Word and Watercolor

Date posted: Tuesday 22 November 2022

Great things happen when we combine the Word of God, art and fellowship! Pastor Elizabeth Wilder (Gethsemane) and Pastor Tammy Wilkinson (Beaver Lake) wanted to try something new and share their passions for Scripture and art and their idea turned into so much more for their congregations. Since June, the churches — both located in Maplewood — have been coming together monthly to not only share in fellowship, but explore Scripture and learn how to create art.


The hour-long sessions open with Pastor Tammy leading prayers and readings. A few devotional style questions are presented for reflection and participants are encouraged to share their answers with the larger group of 20-30 participants. Then Pastor Elizabeth provides instruction in a few painting techniques with time to practice our new skills. Gethsemane has graciously supplied the materials for students to use. After the first watercolor class, however, several students purchased their own art supplies because they enjoyed the class so much.

We have drawn different leaves and painted them using watercolors. We’ve also used markers and pencils. Both pastors encourage people to try new techniques and to learn by doing. For instance, with watercolor, if you put down too much of a color on paper, you can choose to add more water or to use a sponge to absorb some of the water. Both techniques will have different results. As students learn new techniques, they grow in their understanding of how watercolor works and come back to the next class with more skills on which to build.


Both Elizabeth and Tammy have taken art classes, but are not formally trained. Elizabeth works more with watercolor and Tammy prefers acrylic painting. In addition to painting, we both do a variety of other creative things that range from sewing, drawing, paper art and needle work. We share the same mindset of finding time with God can be through being in the Word while creating art. Creativity can sometimes allow us to connect more deeply to what we are reading in Scripture, experience God's presence differently and celebrate sabbath time with God.


Over the past five months, we have offered different opportunities for our congregations to participate together in “dipping our toes” into Scripture while learning how to paint with watercolors. During the summer months, we spent our time in “Word and Watercolor” where we really focused on the various parts of the creation story (Genesis 1:1-2:4) and learned a variety of techniques in watercolor painting. We moved onto our next art project, “Jesus is our Rock,” where we not only looked at various passages in Scripture, but we painted inspirational rocks together. In October, we came together once again to learn how to paint beautiful leaves and explore Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.


We agree that while the seasons may change, the Word of God remains consistent in our lives. We are already thinking of what creative opportunities lie ahead and continue to look forward to creating art while exploring Scripture together in the winter months too!


Pastor Tammy Wilkinson

Beaver Lake, Maplewood