An artist doesn’t magically know just how to mix paints to achieve the perfect shade or effect. Sure, over time, color mixing gets to be natural, but that’s not necessarily true at the very beginning. If you’re not careful and you add the wrong color, you’ll end up with something closely resembling mud, not the clear, vibrant color you’re wanting. That’s why many people will experiment, especially when working with a new medium (watercolors, oils, pastels) — creating little charts to see the results of mixing this blue with that yellow, and so forth.
Do you remember that passage in Matthew in which Jesus goes off to pray? That morning in the Garden of Gethsemane, His disciples were busy, too — sleeping. Jesus was angry. See, I think God expects us to bring a little something to the table. We can do all things through Him. But in order for that to happen, there’s a certain amount of “doing” required. We have to know Him and know how to get to Him.
I have friends who became Christians and then burrowed inward. They talk about it in reverent tones: I’m in a time of preparation. God is strengthening me. Instead of going out and doing, they stay in and study. They associate only with other strong Christians. They read, they pray, and they spend hours contemplating their navels — I mean, the state of their souls.
None of these things are bad. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they’re all good. We need to spend time learning about God if we want to be able to effectively serve and accurately represent Him.
But if the goal of an artist is to communicate, the goal of the Christian is to do the same. And to communicate, you have to be out there with the people you want to reach. No artist ever became great by cranking out an endless supply of color charts. You should absolutely learn the basics and then continue to delve deeper and deeper in your studies. But remember, color charts don’t speak to people. They don’t inspire. They don’t provoke emotion and solve problems. They’re just tools. Exercises which contribute to a bigger picture. They are practice before you tackle the real work before you.