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Final Project: The Garden of Gethsemane

In the spring of 2011 I had the exciting opportunity to travel to Israel with my church. During my trip I learned about the history of the land and saw many different biblical places of the Old and New Testaments. Throughout my tour in Israel, I was continually bombarded by a rush of sites, sounds and information. It was a whirlwind two week trip where we explored both Jerusalem and Galilee. The trip for me at times was surreal and I was constantly amazed that I was actually seeing places that I had read about in the Bible. In the midst of the busyness of the tour, there were several places where our group took a moment to pause and rest in God’s presence as we thought about the significance of the place we had journeyed to.

One of the intriguing places that we traveled to was the Garden of Gethsemane. It was a powerful experience to me to be able to actually walk in a place so famous and historically significant.  Here is a picture I took while at the Garden of Gethsemane.Gethsemane Photo

For my final project for Art and Christ I decided to do a drawing of the Garden of Gethsemane. Using sepia tones of pastel pencils and charcoal, I created a drawing of this beautiful and sacred place.

Gethsemane Drawing

I wanted my final project to be something personal and beautiful that I have experienced and I feel like my drawing captures the essence of that moment of walking in the garden.


Pastor Jeremy Siebert Interview: Art and Faith

Pastor Jeremy Siebert and his family

Pastor Jeremy Siebert and his family

I had the unique opportunity to interview my Pastor, Jeremy Siebert of Sandy Assembly of God Church, and ask him some questions about art and faith. I was impressed by the in-depth, thought provoking answers of his responses.

What role did artists play in the Old and New Testaments? (This could include architecture, storytelling, music, dance etc.)

Artists and the arts have played a large role in God’s redemptive story and have a prominent place in the Scripture.   When Israel was led out of Egypt, God instructed them to build a tabernacle. God gave very specific details on how the tabernacle should look. We read in Exodus 36:1-2

“Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the Lord has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.”

And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.

From this passage we discover that God had skilled these craftsmen and we see them use their skill for the work of the Lord.

King David was a prolific song writer. In fact 73 of the psalms have him listed as the author. Many of the psalms say in the superscription, “To the choirmaster…”

When we come to the gospels in the New Testament we see what a master communicator Jesus was. We get to read what He said to the crowds and to His disciples as He taught them. He often used parables when teaching. It has been said that the parables were earthly stories with a heavenly meaning. You can imagine how easily the stories could be remembered and retaught. They were very memorable!  But the parables served another purpose as well. The parables served in a way as a coded message, so that those with hard hearts couldn’t understand what was being said, while those with discerning hearts (followers of Christ), could learn the meaning.

What is the role of the Christian artist in the Church today?

The Christian artist has a very important role in the church today. Just as artists were critical to what God did in the past, they are critical to what God is doing in the present, and what He will do in the future. In Ephesians 2:10 we read,

10 For we are his workmanship,created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Verses 8 and 9 remind us that we are saved by grace through faith. We are not saved as a result of works, so that no man can boast. Then we come to verse 10 and are reminded that while good works don’t save us, God has prepared good works for the saved person to walk in. He has given His people various talents, treasure, and time and those are meant to be used for the glory of God.

As humans we are created in the image of God. One way we reflect Him as Creator is through art.  When an artist writes a song, draws a picture, or designs a house for God’s glory, they are demonstrating the fact that they have a creative God that has given them a creative mind.

Explain how the arts play a role in your church? This could include painting, drawing, photography, writing, poetry, storytelling, music, dance, drama, film, graphic design, architecture etc.

We have some great artists in the church. At Easter one year, we displayed artwork from one of the ladies in the church that paints so well. We had a young lady in the congregation do her entire Senior project on Christian themes a few years back and we still have one of her paintings hanging in the youth hall. One year a man in our congregation wrote a tremendous poem about what Jesus did for us in His substitutionary death. I asked him for permission to read his poem and read it to the congregation.  I believe the poem had an even greater impact as a result of it coming from one of our own members.

We have made various creative video clips throughout the years.

We sing a few songs during worship that have been written by members of our congregation.

We utilize drama each year for our vacation Bible school.

What advice would you give a Christian artist to encourage them to keep a healthy perspective on their art and not let it become an idol?

That is a great question. Of course any Christian artist’s intention would be to do things for God’s glory, but it can be easy to loose perspective. Often the praise goes to the artist instead of to God who gave the artist the ability. That praise can infect their head and heart if they are not careful. One thing I would encourage a Christian artist to do is to spend time in prayer as they are working on their project, specifically praying for their project. Praying for success and wisdom and also for humility.  I would encourage any artist to deflect the praise away from self and to God.  Reading Scripture, praying, checking their heart on a regular basis, are all important in the process of guarding against idolatry. For some it may even mean a willingness to step away from a project for an extended period of prayer, if the focus has begun to turn away from God and to art itself. A friend or family member can help give an outside perspective to the artist if the artist is willing to ask.

What do you foresee is the role of the Christian arts in the future? 

I believe that God has a great plan in store for the Christian arts.  With the moral decline in our culture much of the art of the world is crude, and even blasphemous.  Because much of the world’s art is dark, the Christian’s art has the ability to shine all the brighter for the glory of God.

Heidi’s Summary

 Overall, this interview opened my eyes to the importance of art in the church and the Christian artist’s role in the world. It was interesting to learn how the arts have played a powerful role in the Old and New Testaments. Christian art is meant to stand out and bring a message of hope to the world. One of the valuable lessons I learned from this interview is the importance of prayer in the art-making process. Making prayer a priority when I am working on projects from start to finish can help me keep my focus on what is really important and can keep me humble and thankful for the gifts and talents God has given me. I appreciate my pastor taking the time to let me interview him and I enjoyed hearing his knowledgeable responses about the role of art in the Bible and in the Church today.


Siebert, Jeremy. Personal interview. 11 Nov. 2013.

Collaboration- There Am I in the Midst of Them

What comes to mind when you think of collaboration and art? Are you intimidated, inspired or frustrated? While collaboration can be one of the most challenging endeavors, it can result in some of the most rewarding and creative projects. Two minds are better than one right? As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Think of all that has been accomplished with collaboration and architecture? Buildings would take forever to build if one man alone tried to do it himself. The pyramids of Egypt, stained glass Cathedrals, and the Book of Kells would not exist if people were not collaborating with each other. J.R.R. Tolkien’s short story, Leaf By Niggle, explains how each artist can only paint one leaf, but it takes everyone working together to paint the whole tree, collaboration is the key to seeing the big picture.

In It Was Good, in the chapter on collaboration, it explains how “Solo success is certainly not wrong, or “selling out,” but it can cause the artist to depend on himself, lose his focus on God as the true creative power, and separate himself from the community at large from whom he makes his art. Collaboration is often very difficult because it causes artists to depend on one another and on God for the skill to remain humble while working to merge two or more artistic visions” (Bustard 276). This can be a challenge not only in the visual arts but also in music and theater. If we start to think too highly of ourselves that is where we really start to get into trouble. Focusing on your success alone and not thinking about other people can cut you off from the amazing work that God is doing through other people’s lives.

When we choose to collaborate we can see amazing things unfold. An example of this can be seen in The Great Dance. Inspired by C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, this dance was a collaborative process that brought together many different dancers of a wide range of talents who learned the dance in an incredibly short amount of time and put on an outstanding dance. Although this show could have focused on talent alone by choosing the most skilled dancers, “The careful communication and humble assistance of the better trained dancers in the mixed group allowed the other dancers the freedom and safety to trust each other…A man of strong character will recognize his own weaknesses, depend on God and work graciously with others despite their limitations” (Bustard 280).  When we choose to work together we are engaging in an act of trust.

I had the exciting opportunity to collaborate in an art project this semester in my sculpture class. As a group of four, my classmates and I chose a poem called The Sycamore by Wendell Berry and we each created a clay tile that symbolized or depicted a part of the story. I was very happy with how it turned out and how our different styles of handling the clay show through. At the same time there is a unity to the piece because of our combination of the great Sycamore tree in all of our pieces. We started by sketching together first and then we made our tiles together. Here is the poem we chose along with images of our sketches and the clay tiles we produced.

The Sycamore

In the place that is my own place, whose earth

I am shaped in and must bear, there is an old tree growing,

a great sycamore that is a wondrous healer of itself.

Fences have been tied to it, nails driven into it,

Hacks and whittles cut in it, the lightning has burned it.

There is no year it has flourished in

that has not harmed it. There is a hollow in it

that is its death, though its living brims whitely

at the lip of the darkness and flows outward.

Over all its scars has come the seamless white 
of the bark.

It bears the gnarls of its history
 healed over.

It has risen to a strange perfection
 in the warp and bending of its long growth.

It has gathered all accidents into its purpose.

It has become the intention and radiance of its dark face.

It is a fact, sublime, mystical and unassailable.

In all the country there is no other like it.

I recognize in it a principle, an indwelling 
the same as itself, and greater, that I would be ruled by.

I see that it stands in its place, and feeds upon it,
 and is fed upon,

and is native, and maker.

-Wendell Berry



Bustard, Ned. It Was Good Making Art to the Glory of God Second Edition 2006. Square Halo Books: 2006. Print.

Why We Need Artists

Why We Need Artists

It Was Good Making Art to the Glory of God

 In It Was Good, in the Ch. Titled Why We Need Artists, I came across an intriguing quote by C.S. Lewis: “reason is the organ of truth, but imagination is the organ of meaning” (Bustard 117). When you think about it, this statement proves true no matter how unimaginative you are. We use our reasoning and logic to uncover truth, but to actually comprehend what we are thinking about we have to imagine it. Imagination brings meaning and understanding. Imagination is something we take for granted everyday but is actually a powerful tool.

This reminds me of a chapter I read in a book  by Gene Veith titled The Soul of the Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe. In the introduction of the book, it explains some background information about Lewis’s own transformation from atheism to faith. One day in a bookstall at a train station, Lewis came across a book titled Phantastes, a novel and fairy tale written by George MacDonald (a Christian author from the 19th century). Lewis later explained how this book “baptized his imagination” (Veith 15). When Lewis began to read Phantastes “[the] book gave him a glimpse of something beyond the train station and his own grubby life, a sense of something good and mysterious and powerful, and without his knowing what it was, the book made him yearn for it. Later, he said, he realized that the book was giving him his first experience of a sense of holiness” (Veith 15).

Much later on, when Lewis decided to write his own fairytale he described the goal of his work to his friend George Sayer: “[he meant to] make it easier for children to accept Christianity when they met it later in life. He hoped they would be vaguely reminded of the somewhat similar stories they had read and enjoyed years before. “I am aiming at a sort of pre-baptism of the child’s imagination.” (Veith 21). Lewis aimed at opening up children’s imaginations to the gospel message, and he did it in an unexpected way. He told the story of the gospel but in a different way. Art and writing can have a powerful effect on people and even if they are absolutely closed to the idea of Christianity, they may be more open to reading a story you have written or seeing a painting you have made. This in turn can baptize their imaginations and could one day lead them on a journey in the Christian faith. So the reason we need artists is for this very valuable task. As explained in It Was Good “One artist can express only one little ray of God’s glory” (Bustard 124). This is why we need a community of artists each doing the specific task God has given them. In a small way we can all contribute to igniting the world’s imagination and opening their eyes to the Glory of God.

To answer the question why we need artists, here are some amazing images I found by an artist from the CIVA (Christians In the Visual Arts) website. Artists can help us understand the world in which we live and open our eyes up to the incredible display of God’s Glory in nature.

Here are a couple of landscape images I found by Len Cicio on CIVA’s website:

THE NEW EARTH by Len Cicio

The New Earth by Len Cicio


Water Movements  by GWBridge, (colored pencils, pen and ink) by Len Cicio

I found Len Cicio’s description of this piece particularly interesting: “A friend of mine who lives in Washington Heights in NYC took a photo of these 2 ducks and the patterns their path made on the water By the George Washington Bridge.  I tried capturing some of God’s incredible patterns of nature with colored pencils and pen & ink.  No one can do it quite like the Master but that doesn’t stop us from trying as artists to keep rasing our level up.  Enjoy! Len”


Here is a paint sketch I did of a tree to show how art and imagination helps us understand and explore the Glory of God that is found in nature:

tree paint sketch

Tree Paint Sketch by Heidi Walton


Bustard, Ned. It Was Good Making Art to the Glory of God Second Edition 2006. Square Halo Books: 2006. Print.

Veith, Gene. The Soul of the Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe. Victor: 2005. Print.

The Work of Our Hands

It Was Good Making Art to the Glory of God

The Work of our Hands

When we call something creative, what do we mean? Webster’s definition of the word “create” means to make or produce (something) : to cause (something new) to exist or to produce (something new, such as a work of art) by using your talents and imagination. While we use the word creativity to describe many different aspects of using our imagination and our hands, “the Bible only speaks of God creating, never people” (Bustard 128). This is not to say there were no artists in the Bible. On the contrary art has always played a vital role in the way God’s people have expressed their relationship with their Creator. God’s gifting of craftsmen to design the tabernacle is a prominent example of this:

Now Bezalel and Oholiab, and every skillful person in whom the LORD has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work in the construction of the sanctuary, shall perform in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.     Exodus 36:1

It Was Good explains how the Hebrew words “skill and understanding” used in this passage are translated as “wisdom, ability, intelligence and insight” (Bustard, 127). These are the characteristics needed in artists. So often it seems in our culture that the arts are not regarded as highly as they used to be. Wisdom is not the first thing that comes to mind when many people think about art. While people in careers centered around mathematics, science and medicine are looked on with favor and prestige, art is often looked down upon or dismissed as mere decorations. Although our culture is saturated by art, there is many times a disconnect from people understanding the artist and the artist’s process. The same is true for graphic design. Unless you sit down and walk your client through your design process showing them stages of your sketching and planning, they will never fully understand or appreciate the time you put into it. There is a disconnect from understanding the craft and the craftsmen.

It Was Good describes craftsmanship in this way, “Craftsmanship is the skilled manipulation of materials in object making. The best craftsmen, artisans and artists have the ability to “transfigure matter,” transforming it though hard work to reveal beauty and occasional magnificence” (Bustard 127). This definition really intrigues me and gives me a fresh perspective of how I view art. Every time I produce a work of art I get to engage in “transfigure[ing] matter.” Transfigure means a change in form or appearance. I am taking a specific medium or “matter” such as paint and changing it into a form or appearance. The best craftsmen “reflect the maker’s respect for himself, the materials of creation, as well as a high regard for the user or viewer”  (Bustard 127). As the artist applies their wisdom in transfiguring matter into a different appearance they must consider what the art is saying to themselves and also what they hope to say to those who will see their work. Although these questions may be subconscious while the process is taking place, they are still very much relevant to the work of art as a whole. Another characteristic of a skilled craftsmen is “the design inherent in it, is also “just right,” specific, and “deliberate” (Bustard 129). While we may take this idea of being specific or deliberate for granted all we need to do is look at God’s creation to see where we get it from. There is order and specificity everywhere we look in nature. We want our art to have order, purpose and meaning because we want our lives to have order, purpose and meaning. The greatness of God’s universe and specific detail of our world down to the smallest subatomic particle in an atom is designed with wisdom and significance. We strive to make art and define meaning by bringing order out of chaos just as God brought meaning when he spoke into the darkness and created the light.

To understand the wisdom and the responsibility that craftsmen bear, it is good to delve more into studying the building of the tabernacle. The intricate detailed instructions that God gives the builders in constructing the tabernacle itself and the furnishings within is worth exploring. Here is a fascinating drawing  that displays the tabernacle and gives you a picture of the grandness of the structure in the midst of the wilderness. sepia

This website explains more about the furnishings, decorations and tools used in the tabernacle.

Check out these amazing sculptures of the ark of the covenant at St. Anne of the Sunset Catholic Church (in San Francisco), at this site:

52 West door Ark of the Covenant

(St. Anne Sunset Catholic Church)

Escorting the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem-(illustration-late-19th-century)

Here is a sketch I did of this artwork:

ark of the covenant sketch1


Bustard, Ned. It Was Good Making Art to the Glory of God Second Edition 2006. Square Halo Books: 2006. Print.

It Was Good Making Art to the Glory of God Ch. 1

It Was Good Making Art to the Glory of God


Ch. God is Good Like No Other

 What is good and what is bad and where do we get these definitions? Some would say these definitions are based on personal preferences and there are no moral absolutes. Someone who made this claim would, without realizing it, be making their own absolute statement. That’s pretty ironic if you think about it. In C.S. Lewis’s book, Mere Christianity, his first chapter explains “Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe.” Lewis explains how quarrels bring the law of right and wrong instantly to the surface. When people get into arguments they usually either criticize someone else for acting wrong or they make an excuse for their own bad behavior without actually flat out saying that some rules are real. By making these judgments or excuses a person is actually measuring against a very real standard. C.S. Lewis makes a similar point about how you wouldn’t call a line crooked unless you had an idea of what a straight line looked like. This law of right and wrong is clearly present although some choose to ignore it. In the book It Was Good Making Art to the Glory of God, it explains how creation was proclaimed as good the moment God created it. This proclamation was made because

“Creation is useful because it is good. It is not good just because it is useful” The universe was made by God, it conformed to His nature, reflected His image and therefore was pronounced ‘good.” Though it is drastically altered in the Fall, this goodnesss of creation has not been obliterated. It can still be seen in the beauty of the earth and in Man the image-bearer of God.” (Bustard, 18).

God has not left us alone after the fall, He has left his mark on creation: a visible testament to his creativity, power, and goodness.

Psalm 19: 1-2

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.

Out of the Silent Planet, a novel by C.S. Lewis
Out of the Silent Planet, a novel by C.S. Lewis

Because of the amazing beauty and complexity seen in creation we have seen the goodness of the Lord. We have a sense of what creation used to be, but at the same time we see there is something amiss in it. There is something lacking and something unfulfilled. There is something tragically marred about it because of the darkness of sin. I was really intrigued by the way It Was Good brought up C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet novel. Several years ago I read this novel and found it deeply thought provoking. In the sci-fi novel  “a philologist from Cambridge goes to Mars where he meets creatures who don’t have the word bad in their vocabulary” so instead he uses the word “bent” to explain how the world has been changed after the fall (Bustard 21). While many people become depressed about the darkness in the world and feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it is only “The Christian worldview [that] has the ability to address the issues of a bent world with a message of redemption, hope, and goodness” (Bustard 21). As visual artists it is our calling to show this message of goodness and hope in our artwork as a powerful testament to God’s redemptive work and healing of a broken world. In order to depict this, our art must display goodness but it must be “attached to the real world because if you separate it from reality what you are left with is Disney World” (Bustard 24).  Contrast is the key to emphasize goodness and the light of God can be clearly seen in the darkness.

Here is a sketch I did of C.S. Lewis’s definition of bent. This is the same idea he made about how we could not judge a crooked line unless we were comparing it to a straight line.



Bustard, Ned. It Was Good Making Art to the Glory of God Second Edition 2006. Square Halo Books: 2006. Print.

Christian Graphic Artist: Marcus Hathcock


This last summer I had the rewarding experience of doing a graphic design internship under Marcus Hathcock at East Hill Church Family in Gresham, OR. Marcus Hathcock was the Community Life Director at East Hill for five years and is also the Senior Editor of, which is one of the leading Christian music websites in the country. Because his faith impacts everything he does, I decided he would be a great person to interview.

Heidi: What is your faith background?

Marcus: Been a Christian since childhood, but made a special, real commitment to Christ in college. I’m a Spirit-filled, born again holiness-seeking Jesus lover who has attended Lutheran, Foursquare and now an evangelical non-denom church.

Heidi: How did you become a graphic artist?

Marcus: I worked as the Communications Director at East Hill Church for five years. Although my background was in writing, I received lots of on-the-job training that deployed my natural artistic tendencies in programs such as Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. 

Heidi: How would you describe what type of graphic work you have done?

Marcus: Mostly promotional, making graphics that support various events, ministries and message series at East Hill. I’d be creating sorts of advertising campaigns for internal and external audiences. This typically would involve lots of photo manipulation, typography and creative layouts. 

Heidi: When did your faith ever affect your design?

Marcus: All the time! My goal working for the church was to make everything point to Jesus, or to the biblical principles which we were trying to communicate. 

Heidi: How does your faith affect your design?

Marcus: I love symbols. I love allegory and metaphor, so I think when I’m not going for an overt, obvious graphical treatment, I enjoy finding a clever or profound symbolic presentation. 

Heidi: What is your design philosophy or process behind your work?

Marcus: Simplicity and accessibility. I want something that’s instantly resonant with audiences. In a world where people are bombarded by hundreds of messages daily, I want something that’s powerful, simple and hits the heart. So while I’m not the most complex user of Adobe programs, I like to think my “less is more” approach has been successful.

Heidi: What are you trying to say with your art and what is your hope to how it will affect and move people?

Marcus: I’m trying to say that Jesus is relevant. I’m trying to say that although the message never changes, the medium must always be open to change. We have to “speak” the same visual language as our audience “speaks.” I hope what I design creates just enough interest for people to take some next step, whether it’s to attend an event, learn more about a volunteer opportunity or investigate about Jesus. I want my design to just crack open the door so others can kick it open.

(Here are some images that Marcus created at East Hill Church Family along with his comments about his work)


9 to 5: Work Matters — This is a series graphic I designed for a series on theology of work. I made it a water cooler because it’s a well-known workplace landmark, and yet, the symbol behind it is that the “water of life” is alive and well at work. 



RWFB.png — This graphic was for our New Year connections focus called Resolution Weekend. While many people make resolutions about things that they ultimately will fail at, this event was all about resolving to be committed to community, where true growth occurs. This is a celebratory picture that was made to give people hope that “together, we can change.”


Vision2014 — At East Hill, we’re required to have an annual business meeting, where we review finances and such. Instead, we turned what could be a drab financial talk into an inspiring weekend of where we’ve been, and where we’re going. The imagery here is focused on the mountain, because we’re moving onward and upward. I put several texture filters on the graphic for effect, as well as a lighting effect which represents we’re moving closer and closer to the Light of the World as a church. 

Overall, I learned a lot from my internship and I was able to discover more about Marcus’ design philosophy when I had the unique opportunity to interview him. I feel like I can learn a lot from his approach of simplicity and accessibility. These two ideas are key if you want your message and graphic design to stand out. Sometimes the simplicity of designs makes you stand out more and can help people remember your message more. Knowing your audience and the visual language they speak is also incredibly valuable as a designer. In order to make the message of Jesus relevant to the contemporary world we have to use their same visual language. This does not mean lowering our standards or blurring the lines of what we allow into our designs. Our designs should line up with the message of Jesus, but we should find every way possible to make our message the clearest and most accessible and applicable to people’s lives.

Here are some links to his blog and the Christian music website he is part of: