whitney Ferre


I am reading a book written by Whitney Ferre. It is titled “the artist within – A Guide to Becoming Creatively Fit.” I ran across the quote in one of the Creativity Exercises. I plan to use this quote next school year with my high school students.

For some reason, we expect so much from ourselves creatively. Many people, especially my students, want to quit when they don’t create something wonderful and beautiful the first try. They say they aren’t talented. They want to give up. Some students even get out of Art class and take another elective.

But if you compare painting or drawing skills to running, it just makes sense. I could not run a mile right now without being in some major pain and embarrassment. I am out of shape. It would take me several weeks to get in shape enough to attempt a run. I would be unrealistic to expect to put on my running shoes and hit the track for a 5K tomorrow.

The same thing applies to painting or drawing. We must be realistic in our expectations. I have been painting and drawing for years, but if I don’t pick up a brush or pencil for several months, I will be rusty. If you have never painted or drawn, you can’t expect to create a masterpiece the first time.

Remember the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” It takes athletes weeks, months, or even years to become excellent in their sport. The same applies to art.


Lord, Thank you for the desire to create. Help us to have realistic expectations of the work we create when we begin our artistic journey. Help us to see the small improvements in our work, so that we may be encouraged to continue to create for Your glory. You are the greatest creator of all. We are so blessed to have your example. In Christ’s name. Amen.

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