The art of Cas Smith

Recently on facebook I met an artist called Cas Smith. Cas is a teacher as well as an artist who uses her gift to worship God and share the gospel. I asked Cas to write a little bit about herself and about her work.

I doodle and paint because I have to, it’s a compulsion, it’s something I do because I can’t not do it. Everything I create is an expression of my relationship with God, it’s ups and downs, frustrations and submissions, the reality of faith. I tend to paint figuratively but not in a realistic sense, the figures can become highly simplistic and distorted, often with a focus on the hands. With hands we can hurt or heal, it’s a choice much like faith. A lot of my images are highly personal and mark my walk with him, but relevant to so many who are on that journey with Christ as well. I’m constantly aware that sometimes we dress Christianity up in sugary sweetness and an “everything will be wonderful if you just believe” attitude rather than being real about the messiness of life. Supporting and walking with each other through that messiness.

The scariest and most liberating way of painting is during worship and ‘live’ art sessions. During a gathering, I’m led by the Holy Spirit to put an image to canvas, or doodle in a book in that space where he’s already at work, leading worshipers/seekers to a place where they meet with him, it’s immediate and of the moment. Generally when I do paint during worship, I tend not to talk to the speaker before the meeting, this would influence the image and would become contrived and forced. Instead it’s about giving the Holy Spirit free reign to move and work. This can make things sound ‘airey fairey’ but I’m constantly amazed by the way this turns out, how God works through an image and meets with people and draws them closer to him.

I doubt that my work would ever be displayed in the RA, but that’s not what it’s about, it’s about ministering to other people and leading them on in their walk with Jesus. The ‘live’ art sessions are also pretty much on the same lines but a lot more low-key, it’s really subtle, quietly ministering to people in the modern day meeting places, entering into the spiritual conversation of life. Taking Jesus out of the 4 walls of church into the streets, or in my case the coffee shops.

To see some more of Cas’s work, check out her Flickr.

– James

Artworship

If your interested in using art to enable worship check out Artworship, founded by Jeremy and Jamie Wells, two artists in Houston who are commissioned by churches to paint during their worship, often over many sessions. All profit generated by artwork and events goes to global mission, which is brilliant.

To look at more paintings like the above click here.

– Miriam

More from Jesus Painter (Mike Lewis)

We have shown Mike’s work in a previous post but he has a lot of videos of him painting that are just SO worth sharing. The particular video shown above is very beautifully put together, and very moving. I love the way that the emotion is put across using so many dimensions with the painting, the words and the music.

– James

Artworship

The paintings above were all born out of a project run by Jeremy and Jamie Wells called “Artworship“.

“During Artworship participants are asked to reconsider worship. They are asked to forget what they have known and think about the fundamentals of worship, of expressing love and reverent devotion to God.  What makes the God of Christianity different from the deities of other faiths is His extremely personal interest in knowing us. Our response to this should be worship which allows this personal God to search us out, to test us and to know our thoughts.  Many times we don’t give ourselves this freedom or we are scared to delve into these areas and thoughts.  Artworship is a place where we can come before this Holy and Loving God.  We can express though creative means our love, devotion and the truth of who we are.

People are asked to create.  And they are not given a formula.  This can be a frightening experience for some.  For this reason, we walk people through this experience and assure them that being created in the Image of God, we all have a creative capacity within us. The hope is not an end result of beautiful paintings. The hope is that through this experience Christ will be allowed to touch what has been hidden away and the process of healing and forgiveness can begin.'”

An extract from the Artworship website

I think that what these guys are doing is fantastic, and, I for one think that art could be utilized so much more in public worship.

We have people painting occasionally at the church service I attend, and I know that for some people, they find it so helpful. It’s not just about the artist, who is able to use their God given talent to worship their maker, but about people who learn and take things in better using visual aids.

I think that a very important point that Jeremy and Jamie make is when they say “The hope is not an end result of beautiful paintings“. I believe that all of us have creativity, if only because we are made in the image of a creative God! I always say to people that say they can’t do art, that whatever they create, someone, somewhere will like it and will be willing to pay money for it. Even with that being the case, that is not the point here – to me, there is no such thing as a “bad” piece of art, not only because of the fact that people have different tastes, but because of the fact that art is SO much more than the finished product, it is SO about the process and what the artist goes through to create!

So in this, what I am saying is that, if you feel like you are not a creative person, that you can’t paint, then give it a go, take a pen, or some watercolors, or whatever you can find, take some time aside with God and create something in worship to him, and see if it is helpful to you. And, if you are a creative person, take some time to encourage someone else to try out a new way of expressing their love and worship to Jesus.

– James