Speed Painting 101: Planned Versus Prophetic

Posted: September 30, 2015 in Uncategorized
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tablepaintinglrWhen I first started painting in churches, one of the questions I was asked fairly regularly was whether or not I was a prophetic artist. At the time I didn’t even know what that meant so I guess that means no. These days though, I not only know what it means, I sometimes do it or maybe I always do it, depending on your perspective. Basically the idea behind prophetic art is pretty simple. You pray and ask God for an image or a message and you allow Him to speak through your art and the images He lays on your heart. It is very fulfilling to connect with the Lord in this way and I highly encourage it. I’m not sure it’s viable for speed painting though, at least not as expressed above. God leads as He wants, when He wants, which does not always lend itself to a very short time frame. For example, the painting on the left is an example of prophetic painting. The owners of that table asked me to pray and paint what God showed me, there was about six hours of painting plus all the time it took in prayer and meditation.

It reminds me of a time where I was talking to a loved one about my preaching. This early in my ministry. At that point, I wrote my messages out in full and would read them very emphatically and passionately. I mentioned that I really wanted to get away from my notes, and she made the comment “…and be more Spirit led.” She was trying to be helpful and encouraging but I din’t think she totally understood the process. My messages were Spirit led. I committed them to much prayer although the study and writing process as well as the preparation process and the final delivery. The Spirit was all over those very planned messages and frankly, you could tell it. God was at work in me.

I think the same holds true with (ministry) speed painting. It all starts with prayer. From the original image and message, the process continues. Once I have an image, I usually need to simplify it. Six to ten minutes with very wet paint does not lend itself to a lot of detail. From there, I may sketch some ideas in my sketch book or set up a practice canvas and work it out in paint. To me the latter is preferable, but that’s just how I work. I always break the image down into basic shapes first and then shade and often outline (more on the actual painting process later). All these things are a matter of prayer and so it’s Spirit led all the way through, leading to a finished project I can do well in a very short period of time. Also, as I am preparing to go to a church, I ask God to show me which presentations to use or to lead me to a new one that will accomplish His purpose in that venue. Then I always pray before and during the presentation itself. It’s Spirit led, but also usually thoroughly planned. There have bedtimes whereI have felt the leading to totally leave the plan and go somewhere else, but this is not the norm. I think in these times God is pushing me to trust Him, but more often than not we have collaborated through the process and we go with what He showed me when the planning began. The video below is a planned piece that originated in much prayer and design to get to the point where I can do it in such a short period of time.

The truth about speed painting is it’s not often spontaneous. It usually requires a good deal of planning and preparation. People sometimes ask how I can paint so fast. The answer are three fold. 1. God helped me. 2. I prepared and practiced a lot and 3. I can paint a painting in six minutes because I have been painting paintings for forty years. You don’t have to be painting that long to do speed painting but you do have to spend a lot of time perfecting your gifts.

Prophetic or planned, they’re not mutually exclusive. What matters most is involving God and the Holy Spirit every step of the way.

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