Blog

About the Journey

People often ask about how I became an artist and what my training is. I actually knew I was an artist from a young age but I didn’t really start developing my talent until the last few years of high school. I had an inspiring art teacher and artistic friends, I think without them my beginnings would have been a lot more difficult.
Even before I was a Christian I used to say that painting made me feel close to God.

I learnt a lot by copying fashion pictures from magazines, I have always been inspired to draw people rather than landscapes, etc. There are a lot of wonderful artists who create images of nature, animals, architecture already. I don’t want to compete with them, drawing people is my area of expertise.

I started questioning how I could draw people but not just sticking to portraits. Portraits are a challenge, an not as creative to me as being able to explore my imagination. I give a lot of credit to those artists who are good at portraiture.
I have never had any formal teaching as an artist. I think there is a lot of value in being taught be a good art teacher. I instead studied the works of artists who I aspired to, searching out what I liked about what they did and finding out how it pertained to what I wanted to do. I was drawn especially to artists of days gone by, the old masters, the Pre-Raphaelites, Art Nouveau. I started experimenting with these styles, not knowing where it was going to lead.

In my early 20’s I had a strong conversion experience, it happened at a very difficult time of my life and through some Christians around me I came to realize Jesus as my saviour—in a very profound and beautiful way. I was so embraced by His love, so filled with His light. The truth of the Bible became so precious and life giving to me. Knowing the Fatherhood of God,the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and a beautifully real relationship with Jesus became the centre of everything for me. I wasn’t sure how my artwork tied in, but I knew it did.

At some point, without knowing how or planning it, my art started to symbolize the truths that I now experienced. And even though I had sort of haphazardly started experimenting with medieval style in my paintings, the crowns, jewels, etc started taking on a new meaning. Others started embracing what I was doing and helped open doors for my work to be able to be distributed to places and people that I never dreamt of reaching.

I started doing affordable prints and cards of my paintings. It wasn’t long before they started selling throughout Canada and the US as well as other parts of the world. All this took me by surprise, it was totally unexpected. As my paintings started taking on a message—one of encouragement—people started finding the message to be very pertinent to their own lives. It is all really a miracle, I am just a little artist, painting away in my little studio, and God has done some very special things.

This journey has so much more to it, and hasn’t always been easy by any means. I will get into more detail about these things in another entry. I would be happy to answer any questions by e-mail, feel free to contact me at donna@donnasmallenberg.com
Be blessed!

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