What Is Prophetic Art?

My first question when God called me to paint His art was the very basic one of ‘what is prophetic art’? I’d never seen anyone attempt to marry the prophetic with a painted image. When I began, I had never seen or even heard of anyone painting 'prophetic art', let alone someone painting in church! I didn’t know what it was all about or what it was meant to ‘look’ like, which in retrospect was possibly a good thing as I had to go on a journey to discover what it was, what it meant and where I fitted, instead of accepting someone else’s definition and methodology.

I sincerely believe that this was God's plan all along as there are some things that He wants to be broadcast about this whole field.

multi-media eye
Grace Bailey

And then God asked me to paint each week for a whole year during worship!

Initially, I wasn’t keen to do it. It was a huge undertaking and a big commitment as well as a financial drain. However, it was an awesome opportunity that honed a lot of skills – both artistically and prophetically. I learned to recognize God's voice more accurately and I've been part of serious miracle works!

Boy was it a learning curve! I had soooo many questions!!!!!! I went everywhere I could including to Bethel to get answers but nothing seemed to give me understanding. I come from an arts background with tertiary education and many years as an artist. I could see the intentions but there was so much to understand that didn't seem to be explained.

Worship Art? Prophecy? Spiritual? Hmm...

One of the largest effects though has been that a love of painting has been restored. I’ve experienced more times of feeling truly alive whilst painting during worship than any other activity. Now I realise that it is what I’m called to do, but first, I needed to reevaluate some of the concepts that I’d picked up and shake off the incredible disillusionment that had come with my experience of secular art.

I’d been a portrait artist more or less full-time between being a single parent and a property investor for two decades. Along the way, I’d picked up a Masters in Visual Art, majoring in Drawing and Painting (portraits). I’d run the usual artist’s gauntlet of solo and group exhibitions and participated in lots of art shows, so over the years, I’d done a lot of art. In fact, I’d accrued at least the ‘10,000’ hours practice that Malcolm Gladwell espouses as a starting point of any (arts) practise.

 My story is told in much more depth in my book; "Painting With God" which you can download here. It's a very honest and vulnerable story about my journey through the hopeful optimism of youth usual path to be an artist, onto the pain of rejection as an artist to prophetic art. The short version is that one day sometime after believing I was a failure as an artist, I was asked me to paint in church. I had NO idea what it was all about! I lived in a country town in Australia (where's that anyway?) and had never even heard of anyone painting in church.

My Very First Prophetic Painting!

There I was, in front of a crowd with a large undercoated board (150cm x 120cm, or 5' x 4') waiting for a mind-blowing inspiration from God. It was a moment of significant insecurity when the heavens didn't roll back and reveal an amazing vista! This is what I thought you were meant to do.

It seemed as if I was on my own with no revelation but I did what in retrospect seems like common sense: I went with what I knew I could do. I’d been drawing and painting eyes for over a decade, so that’s what I started with; a pair of large, drippy eyes. As the painting developed, the verse in Joel 2:28 came to me, where ‘old men will dream dreams (and) young men will see visions,' which I subsequently wrote on the work. Unbeknownst to me, the whole theme of the weekend was about having eyes to see what God wanted. I had created a prophetic piece without knowing what prophetic art was!

While I'd definitely heard from God and the message was correct, despite the years of painting practice, it wasn't a stellar work!!!! This was one of my first lessons.

young men see visions, prophetic art,

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

I moved on from that first experience but If I was going to do more of it, I needed a reference or a definition that I could work with, otherwise, how would I know whether what I was doing was right or not? It took me quite a while, with lots of time spent asking questions, but eventually, I came up with a simple definition; prophetic art is a message from God in visual form (as opposed to dancing, music, verbally or the Word). It is visual imagery which speaks God’s words; be they photography, drawing, painting or any other kind of visual ‘art.'

It should always be edifying, comforting or encouraging as that’s the bottom line for all prophecy. If touched by the hand of God, prophetic art can release healing or power or emotional freedom in a way that spoken words can’t. It can bring an awareness of beauty or awe that really can cut between bone and marrow and get right to the heart of a person’s soul. If Holy Spirit partners with the artist and imparts His presence into the work, it can be an instrument of healing or revelation or encounter long after the work is created. There's more about this in my course; "Understanding Prophetic Art". Check it out here;

However, prophetic art doesn't need to be produced live in front of an audience or during worship. It's still prophetic art wherever it's produced if the inspiration for it comes from the Holy Spirit and its purpose is to edify, encourage or comfort. In fact, producing live art often limits the quality of the outcome because of the need for speedy rendition (most worship sessions don’t go for more than an hour or so). It’s VERY hard to produce a finished piece of quality art in such a short time. I'm not saying it's not possible (and I've done it with the help of angels) but it is tricky to achieve.

As I have painted live during worship well over 200 times, the need for speed has influenced my style. Sometimes, I’ve taken a work home and tweaked it, but the looseness produced during worship has remained as a stylistic characteristic. Where before, I was a highly realist portrait painter, achieving a good likeness each time, my prophetic art oscillates between a contemporary abstracted style and more realistic work depending on many factors. The type and tempo of the worship, the intention of the piece, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and where He takes it are all factors that affect the final outcome.

Creating prophetically inspired photography is nigh on impossible in a live church setting, and yet photography coupled with photo manipulation techniques such as photoshop is probably the most developed method of quality prophetic art that I’ve seen.

If an artist only paints in oils or takes weeks to complete a piece, live art will probably not be for them. But that doesn’t preclude their work from being prophetic art. It all comes back to the heart behind the piece and purpose of it.

The more ‘finished’ pieces that many people relate to need time to complete. They also need time to develop beforehand. In other words, the preparation for a prophetic painting is at least as important as the final product and requires extensive thought, research, and skill if it is to be produced publically.

I believe that the ideas that the Holy Spirit gives an artist are essentially the 'seed' of the concept and that He wants us to create the best image possible in collaboration with Holy Spirit in order to create the best art possible. This is much better explained in the online course, "Understanding Prophetic Art".

Endorsements From Creative Thought Leaders:

matt-toomey

Matt Tommey

Artist, Speaker, Author

It’s my pleasure to endorse her new book ‘Painting with God’. In it, she candidly shares her own journey into creating with the Holy Spirit and gives artists practical tools to do the same. I know it will encourage you on your creative journey.”

Roma Waterman

Roma Waterman

Worship Leader, Author

In this book. Grace demystifies the process of prophetic art while sharing her journey, thoughts. and feelings. She simplifies the process with practical and spiritual applications that emerging prophetic artists can apply.

Josh Klinkenberg

Josh Klinkenberg

 We have had Grace paint at several of our worship schools over the last 3 or 4 years and have seen first hand the impact of her gift on individuals and atmospheres alike. Grace’s humility allows the Lord to minister powerfully through her art form.

jeff-crabtree

Jeff Crabtree

A great balance between theology/life history/practical advice all seasoned with hard won experience.

Jeff Crabtree

Author of Living With A Creative Mind, Zebra Collective, 2011

Start Your Own Prophetic Art Adventure With The 'Painting With God" book.

Painting With God

You'll be guided by experienced artist, Grace Bailey, through ten colorful chapters on how to get started, face your fears and create images that tell God-stories.

Explore what prophetic art is all about.

Be captivated by real prophetic art stories.

Be inspired to start your own prophetic art adventure.

inspirational cards

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’.

Currently, many people believe that prophetic art requires no art skills and in fact, almost no prior work before it is produced live during worship, often in front of an audience. Effectively, to start with a blank canvas and listen as God tells you what colours to use, and where to place it. Sadly, this often ends up with large undefinable areas of swirly colours applied or badly drawn subjects. There's a reason for this!

While such blank canvas art may be a very heartfelt experience and is great for personal worship, and I might add, A WHOLE LOT OF FUN!, I believe that God wants to move the field into a much more professional era. Blank canvas art is great for personal healing and the like but it's not likely to stand the test of time as 'great' art. In 500 years time, people are unlikely to queue up to view it as they currently do for the great Christian artists of the past like Michelangelo.

The 'blank canvas' concept was a great place to start but for anyone serious about using their art to glorify God's kingdom, it requires some serious skill-building. Just as a worship leader or musician wouldn't expect to play on stage without a high level of skill, we, as the church as a whole need to move away from poorer quality art that is lauded because of the God factor.

Please hear my heart. This is not meant to be condemnatory in any way but it is a call to get skilled up before you create live work publically. I'm all for personal worship art at the rear of an auditorium or as part of a healing service but if you're going to do it publically, get your skills up!

Not everyone will be a great artist, just as not every musician will be a red-hot muso but surely there's an expectation that the artists do all they can to do their personal best?

As well, there's an argument that blank canvas art cheapens Christian art because it generally results in art that is poor in quality.

Identify which of the nine types you're most called to and why you relate to different kinds.

Understand what happens if your interpretation differs from someone else's AND MUCH MORE.

Over 100 images of quality prophetic art

Video footage of actual prophetic pieces as they were created

So much more depth

Understanding Prophetic art

different types with different purposes

Father God used the 52-week challenge to paint each week during worship to teach me so much about His art and where He wants to take it as well as lots about myself. There's loads more to read in my book "Painting With God".

But one of the most interesting things that He showed me is that there are more than one type or purposes of prophetic art. The purpose of Prophetic art is not just to illustrate the sermon! 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.

Another very interesting point is that it's possible for one work to be interpreted with various meanings because God is more than capable of saying several messages from a single visual image. This is much better described in my course https://gracebailey.net/understanding-prophetic-art-course/ as it's easier to describe visually.

Lion of Judah, communion, bread and wine, vine
Lion of Judah presides over communion

And It's not all about lions and eagles!

To find out what the nine different purposes of prophetic art are, keep reading here or get the whole story with the "Painting With God" book,

or Start Your Own Prophetic Art Adventure With The 'Painting With God" book.

Painting With God

You'll be guided by experienced artist, Grace Bailey, through ten colorful chapters on how to get started, face your fears and create images that tell God-stories.

Explore what prophetic art is all about.

Be captivated by real prophetic art stories.

Be inspired to start your own prophetic art adventure.

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