Speed Painting 101: The Plot Thickens…

Posted: September 29, 2015 in church art ministry resources
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I’ve been posting these posts (1,2,3,4) to tell you about how to do the actual paintings and there is more to come, but I wanted to take a moment and talk a little bit about content. Before I go on, it is important once again to point out that our motivations for speed painting may vary. I, for example, do my paintings to lead into what I will be speaking about. This article comes out of that motivation, but I think it is helpful for any speed painter, working in any context.

Because my motivation is to use art to “draw” (see how I did that) people into my message, I want to keep them guessing. Because of this, I try to make the painting somewhat misleading in the process of creating. I want to keep them guessing about what I am painting for as long as possible. The reason for this is pretty simple. If they are guessing, they are engaged. They are wondering what I am painting, so they will want to know more. The question “Why?” is also powerful, as in “Why did he paint that?” I don’t always go for the obvious image. What I am looking for is engagement. I want to draw them in. I want them to really want to know more.

devilpaintingAn example of this is when I do my Pictures of Jesus presentation. As I begin the presentation, I tell the congregation in advance that I am going to paint five pictures of Jesus over the course of the evening. I have one part of the presentation I call The Other Lion. In that presentation, I paint a picture that looks like a cartoon image of Satan. Of course people are dying to know why I painted a picture of the devil in a presentation called Pictures of Jesus. I rightly point out that there is another lion in this story. “Be self controlled and alert, your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour.” I then give my testimony to the point of coming to Christ, at which point I say, “Jesus turned my life around.” I flip the painting upside down and it becomes a picture of Jesus. The painting gets attention and draws them into the story I am about to tell.

This, behind any kind of aesthetic response is the goal. I am more concerned with an engaged audience than I am with a beautiful painting, though I try to accomplish that as well.

Which brings me to quality. I will often tell people these are not the best paintings I can do, but they are the best paintings I can do in six minutes. This can open the door to helping people leave that “If only I had…” mentality. Life following Jesus often involves doing the best and being faithful with what we have.

I hope these posts have been helpful. Speed painting is a great tool to communicate the Gospel. If you’re interested in trying it, I would love to help you out. You can contact me for more information at AMOKArts@aol.com


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