The heART Series // Natalie Jean
Wow! I cannot believe we're in our sixth month of The heART Series! I have been so blessed by each artist who's participated so far, and I am so excited to see what our future artist have in store for us!
In case you've just joined us and are wondering what's up, The heART Series is a monthly series in which we'll get to discover and explore some of the lesser-known, maybe even lesser-appreciated creative arts, and will examine how the arts and faith are intertwined. Each artist interviewed in this series is a Christian woman, whether or not her work is centered around her faith. We'll hear from painters, writers, photographers, graphic artists, dancers, stitchers, calligraphers, fashion designers, leather workers, and more.
So, once you're all caught up and ready to go, let's hear from our next artist!
NATALIE JEAN GETTIS
Natalie Gettis is a 22 year old creative who blogs at A Tiny Traveler and is the founder of Oakmoss Collective. Both are creative outlets that she is so thankful to be able to utilize. Natalie is a recent graduate with a Bachelor's in Psychology and hopes to pursue a career in Art Therapy after getting her Master's Degree. At the end of September 2015, she married Mark, her high school sweetheart, and moved to Harrisburg, PA. Mark is the Creative Arts Director for the youth department in the Pennsylvania-Delaware district for the Assemblies of God.
the life in between: When did you first learn to (or realize that you could!) dance, paint, sew, write, style, photograph, etc. What is your heART story?
Natalie: I first started getting interested in art when I was a senior in high school. Growing up I loved being crafty and drawing and taking tons of pictures and writing and just being as creative as possible in everything I did. My brother was really into art and I decided to give it a try too! After my first art class, I was hooked. I took a knitting class, a pottery class, a painting class and then in college I was the leader of an art ministry called "Inspire" for two years. The group's purpose was to make and sell art to make money to help rescue girls in India from human trafficking. It was such a blessing to be a part of it. Now, a recent college grad, I hope to continue to get my master's in art therapy. In addition I started Oakmoss Collective to encourage and inspire other creatives to enjoy the beauty and simplicity of life and feed off of one another.
tlib: While you're immersed in a project or a piece, what are some things going through your mind? Do you pray? Do you praise?
Natalie: When I am really wrapped up in a painting, I like to sing. I love when music is on and usually I play stuff that captures my mood as I'm painting. I also love worship painting. I put on a playlist of worship songs and just start to paint. I love seeing what comes of my time of worship!
tlib: Tell us about your creative process. What inspires you to get started? Can you turn your creativity on and off?
Natalie: My creative process is different with each project that I work on. Usually I can brainstorm and prepare before a project but sometimes I get stuck in a rut. When that happens, I look at other artists' and writers' work to see what they're creating and I also try to take a walk or read or something like that to get my mind off my project. After a few hours I usually can jump right back in! When I am getting creative, there's usually a flow and I love that because I can work for hours on end!
tlib: Do you prefer to share your work or do you like to keep it just between yourself and God? Why?
Natalie: I love sharing my work but only because I get so proud of myself for finishing. I wouldn't say it's ever in a bragging way but I definitely text photos to my mom and say, "Mom, look what I made!" I do have several pieces that I never showed anyone before because they're results of an emotional experience or something God was doing in my heart and it was created as a result. When the art or writing is deeply personal, I usually keep that to myself and maybe one or two close people in my life.
tlib: When you share your work, how do you promote your art in a way that glorifies God?
Natalie: I usually post a photo and the scripture that inspired it, and if it wasn't inspired by scripture then I'll just share what did inspire it. I know that every gift and talent in any area of life is from God and I never deny that. I'm truly blessed to be able to have an artistic outlet!
tlib: How do you take compliments? How do you stay humble without denying your unique skill?
Natalie: I always say thank you. I love to give compliments. It's a habit that I have that when someone compliments me I immediately want to compliment them. They made me feel good about myself or my work so I want them to know I'm appreciative and that I like their work/blog/outfit/designs as well! I think a simple 'thank you' is a way of being polite and acknowledging the compliment but also not making it all about you. The last thing you want to do when someone compliments you is tell them why they're correct in paying you compliments because you've been here and there and have done this and that and worked with so-and-so. A simple 'thank you' says it all!
tlib: Do you believe that God can be glorified through secular art? How can secular work still point to Jesus?
Natalie: Yes I do. I know of a friend who always loved painting landscapes, especially sunrises and one day someone said to her "this really displays God's creativity and awesome creation, doesn't it?" and she said it was one of the best compliments she ever got. As a secular artist, she never really thought about God when making her art but knowing that it meant something to someone in a spiritual sort of way made her want to create all the more. So I think God was in that, even if only a little bit. Sometimes I try to make something and I get caught up in the detail and message that I think I miss that time to worship God, so really it's all about perspective and your motives/heart behind it.
tlib: What is a dream or vision you have in regards to how your work may impact hearts and souls for Christ?
Natalie: I hope to use my art and my love for being creative to inspire others to try and get creative themselves and use it as a positive outlet. I also hope to see Oakmoss Collective grow and spread its mission for authentic creativity, collaboration, and simplicity to as many creatives as possible! Getting creative with others is such a fulfilling and exciting thing!
tlib: Lastly, for fun, who (living or dead, and besides God) are you most inspired by when it comes to your art?
Natalie: Oh man, this one is tough! I love Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Charmaine Olivia, Theodore Gosselin, Gustav Klimt, so many different writers, and the list goes on! Usually I try to get inspiration from as many different people and places as I can so that my art is well rounded. Going to museums is one of my favorite pastimes and I love to read about different artists and photographers, look at their work, and just absorb what I can.
Natalie, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us! I'm always so inspired and encouraged by your writing and artwork, and have absolutely loved getting to learn more about your creative process and inspirations!
READERS: Don't leave without giving Natalie some love! ⤵︎