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March 29, 2012


Diana Trautwein

I've always loved this little piece of Exodus. An artist is the very first person in scripture to be described as 'filled with the Spirit of God.' Yes, ma'am.

Jeanne Damoff

Me, too, Diana! Isn't it amazing? Just makes my heart soar.


I'd forgotten that Bezalel was the "first" to be "filled with the Spirit of God." (Though couldn't we say Moses must have filled with the Spirit of God, in order to have spoken with God and gained such a complex understanding of what God wanted?)

It has bothered me for some time now, that except for Caleb and Joshua, ALL the older generations "died in their own sins" before the children of Israel entered the promised land. Because of their disobedience, their rebellions against God.

Evidently it's possible to lose the "filling with the Spirit of God." Bezalel isn't mentioned by name as entering the Promised Land, so he must have failed God. The Israelites had been slaves for 400 years, and though they may have observed art from afar, they probably did menial work, not art. So Bezalel had to be especially trained by God to be a high quality artist. How could he have lost all the awe of what had happened to him miraculously? But he must have lost it----

That thought is so disappointing! He had it all! But he blew it!

It's uplifting, however, that as Diana comments, "an artist is the very first person in scripture to be described as 'filled with the Spirit of God.' "

My family background, and parts of society, including church members, considered the ability to earn a decent living very important, also, being a servant to others, or perhaps even a missionary or preacher. Since not many artists were capable of earning their livings from their art, being artistic was okay as a simple hobby if it didn't take away too much time from the servant of the community role. But art as a noble calling? Accompanied by a messy house with a cache of way too many art materials that only sometimes got used? Even a church secretary appeared to be more practical than a non-earning artist. On the other hand, artists who DID "make it" charged such outrageous prices -- the robbers!

I remember a time when my family and I were traveling, and we came across a lovely crystal glass ship with sails, about 2 feet tall, and beautifully shimmering under the special lighting. I said, "If my ship ever comes in, I'm going to have THAT!" And my dad replied, "If your ship comes in, you will want to have a soup kitchen to feed the hungry." (His dream, never fulfilled; not mine.)



Such an inspiring reminder for those of us living as "professional" artists. We are each "called by name" into our vocation. It's easy to forget that. Thanks, mom.


kingfisher, continued

The various churches I've attended have had sanctuaries originally designed with care. Not ornate by any means, but "airy" and worship-assisting. But after the original building plan was complete, there would be much opposition when discussing the possibility of new stained glass windows or colorful aisle carpet; however, buying a steam dishwasher or coffee urn for 100 was "practical" and necessary.

All my adult life I've struggled over the notion of me as an artist who isn't an entrepeneur, and who isn't strong enough physically to create very many artworks, and who doesn't make a living or even sell an occasional painting, and who for many years has spent most of her time “resting” for the sake of health -- whether I'm as valuable to God as a missionary, evangelist, a double-tithing businessman, or somebody with clout for the kingdom of God.

It’s scary to me that Bezalel, filled with the Spirit of God, must have turned away. If that was possible for him, with his great inspiration, how do I keep right in God’s sight, I, a limp-along doing my best but according to some people, I don’t do much, because “all I can really do is pray.” But the answer is, I DON’T keep myself right with God; he keeps me right with him because of my faith in his righteousness (not mine). And the rest of the answer is that my art is my worship of God. Whether “doing” art, or even only in “thinking” about what I would like to make.

I can’t say that everyone has viewed me as “not very productive,” or thought I should “do more” for the Savior, and “play” less. I know that the father of lies tries to convince me – as does a good deal of our society – that value is based on perceived-usefulness. I can’t say it would be any different if I hadn’t been artistic, since stay-at-homes who mostly pray (and few people even know that they DO pray), sometimes aren’t viewed the same as the “doer” types.

People who say art isn’t essential, don’t even realize they view priceless art every day: the etched glass coffee carafe, a neatly tended lawn, the gilt on the moving hands of a clock, the magnets on a refrigerator. I know that God called me to be an artist. And I can “think” of art creations for the glory of God. Sometimes, I can even make a little art for him. And when I’m feeling stronger than usual so that my mind isn’t clutttered with the discouragement of trying to keep going in spite of not being well, then I believe that thinking or doing my for God’s pleasure, is enough. “Whatever [I} do, [I] do all to the glory of God.”

And now that I’ve ranted long enough, I may just post this on my own blog next week – who knows?

Jeanne Damoff

Kingfisher, thank you for processing your thoughts here in the open, so we could share them. I think your father's philosophy is a common one, and it does have merit. People who are hungry need to be fed, and handing them a lovely glass ship won't help. But you are right in your observations about art and its value. God is a Creator, and we are little creators in His image. When we delight in beauty and make it to His glory, He is magnified and surely must be pleased.

I hadn't thought about Bezalel not entering the promised land. Of course, we have no idea how old he was when he built the tabernacle, but whatever happened to him and why, it's good to be reminded that we can (and do) lose sight of God's mighty works in our lives. May we live in a constant sense of awe over the miracle of His calling and anointing us to do His will.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Love to you.

Jeanne Damoff

You're welcome, Gracie. I love you, your artist husband, your hearts, and your art so much.

Simply Darlene

Miss Jeanne,

I never gave this much thought before now... and I've oftentimes wondered about writing or photography or any other art as something that is actually intermingled with the Spirit of God. Personally, I've struggled with it being a "me, me, me" thing. This piece sheds some light and encourages.

(And how you and your daughter communicate and love... ah.)


Jeanne Damoff

So glad this encouraged you in your art, Darlene. And thanks for your sweet words about Grace and me. She's easy to love. xo

Deborah Carr

Jeanne, just yesterday I added this scripture to my workshop preparation as proof that God calls us to our own creative artistry - whether our creativity involves words, art, music, dance, pottery, sewing, motor mechanics or window washing. I know that there are times when the words that fall on the page are mine (oh, and how I can tell the difference!), but the moments of true inspiration only happen when I step out of the way and allow His Spirit to flow through me to the page.


I almost titled my blog Bezalel Designs until I realized there were already several sites out there with similar names. God has been healing me from debilitating depression through art. I feel so very close to Him when I am creating. I love this post, and I've never been to this blog before so I look forward to exploring it.


Isn't this enlightening? What a privilege it is to join in God's work of creating. I recently heard an author speak in which she called beauty one of the "foretastes" of the Kingdom. It's our work to bring the kingdom here now by taking every opportunity to bring the foretastes of the kingdom into our world. Sounds like an important call. Good words, Jeanne.


Just thought I would add that Erwin McManus has an amazing podcast series titled Artisan...linked here:

Jeanne Damoff

Deborah, this is such a great scripture for your workshop! I love your perspective on creativity. Blessings as you inspire others.

Welcome, Christina! So glad you found your way here. I praise God with you for His healing in your life through art. What a beautiful mercy! Thanks for sharing the podcast link. I look forward to checking it out.

Thanks, Laura. I love the idea of beauty being a foretaste of the Kingdom. May we never lose the wonder and magnitude of this call.

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