art of the mundane

© Laura Gabel, “Just Dandi”. Pastel on Uart, 9.5 x 11.5. Private collection.

“Mundane” – ordinary, pertaining to the things of earth. The mundane is where most of us live – the ordinary, everyday stuff of life. As I sit writing this, I also have my preschool teacher hat on and I’m watching ten precious three-year-olds vainly fight sleep during their daily rest time. The moment indeed feels very ordinary. 

Earlier this week, I gathered with some dear mom friends from my children’s school for a sweet time of fellowship. We gather every week throughout the school year. Another ordinary, mundane moment. 

What has art to do with the mundane-ness of our lives? I would suggest that most of us are surrounded by far more art in the midst of our mundane lives than we ever thought possible. At that same gathering of mom’s this week, I was asked, “so is it your week to blog?” When I responded “yes….” the immediate follow up question was “what are you writing on?” Honestly, at that point, I hadn’t yet decided. I tend to have multiple ideas rolling around in my head that hopefully crystalize into something coherent and (if God is especially gracious) interesting by Thursday morning. 

One of my friends shared a story from her adventures in knitting that I’ve been rolling around in my head for the past few days. She was pondering the verse from Psalm 139 where David remarks that God knit him together in his mother’s womb. When she knits, every piece of the yarn that she is using passes through her hands as she transforms it into a finished (and no doubt lovely) piece. In the same way, she commented, every piece of our lives, every strand, every fiber of our being has passed through our Maker’s Hands as he transforms us into His workmanship.

art of the mundane

Knitting and photo credits to Heather B.

Do you see what my friend did there? She took the mundane, ordinary hobby of knitting and made it into a holy moment. No longer confined just to the things of this world. An otherworldly truth, a beautiful, artistic moment broke forth. We are surrounded by beauty, by art even in the very ordinary things of our lives. 

Brother Lawrence wrote a book many centuries ago called “Practicing the Presence of God”. In one of the more well-known passages, Lawrence talks about experiencing the very presence of God while washing dishes in the monastery. 

art of the mundane

How to see art in the mundane

I don’t know what your “to do” list looks like this week. I suspect much of it involves work tasks, errands to run, perhaps a few fun activities thrown in there. The vast majority of your tasks are likely ones you do every week, maybe even every day. Most of us live rather ordinary lives. I want to challenge you to open your eyes to see the beauty that is around you. Where is the art to be found in those mundane moments?

We’re in the process of launching our Instagram feed; you can follow us @artoflgabel. I’d love to see you be part of that adventure. As your eyes are opened to the art around you, grab your phone and snap a picture. Share your everyday moments of art with us, use #artofthemundane. 

art of the mundane


Laura · November 3, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Thanks Michelle, for reminding us that it is in those ordinary moments we are God’s habitation, which in some ways makes us extra-ordinary even though we may not feel like it.

Leesa Donner · December 1, 2016 at 8:05 am

This is so profound. It reminds me of not finding God in the wind or the earthquake — but in a still, small voice. Sometimes God whispers to us in these mundane moments of life and it is then that we realize nothing is ever really ordinary. It is all extra-ordinary because of His presence in our lives.

P.S. Just Dandi is STUNNING ! Love you guys 🙂

    Michelle · December 1, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Leesa – such a great reminder of God’s still, small voice. Thank you for that! Just Dandi is a favorite of mine too!

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