Wild Words . . . Photos & Fine Art

Co-creating by heart with sandy cathcart through writers helps and art info, focusing on all things wild.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Steve Hopkins Message to Artists and Writers - Part VIII

Today, Steve is continuing on the idea of using our gifts. Point One cautioned us to be patient but persistent with our pastors. A lot of folks have given me suggestions and I will be sharing those at the end of the entire series.


I like impressionism but what I can really use in a worship setting is something that holds, or translates a theological truth or illustrates creatively a scene in the life of Jesus.

I don’t know if you’ve seen any of the Masterpeace collection by Ron Dicianni, Michael Dudash, Thomas Blackshear, and my brother, Chris Hopkins. They each depict a scene of an historical Jesus in some biblical context, but there is also a current day person in the picture. I think that’s great.

As a pastor concerned with a worship service, I am careful to make sure everything is directed around the person and the presence of Christ.

I am more concerned that people come in contact with Him than I am at giving useful but sterile principles on how to live. I think of Adam and Eve—their experience with God was relational—and that’s my focus. And I am looking for tools that will help me accomplish that goal.

I will sometimes call upon an artist to paint the section of scripture I am teaching from. I taught Nehemiah 8, and a woman in the congregation painted a wonderful picture. She started it at home and finished it during the service. Now, it’s hanging in our coffeeshop and every time we see it we are reminded of the message of Nehemiah 8. That’s great!

In the near future I plan to have a huge canvass behind me, about ten feet or so. And I am going to have three or four artists painting at the same time.

Now, I as a pastor need to know in advance what the theme of a message is going to be, and then work with the artists and give them some time to come up with an idea…and sometimes pastors don’t have their theme before 5:00 a.m. on Sunday morning (sometimes me too!). But when I know what I am going to teach, I will sometimes draw upon an artist to help me communicate some truth of my message, especially if it’s a difficult concept.


Wow! What a fascinating concept of using art to bring home a biblical concept. At the recent artists retreat at Box R Ranch, Jeanne Randall challenged us to come up with a biblical painting around the theme of, “Let There Be Light.” Then we can bring our paintings to be juried into next years show.

I’ve only done this once when I was asked to do a painting of the triumphal entry for a passion show. What agony! What joy! I had to do research. Find out what kind of crowd would have showed up to welcome Jesus. I also had to search through my photos taken in Jerusalem and the surrounding area, coming up with a landscape and people in various styles of dress and adoration.

The completed painting depicts much joy, which is exactly what I think the original day was full of—pure, unadulterated joy at welcoming The King.

I admit that it’s easier to pick my own subjects and paint whatever I feel like, but accepting and accomplishing that challenge made me feel very fulfilled.

Chris Hopkins actually uses people he knows to pose for subjects in his paintings. One painting he did of Christ calming the angry seas shows a boat full of Chris’ family and friends. His brother, Steve, likes to point out that his very own hand is what Chris used for the hand of Christ. Ha!

So, now I’m thinking…what pictures could I paint that would bring home a message more clearly? And I’m surprised at how many ideas I’ve come up with. The first I plan to do is for a show called, “Reflections,” where we depict some way that God’s love is reflected in our world.

What ideas can you come up with? Why not give yourself a challenge and start on one today?

Enjoy the Son!


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