My family and I consider the paintings to be a visual ministry and we are very careful to give the credit to the Lord. It is a God given talent, where I often say that I merely hold the brush and He does the work. In light of this, we enjoy sharing a portion of the proceeds (and prints) to various departments, charities, fund raising events, and to the Lord’s work.
“We know that all things work together for good for those that love the Lord…” Romans 8:28! While crossing a rope bridge on a Pacific Island during WWII my father fell into the river and his heavy gear carried him to the bottom. He was weak from malaria with high fever, and would have died but someone (a soldier he did not know – some say it was possibly an angel) jumped in and helped him reach the shore. The ripple effect of that kind and courageous act is still felt today… these paintings would not be possible if it was not for that “someone.” Firefighters and other emergency workers often become that “someone”… they play an important role in what I call the Lord’s “ripple effect”… an instrument in answering prayers.
I was blessed to have worked in three fire departments since 1971 (Wauchula, Orlando, and Winter Haven). A total of 41 years! During this time, in more than one daunting occasion, the Lord has reached his protective arms around me. Recently I retired as Deputy Chief from Winter Haven Fire Department. Currently I am coordinating the fire science program at Polk State College and continue to instruct fire students at Ridge Career Center.
I was born very poor in rural Wauchula, FL (1952). We had no hot water or normal bath tub, we bathed in a sink with water heated from the kitchen stove, and the toilet was in an unlighted, rat infested small enclosure on the rear porch. But the most important thing was that we were rich in family love; my brother (Chuck) and I were blessed to have loving parents (Weita and Charles Davis)! And that, without a doubt, would be my choice over great wealth. The Lord planned all of this, including placing us next door to a fire department and my lovely wife to be, Elisabeth, who live only two blocks away, where her father responded as a volunteer firefighter!
A painfully slow start in grade school with some learning disabilities (Like Solomon, I often prayed to have wisdom). I was tone death to a degree where music all sounded alike. Consequently, dad use to joke that my singing sounded good under water. Much later I developed some unique coping skills or mnemonic techniques that would allow me to excel in higher education. Later I work on a PhD at University of South Florida; my dissertation is basically the only step in completing this degree.
The prints represent more to me than most people realize. As you will discover, they indirectly played a vital role in my father’s salvation.
As mentioned, my dad had landed on some of the worst islands during WWII and would not talk about the combat. And for whatever reasons, he battled accepting Christ as His Savior. As a small child, I remembered Mom praying for his salvation as we march off to Sunday school, thus leaving him reading the newspaper in his undergarments. It often reminded me of the Norman Rockwell painting, “Easter Morning!”
As stated, I was born with hearing and learning problems. I decoded information backwards and could not pronounce words (possibly because of my hearing). My brother always kidded me that I was dropped on my head as a baby. Unknowingly, teachers back in the 50’s interpreted my problems as simply being stubborn and placed me in the corner of the classroom (I guess not to contaminate the other students). In this isolated area, I learned to draw and use my imagination. I stayed in the first grade for two years. Later I realized the Lord was using me and my disability to indirectly answer Mom’s fervent prayer. Also, I understood that Satan intends things for our harm, and the good Lord turns them into something beneficial. Prayer works, and in God’s timing, it all works together for good (often much better than we would have imagined or scripted!).
Somewhere near the age of 40, I started painting and it grew into Inspirational Paintings. My parents eagerly assisted by taking print orders over the phone. At some point while taking these orders, dad’s view of salvation changed. I believe several customers witnessed to my dad and it had “soften the beachhead” of his faith. So, in the Lord’s elaborate planning and timing, Mom’s prayers were answered… dad accepted Christ as his Savior.
I am so eternally grateful!
I have never taken a painting class! Consequently I developed a unique style of painting outside the normal box. Instead of canvas, I use the back side of bathroom Masonite, which is smoother, stronger, and easier to store. I use inexpensive brushes and squeeze fast drying acrylics onto paper plates to mix my colors.
My wife, Elisabeth has patiently modeled in hot bunker gear for some of the paintings. Each painting takes approximately 400 hours (I am slower than most artist!). Several of the paintings have won best of show in some state-wide contests. Numerous articles have been written concerning the prints and a few have appeared in European magazines. Some art instructors have expressed bewilderment at my unorthodox techniques; but this confounding approach is often how our Lord works! It is very humbling!
The letters received throughout the world have genuinely touched and blessed my family. (I know my older brother “Chuck”, who died years ago, is proud of me!)
Just one of my prayers is that the paintings will help a small boy comprehend that it is very manly to love Christ! Also, that each lithograph will inspired or touch someone into seeing what is really “important”… the bigger picture.
Thank you and God Bless!