Are there different Types of prophetic art?

The short answer is, yes there are! I've identified nine which is interesting as there are also nine fruits and nine gifts of the Spirit. I'm not saying it's an exhaustive list but I'm certain that different types of prophetic art have different uses or purposes.

To define just what prophetic art is, jump to;

What makes some art prophetic is that the inspiration for it comes from the Holy Spirit.

It's an intriguing idea to realise that there several different types of prophetic art. Its purpose is not just to illustrate the sermon, although sometimes, that's what God uses it for. Neither is it just for personal worship although this is the most common use of it.

Personal worship relates to when a worshipper starts with little or no preconceived concepts of the final artwork and essentially, waits on Holy Spirit for inspiration! Usually, this is done during worship and often in front of an audience although not necessarily.

There is a great deal of confusion around it though. How do people know that they have heard from God? Or what they think the purpose is, is actually correct? Or that their interpretation is right? And the absolute biggie, what happens when their result is not a good painting? And what's a less than good painting anyway? Is there bad art?

In fact, I've identified nine different purposes or types of prophetic art. In some cases, the purpose can overlap depending on who it's meant to speak to and the circumstances that the work is placed in. As well, God can use the same work for more than one purpose.

Understanding Prophetic art

The online course 'Understanding Prophetic Art" is the updated and extended edition of what God has shown me through several years of prophetic painting.

Over 100 images of quality prophetic art

Video footage of actual prophetic pieces as they were created

So much more depth

in no particular order of importance...

types of prophetic art, shofar, jewish, yom kippur

 

As no one type is more important than another, the following list is not placed in a particular order. Each type of prophetic art has a purpose but they can overlap according to time and place. For instance, a work of mine that I did as a secular piece, turned out to be used as a healing piece.

So don't get too hung up on whether a particular work fits this category or that one. Perhaps it's a bit like the overlap between the gift of wisdom and the gift of knowledge. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether it's one or the other or both but that aside, I've found the following list enlightening.

An Act Of Worship

I believe one of the primary purposes of prophetic art can be an act of worship or an expression of adoration from the artist to the Creator. I suspect that much of the art that is produced as worship art falls into this category.

Creating this painting was one of those times that I worshipped with everything in me while painting. There was a real sense of the presence of God painting with me. I’d started a painting of an angel, except that I didn’t know what an angel looked like. (This has continued to be a common theme....ho, hum, sigh.) This painting is described in more detail in Chapter 3 of my book, "Painting With God".

My emphasis when I was painting this piece was focused on worship, not painting, but God used it to translate an image of the supernatural into the natural. He bypassed my understanding and produced an image that resonated with lots of people, even though it had the potential to be unsuccessful. (I’ve been known to be overly enthusiastic and splash a lot of paint around in worship!) Much prophetic art is created as an expression of an individual’s relationship with God and reflects that individual’s communion with God.

types of prophetic art, signs and wonders, angel painting,prophetic

Love Letter

Pink Rose painting

In week 10 of the challenge, I felt God said to paint a large pink rose. To say I wasn’t comfortable about it is an understatement. Pale pink and a flower, painted in the church: what would that mean? I hadn’t been worship painting long at that stage, and this was an introduction to trust more. I had no idea why He wanted me to paint a pink rose so I looked up the meaning of roses, the color pink and anything else I could think of to justify painting it, but nothing sat well. Here I was about to paint a flower in church with no idea what it meant, just that it seemed to be what God wanted me to paint. Later it became apparent that the painting was a love letter to a special lady on a day when unexpectedly she would need an out-of-the-ordinary touch from God. That particular shade of pink and the rose itself spoke to her. It didn’t speak to me at all, but it didn’t need to. It was an expression of how intimately God knew her and her circumstances. Around that time, I stopped trying so hard to interpret what my paintings were about.

Healing

I’ve heard stories of paintings that carry healing anointing and I’d like to be the vehicle of producing such works much more often. One I know that carried that anointing in a particular situation was produced as a community service.

When I was first starting to paint prophetically, I created a work live in front of 2000 people at an outdoor Christmas Carol function. It was very large; 2.4 mts by 1.2m (8' x 4') in size. A few months later I took a much smaller print of it along as part of a class which I was doing about prophetic art and showed my image. Unbeknownst to me at the time, God used that painting to bring a major healing to a woman on the other side of the room about her son who had been abused by his father. The couple had recently separated, and her four-year-old son was withdrawn and non-communicative as a result of constant abuse from his dad that had started while he was still in the womb.

She took the print home and hung it on her son’s bedroom wall, explaining what God had said to her through that work. A couple of mornings later he bounced out, all smiles, exclaiming that “God loves me and I love me, too”! He’d gone from despising himself to self-acceptance through a visual image and a touch from Holy Spirit.

Bear in mind that this all happened several months after what, for me, had been a Christmas image painted as part of a community carols event. I didn’t know the woman at that time and had no idea that a painting could have that kind of impact.

God, Father, Offering baby Jesus
The Father's Offering To The World

He’d gone from despising himself to self-acceptance through a visual image and a touch from Holy Spirit.

A Call To Action

type of prophetic art, rabbit, bird, turtle, tortoise, call to action

This type of painting is an exhortation or a call to do something.

Our church had started to see glimpses of signs and wonders and Holy Spirit movement. We’d had a couple of lots of gold dust and had had some amazing God encounters. There was a general air of excited expectancy in the church about the movement of the Holy Spirit (or so I thought), then one night during worship God showed me that there were some different reactions to this in the church. The first was that of a tortoise who took one look and retracted into his shell away from it. The second was that of a dead or sleeping bird with its feet in the air in complacency, and the third was a rabbit running.

The work I created from that scene was a call to action for the church. The move of the Spirit is denoted by a large feather across the top (which various people have seen appear), and the animals are arrayed below it in the various stages of action.

See this painting explained in full in the course; "Understanding Prophetic Art".

When I wrote this, it was for a printed book format which meant a limited size and a very limited number of images. The online course 'Understanding Prophetic Art" is the updated and extended edition of what God has shown me through several years of prophetic painting.

Over 100 images of quality prophetic art

Video footage of actual prophetic pieces as they were created

So much more depth

Understanding Prophetic art

An Act Of Warfare

Another purpose of prophetic art is that which is created as an act of spiritual warfare. One of the first pieces I ever did of prophetic art was just such a piece. I went with Roma Waterman to a Sounds of the Nations worship conference in New Zealand hosted by Josh and Amberley Klinkenberg. It was a bit of a last-minute decision to go, and I thought I was just going along as a spectator or a pew-warmer. I didn’t even consider taking any paints or brushes as I had only painted live a handful of times at that stage.

While I was there, however, God told me to paint a large angel of war. I baulked because I had no idea what an angel looked like AND I’d never really painted without a reference image before. I’d been a portrait artist for a long time but always from photos. How was I supposed to paint an angel without knowing what it should look like? This would be flying blind! As well, God said to do the painting very large and in front of an unknown audience when I’d almost never painted live before. My reaction was “God, you’ve got to be kidding!” He wasn’t, and fortunately, my mate Mike Perry helped me get all the materials together for a 2.4m (8’) high painting, which is no mean feat!

I started the painting but still hadn’t seen an angel to have any idea of what I should paint, other than large. I desperately wanted to see one and I’d come to the conference asking that I would. People all around me were seeing angels, but not me. It was an amazing signs and wonders kind of conference! I was fairly trepidatious at the beginning so I started at the bottom of the work and worked up to the face, which was completely different from my usual method. The face is the focus of a portrait, so that’s where I’d normally start, and the rest of the work would fit in around it. This time though, I started with the body and worked up to the face out of cowardice.

Eventually, though, I got to the face and couldn’t put it off any longer. Again, I drew it ’backwards’ to my usual method, starting at the lips and progressing up the face, all without a reference image, which was way out of my comfort zone!

Amazingly, it seemed to work okay, but when I stepped back to look at it, I realized that the nose was very broad. Of course, I went to redraw it, until I clearly heard a ‘voice’ say to leave it alone. I realized then that Maori people do have wider noses and that the angel I had drawn was a Maori angel. It’s an interesting assumption from then that angels have different racial characteristics...

I still hadn’t seen an angel, so I tried to give him wings. Don’t all angels have wings? Apparently not! I painted a full set of wings three times over several days and then painted them out each time because I just couldn’t get them to work. I found out much later that not all angels have wings...

The cool part of the painting was collaborating with a Maori artist, Mike Tupaea who also painted on the taiaha or fighting stick. He added Maori cultural elements to that work with breathtaking and intricate linework on the end of the fighting stick. I believe that that also had prophetic implications for both his artistic practice and for the warfare element of that painting.

Doing that painting was really hard, both physically and spiritually. As the painting was so tall it meant climbing up and down a ladder regularly, which can be tiring in itself. The conference only went for a few days so there was time pressure to finish before it ended, as I had to fly home to Australia the following day. But the hardest thing was the spiritual opposition I felt during the painting, which was much worse than the physical resistance. The painting did get finished though and I know it was a warfare piece, partly by the level of opposition that I’d encountered while I was painting it. It was a call to arms for the Maori people to stand up and fight in the Spirit for their nation.

angel drawing
The Initial Drawing
Grace Bailey
Renowned Kiwi artist, Mike Tupaea painting the taiaha
Renowned Kiwi artist, Mike Tupaea painting the taiaha
Maori Angel of War
Maori Angel of War

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Specific Works For Secular Positions

hope, child abuse, suicide,

This is art which is ‘commissioned’ or inspired by God to be displayed in secular public areas. Such works are designed for a public audience with perhaps a broader context or meaning than more private works.

One such work occurred about a third of the way through the 52-week challenge. I believe God told me to enter a large local private school art show. Earlier in the year, I’d decided not to enter any more art shows because of the capricious nature of the judging and because I believed I should focus on prophetic art, so initially I argued with God. I didn’t want to do that painting as the subject matter was a difficult and sensitive one to tackle that I felt quite deeply about, but didn’t want to comment on publicly.

Also, it can be quite difficult to produce a work in a limited timeframe with the pressure of producing to an arbitrary ‘standard’ that is not defined, but which is somehow there. However, as I went on arguing, God gave me an image, and the painting grew from there. I spent a little over three weeks on it, and they were indeed difficult weeks. The subject of the work were some of the revelations of a Royal Commission hearing into child sexual abuse by members of the clergy in Ballarat. A protracted Commission session had been held in my home town, and for two weeks I read in the local paper about the atrocities perpetrated on little children by Catholic priests during the 70’s and 80’s.

It would have been easy to turn that painting into a condemnatory work, but I believe the work I created was for healing, titled “Let there be Light, and Hope”. It’s a haunting work that highlights the fact that twelve boys out of a class of thirty-three have since committed suicide. There’s vivid light shining over the boys signifying that there can be hope for the Light, despite the horrendous circumstances. The school bought the painting, and it will hang in a gallery space created by the school as a memorial to the victims and survivors. I believe that God wanted that work painted so it could hang in the school and be seen by present-day students and staff.

Update; It's so much easier to describe in more detail with images so jump over to the course 'Understanding Prophetic Art" and see the complete breakdown of this thought-provoking piece.

Personal Messages

Of course God inspires more personal works for individuals for specific intimate locations. Recently, an elderly lady asked me to paint a field of poppies for her middle-aged agnostic son. He’d wanted a field of poppies for personal reasons. His mum asked me to paint a white horse with a rider on it to signify Christ in an obscure way so that he wouldn’t immediately recognize its presence in his home. We prayed together over that work and believe that God has a missional purpose in its placement in the son’s home.

Field of Poppies
Field of Poppies

Revealing The Spirit World

lock, eyes, Unlocking the Mysteries of Heaven

Another purpose of prophetic art is to reveal aspects of the Spirit world. I believe that we live in a physical reality with matter but are surrounded by both good and bad spirits, which affect our thoughts, actions and speech. I also believe that the barrier to being able to see those entities is nothing but a veil or a chimera. We often regard it as more of an impenetrable brick wall when it really is a will-o-the-wisp illusion that keeps most people from recognizing it or believing in it.

Painting angels is a step along that path. I want to be able to reveal it.

Prophetic Declaration

Prophetic art can be confirmation or declaration of prophecy or, in other words, a visual representation of a prophecy. Such a work was created at Hillview Church in Melbourne with Gary Morgan. The story of that work is written in more detail in Chapter 3 of the book "Painting With God". The church had previously had a word about the lion representing the apostolic and the eagle the prophetic. I created that piece without prior knowledge of that prophecy. Even the act of creating the seen out of the unseen was a prophetic declaration for a church led by a recognized prophet. (11) Sometimes a painting will directly relate to the topic being preached or some other aspect of the service and reinforces what God is saying as the prophetic declaration.

This painting is a verifiable miracle. Jump over to the course' Understanding Prophetic Art" and check out how!

There's also footage of other miracle paintings, including one of a baby called forth after 10 years of barrenness for a young couple.

When I wrote this, it was for a printed book format which meant a limited size and a very limited number of images. The online course 'Understanding Prophetic Art" is the updated and extended edition of what God has shown me through several years of prophetic painting.

Over 100 images of quality prophetic art

Video footage of actual prophetic pieces as they were created

So much more depth

Understanding Prophetic art

Prophetic Cartoons or Images

All of the above types of art refer to work that is painted or drawn, usually larger for more or less public display as art. In other words, the purpose is to create an art piece that speaks God’s messages. Another type of what is commonly known as prophetic art is that which is produced as an inspirational drawing or card to be given away. It is usually smaller, rendered quickly and meant for an individual. In essence, people wait on God for an image, draw it and then give it to the person. I liken this one to a spoken word prophecy, almost like a drawn ‘word’ rather than ‘art.' Perhaps a better term for such works would be 'prophetic images' rather than calling them 'prophetic art".

This is in no way to disparage or devalue such works, but to provide a more accurate definition that separates it from prophetic art as there is much pretentiousness in the art world surrounding the definition of the word ‘art', and I don’t mean to bring that into this conversation. Essentially they have the same purpose, but to label both as art is a misnomer that brings misunderstanding and perhaps lowers perceptions of the quality of prophetic art. I’m going to state again that I’m in no way disparaging such works and I know that often they can bring amazing God moments for both the creator and the receiver. I believe, however, that part of my purpose is to provide clarification around definitions of prophetic art and this type of drawing should therefore be differentiated from ‘art’.

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