Interview and post by Pastor Linda Skinner with artist Kathleen Henderson
“Creation and creatures applaud you, God; your holy people bless you. They talk about the glories of your rule, they exclaim over your splendor, letting the world know of your power for good, the lavish splendor of your kingdom.” Psalm 145:10-12 (The Message)
Recently I had the privilege of interviewing a very special lady in our church, Kathleen Henderson. Kathleen is a painter and right now her art is being displayed in our very own Inscape Gallery located in the Spirit Falls building. (Inscape Gallery is a part of Washington Seminary one of the 5 non-profit organizations affiliated with Washington Cathedral.)
Kathleen has been a part of the Washington Cathedral family for many years and she has been painting under the instruction and mentoring of Kay Barnes for the last 5 years.
She feels that God planted a seed in her life when at the age of seven she received a Christmas gift of watercolor paints and paper. Later in college she dabbled in painting with Acrylic.
A few years ago, and after experiencing loss, she saw some paintings that a friend had done. She liked the style of painting, she called it a “realistic style”, and she wanted to give it a try herself. She wanted to try creating something beautiful.
She got in touch with her friend about an art instructor, Kay Barnes, and she signed up for weekly classes. Kay has been a wonderful mentor and friend to Kathleen as she has helped her discover the gift she had buried deep inside.
Kathleen told me that she found painting very challenging and hard. So I asked her “Why do it?” She passionately answered that it brought her satisfaction and she liked learning and seeing the progress she was making.
When I asked her what she did if she finished a painting and looked at it and just didn’t like it, she immediately replied, “I throw it away.” “How many have you thrown away?” I asked. Her reply was “Very few.” Then she added, “But when I’m painting I pray to God.” I responded back, “Maybe that is why you don’t throw many away.” She looked and me nodded her head and smiled. Kathleen brings God into her paintings and it shows.
Kathleen paints the two things she loves most – flowers and dogs. She loves using exciting colors, and painting from a very up-close perspective. Her hope is that her paintings will urge viewers to stop and look closely. When they do, her prayer is that they will see the profound beauty of God’s world.
While I looked around her house, I saw many picture hangers with no pictures hanging on them. Curiously I asked, “Is that where all your paintings normally hang?” And with a little sadness in her eyes, she nodded her head. So I inquired of her if she missed her paintings while they are display. And she responded “Very much, they are my friends.” She said “People ask me why I don’t sell them. I can’t sell my friends.” But if someone commissions me, I love to paint their dog or flowers that mean something to them.”
I hope Kathleen doesn’t mind me sharing this, but she started painting in her 60’s. She’s had a number of very serious health challenges and I think God has used her painting to help her through. At the same time, He blesses us through her.
If you would like to see Kathleen’s beautiful art. Come by Spirit Falls building on a Saturday night or Sunday morning and you will experience some beautiful paintings. On March 11 at 7:00 pm there will be a “Closing Conversation” in Spirit Falls Sanctuary and you can meet Kathleen and let her know how much you appreciate her using the gift God has given her and for sharing “her friends” with us.