Hey guys. I am an Illustrator and I wanted to make a piece of artwork for a family member for Christmas. Since its Sunday I’m not sure I’m allowed since doing Illustration is part of my trade. I’m not selling the work, but if the work is displayed on Facebokk by my family than it would be like advertisement and I can see it benefitting me somehow.
As I’m writing this I’m starting to think that this definitely does not qualify as “work” as the Bible classifies it, but I want to be sure.
Creative efforts know no days of the week, and are the result of inspiration from G*d, whether or not one realizes it. Therefore, creative efforts are not classified as work. Only the ancient Pharassees, or their successors the modern Hassidic Jews would classify painting or other creative endeavors as work;, and, we all know what Christ thought of the Pharassees.
This sort of inspiration is still called “work” if one is earning a living from the time spent on it. This is not the type of inspiration that is being safeguarded by the 3rd Commandment.
Obviously making a piece of art as a gift is not “work” in this sense unless the time or effort involved detracts from one’s call to make time for God through relaxation and prayer and communal ritual.
Your reply is a particularly Puritanical interpretation of the Commandment! Most creative artists would ply their craft whether or not they were paid to do it. To them, the creation of graphic or physical (sculpture) art is pleasure and relaxation in and of itself. The fact that they are able to earn a living from it is a bonus!
I know, because I am a professional artist. I’ll date myself: I received my MFA in 1963, but due to familial pressures (wife + children) I had to go back to sea to earn a living. I finally was able to come ashore and beginning in 1978 moved to NYC and started to paint full time. I was able to land a job with an art materials manufacture during the day, which supported me and my family. I painted a minimum of 6 hours every night and 12 to 16 hours a day on weekends.
And yes, I did discuss this with a priest (who happened to be quite familiar with Fine Artists and their work habits), who told me that painting on Sundays did not constitute labor in the sense of the Commandment.
Since that time, I have discussed this several times with a number of different priests, all of which agreed with the first.
George you are certainly entitled to your personal opinion no matter how unsubstantiated it may be!
Your views seem to rest on a couple of assumptions which I am politely challenging.
(1) “Work” as meant in Catholic tradition is not the same as what modern day sentiment defines it to be (i.e. if one enjoys what one is doing it isn’t “work”). Even pleasurable artistic endeavour can weary the mind/body which contradicts the recreational element implied in the Sabbath rest. So “its inspiration/art” is not by itself an adequate justification.
(2) Art is Inspirational (I presume you are suggesting its a valid worshipping of God). Yes it is, but the comtemplation of God in our everday activities is the usual weekday challenge we are all called to (ie to pray constantly).
The worship of God called for on the Sabbath is of a different nature altogether. It is communal rather than personal - thats why the Sunday “recreation” is meant to be about time spent with others (liturgical attendance, family time, works of mercy etc). Artists have a huge temptation to get individually self absorbed in the sort of “worship” you speak of. Worshipping God in the beauty of his works is not the same as worshipping God in others who annoy us with their distractions (family) and lack of beauty (others).
If we find our selves doing the former rather than the latter that suggests we are more into worshipping the made rather than the maker.
(2) We are not to practice what we do to earn a living. This is not simply about earning money. Its about realising life is more than what we have to do or habitually like to do. its about giving our time to others persons - first God then others. I believe those priests gave you stock advice that is OK for most people (engaging in cultural recreations etc) but because your art is in fact your habitual “job” or natural pleasurable bent then the situation is different for you.
Have a read through this thread.
It says all that I am attempting to say.
You call this puritanical, I call what you are opining self-absorbed. But thats just my view.
The CCC well brings forth the communal leisure/worship aspect that seems to be missing from your above contribution:
*2179 …You cannot pray at home as at church, where there is a great multitude, where exclamations are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where there is something more: the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity…
2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. … They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
A day of grace and rest from work
2184…human life has a rhythm of work and rest. the institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives. 
2185 On Sundays …the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God … the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body… the faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial … to family life, and health.
2186 …Sunday is traditionally consecrated by Christian piety to good works and humble service of the sick, the infirm, and the elderly. Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week…*