I've always been a fan of people who put scripture references on their business cards, or company vehicles rather than spelling out the scripture verse. When I read a verse, I usually think that’s nice, then forget about it. But if I see a scripture reference instead, my curiosity is piqued and I can’t wait to look it up. The saying is that curiosity killed the cat. But with scripture, that curiosity might encourage or even save someone.
So, I had taken to putting a scripture reference on the back of my paintings. I often found myself questioning if I should put it under my signature on the front side instead. Does anyone actually buy art with a scripture reference on the front? I wanted to know the answer to that question.
My husband and I were taking a trip to see relatives in Florida. Often we will stop at St. Augustine, one of our favorite places. This particular time we stayed in the Casa Monica Resort and Spa, which has the James Coleman Signature Gallery located off the lobby. There was an artist doing a live demonstration. Phillip Anthony, was painting the most spectacular beach scenes in black and white.
Phillip and I struck up a conversation, kind of. Really, this guy new nothing at all about me, and out of the blue, he looks straight at me and said: “When God tells you to paint, then you paint!” It was like God was speaking directly to me through Phillip. After all, Phillip did not know anything about me. He did not know I am a Christian. I was not wearing a cross. I was not wearing my nametag from Bible study. We had not broached the subject of God. Much later, I realized that he was probably speaking about himself, but that is not how I took it at the time. I was deeply moved at this bold directive that seemed to come directly from God through Phillip.
Clearly shaken, I needed to pull myself back together before heading out to walk the streets of St. Augustine. So I figured I’d walk around the gallery, enjoy the artwork on display, and give myself time to recoup. It was then that I saw that James Coleman has his life verse John 8:12, underneath his signature on the front of every one of his paintings. Apparently, artwork with scripture references on the front does indeed sell! And, sells well!
Since that day, scripture references have become the hallmark of my signature. The scripture reference is not the same for all of my pieces but changes depending on the circumstances. For instance, sometimes I choose a scripture that matches the artwork itself. At other times, the circumstances surrounding the painting, or perhaps prayer for the future owner may dictate the scripture reference applied. For commissioned pieces, the buyer, if inclined, can choose the scripture reference.
Also, since that day my mantra has been: “When God tells you to paint, then you paint.”
And yes, you will have to look up John 8:12.
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