Interview with Artist Michele E. Struss

This week, I am deeply honored and quite excited to introduce to you Christian artist Michele E. Struss. 

 

Michele and I met in a most unusual way.  My daughter Gina was introduced to Michele’s paintings through a Facebook  friend.  Gina saw one painting, Redemption, with which she immediately fell in love.  She told me about it and I gave it to her as a birthday gift.  Through this interaction, I connected with Michele and was led by our Lord to interview her on my blog.  

Michele is an amazing woman, as you will see.  She loves God with all of her heart, soul, strength, and mind.  He has gifted her with the ability to paint.  So today, we are going to discuss the similarities between  two of the arts: writing and painting. 

MARYANN: 

Hello, Michele. Welcome to The Write Power. To say that I am deeply honored to have you as my guest is an understatement. 

MICHELE: 
Thank you! It is a pleasure and honor to be your guest! 

MARYANN:
Thank you so much for painting Redemption, a magnificent work of art that glorifies Christ. 

MICHELE: 
You are welcome. Of all the paintings I’ve ever done, I sensed an overwhelming purpose assigned to Redemption to bring truth and hope to others. Each of those words was written by nine different people who walked through those very circumstances, but have powerful testimonies of God’s healing, forgiveness and restoration. Redemption not only depicts what God can do, but what He has done! 

MARYANN:

As most of my readers know, I am a comparatist, which simply means that I like to draw analogies between disciplines. As an artist, you understand creativity. As a Christian artist, you understand the purpose of what we create. So I would like to start today by picking your brain to discuss some of the similarities between writing and art. Let’s start with sources for ideas. Where do you get your ideas for your art?

MICHELE:

The original ideas are mostly from the Holy Spirit. There are occasions when I have painted something simply because it was pretty or someone’s favorite flower, etc., however, most of my work begins with a vision from the Lord. I see it in my mind’s eye, and then I set up models and take say 50 – 100 photos in hopes of getting that one shot that I can best paint from. As in writing though, my paintings often evolve from the original vision as I work on it and gain greater clarity and revelation. 

MARYANN:

We all know that words are powerful and can be used to point people to Christ. How, in your opinion, does art point people to Christ?

MICHELE:

Sometimes it is hard to grasp certain spiritual truths and as the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. We can ‘know’ something, but sometimes when we ‘see’ it we understand it in a new light. 

MARYANN:

Please tell us what “His Paintbrush” is and how it came about?

MICHELE:

His Paintbrush is the name of my ministry. It came about while working on a painting entitled, “My Hero”. It was the first large painting I attempted of people in my choice medium of watercolors. I’d always been a watercolorist, but my subjects were flowers, scenery…anything but people! However, the Lord called me to that very subject matter and despite extreme inspiration, I kept falling short. After investing about 100 hours into “My Hero” I ruined it in one night by over shading the little girls face as in watercolors you only get one shot. I started over and again, after about 100 hours of working on it I ruined it; this time in Jesus’ robe. Finally, the third attempt flowed to create what today is “My Hero”. My prayer throughout those three attempts remained the same… “Lord, I cannot do this on my own. You be the Artist and simply use me as Your paintbrush”. Out of those prayers came “His Paintbrush”. That is why I give God any and all glory for my work. After all, who praises a tool? 

MARYANN:

You are a woman of great faith. What role does faith play in the creation of art?

MICHELE:

In the Christian artist, faith is central. From the gift to the inspiration to the work…it is all dependant on the Holy Spirit at work within the artist.

MARYANN:

Is there a particular subject you like to paint most? If so, why? 

MICHELE:

Well, before God got a hold of my gift, flowers. But now I love painting people. While I dreaded the thought of painting people before, I have learned firsthand how God gives us passion to fulfill His call once we step out in obedience. By the grace of God, I find so much purpose and fulfillment in the work I do now. 

MARYANN:

What is your favorite artistic medium?

MICHELE:

Watercolors by far. While they have a mind of their own, they also have a beauty all their own that can’t be achieved in other mediums.

MARYANN:

Have you ever illustrated books or considered doing so?

MICHELE: 
No. For one thing, illustration is a very different form of art than what I feel I am gifted at; it does not come easy for me. Also, my work takes me an average of over 100 hours a painting. It would take me way too long to illustrate a whole book!

MARYANN:

What advice would you give to someone who has a desire to create art?

MICHELE: 
To go for it! Sit down and just start creating…without judging your own work. I have met way too many people who feel their work is ‘not good enough’ and throw it away before it is ever completed! With that said, my other advice would be to finish what you start. You will find that practice has value you never thought of. 

MARYANN:

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

MICHELE:

I would like to close by encouraging you to bring about excellence in the gift God has given you…whatever YOUR gift is. God gives each of us different gifts, but as Christians our gifts should exceed them all. Let’s use our God-given gifts to His glory!!!

MARYANN:

Michele, thank you so very much for sharing your time and insights with us today. It has been a great blessing to have you. May our Lord increase His anointing upon your work, for His glory and for the building of His Kingdom. 

I invite all of you to visit Michele’s website at http://www.hispaintbrush.com/

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