In this blog, I’ll be tackling a common question, “What is Christian Art?” in the hope that together we can become clear on what it is and what can be included. I hope you find it as helpful to read as I did to write this blog.
This blog follows on nicely from the one I published last week, How art is used in Christianity, which you might like to check out too.
What is Christian Art and how does it differ from other forms of art?
All art is subjective and my opinions are my own. I highly expect that others will have differing opinions – that’s OK!
My opinion is that Christian Art can take many forms: realistic, expressive, abstract, 3D, 2D, explicitly linked to Scripture, etc. Furthermore, the art doesn’t have to be overtly Christian in nature and the interpretation of it might not be clearly or overtly Christian.
The type of art I create is sometimes overtly Christian, but oftentimes, it’s an outlet for expressing myself and my faith journey including feeling Jesus as I’ve made steps towards recovery from Mental Health Disorders.
What is Prophetic Art and how does it differ from Christian Art?
Prophetic Art is a work that reveals God’s heart for someone, in a visual way. Prophetic art is “creating art with God”. This is my favourite form of art.
I first discovered that I had the gift of prophetic art in 2015. I tried to paint a lion but it went wrong and so I scrubbed it out a new image appeared. This time of a cross. I named it ‘Cross Through Time’. Over a period of several months, I began to realise that I could only paint what God commissions, so I’ve let go and I just paint as and when He leads me to do so.
So, there might be a crossover between Prophetic Art and Christian Art, but not always.
Examples of my Christian Art
This was originally meant to be the Lion of Judah. I made a mistake and in frustration, I started to scrub the paint. Out of my frustrated scrubbing appeared this, which I’ve named Cross Through Time. It showed me that my gift for painting comes from God and that He is timeless and that what He accomplished on the cross is way better than anything else. Since then I have let Him direct my path and teach me what He wants me to paint.
Overtly Christian Art
This Freedom themed abstract painting is the 8th painting in the series called, Complexity: The Puzzle of Discipleship. This series explores a lot of complexities faced by modern-day disciples. These paintings accompany the book I’m writing with the same title.
Here is a snippet from the chapter on Freedom: ‘Surrendering to God’s truth, and their best for me, has set me free. It feels secure and stable in a way that I never thought possible. Out of this freedom, other areas of fruitfulness grow, such as love, truth, and grace.’ (© Hannah Kirk, 2021)
I painted this at the weekly art group (term time only), in Yateley. We have an optional theme, but I chose to do my own thing. This is one of my favourite techniques – to just paint as the Spirit leads and letting the painting flow out of me. I love cutting into the paint with a palette knife and eventually creating a calming and colourful scene. This is an abstract painting, so it’s open for the viewer to interpret what they see, think, and feel, when they look at the painting. What do you see? What do you feel or think when you look at it?
I see the Garden of Eden and a beautiful waterfall. I used bright and calming colours for this painting.
For this mixed media Christian artwork, I painted a background using some of my favourite colours: permanent rose, violet, gold, and portrait pink. I used a sponge and my fingers for applying the paint to the canvas board. Then I printed the Bible verses and cut them up and stuck them on top of the background.
Romans 14 has been very formative for me in the past decade and has convicted me to be more inclusive and accepting of others. I wanted it to form part of my ‘Complexity: The Puzzle of Discipleship’ series of paintings. This one has therefore come to represent inclusion.
Abstract Art Expressing Myself and/or my faith as a Christian Artist
This unique and original abstract art has a background using the colours of a sunset over a field. Then black and white shapes are painted on top showing ‘snapshots’ of the abstract sunset.
Painted in acrylics on stretched canvas.
Everyone experiences grief at some point in their life. Grief can be over the death of a loved one, the loss of a relationship or job, and many other examples. Grief tends to come in waves. Sometimes they are completely overwhelming and last a long time, other waves are barely noticeable. Sometimes the waves get further apart, but they can hit at any time.
Sometimes we ride a wave of grief. Sometimes they cover us and crash over us with overwhelming intensity. Sometimes there is a downpour of tears.
When the disciples were in a boat surrounded by severe crashing waves, in a potentially life-threatening storm, Jesus was asleep. How? Why? Did Jesus not care? Could he not feel it?
They woke him up and he calmed the storm. That’s why I’ve put a ‘Jesus switch’ to remind me (and you) that Jesus is with us through all the storms we go through – including storms of grief – we can access the switch of calm when we need to rest from grief (or other storms).
This is what I painted on Tuesday 2nd June 2020 (#blackouttuesday). I added the quote, by Warsan Shire, on Wednesday 3rd June… I called it “where hurts?”. It was my way of expressing the pain I was feeling from the racism and riots in America, and the oppression that is happening during Pride Month. I long for a loving and inclusive world – although I know that there are other areas of discrimination and injustice too. This was my contribution towards standing up for all humans who are all worth living on our beautiful earth.
That’s all for now, I hope you have enjoyed reading my perspective of what Christian Art is.