Art for more than art's sake

Samantha Ornellas has always had a deep passion for art but it is only in the last few years that she has really committed to it, setting herself the goal of completing one painting a month. But for the Nashville-based Christian, her paintings are not simply art for art's sake. Samantha draws her energy, strength and creativity from her faith. The South African native also speaks to the Lord while she paints and hopes that her paintings will convey something of God to all who see them.

How long have you been painting for?
Well I painted in school but after school I didn't really have time to paint until I was married. When I became pregnant, I felt the desire to start paining again and then I didn't paint for a while, but two years ago I felt called by the Lord to start paining again.

Do you feel your paintings bring you closer to God?
I always wanted to glorify God through my paintings. I wanted to do real art. Encouragement from friends helped me to carry on painting and a friend of mine said 'Why don't you speak to the Lord when you paint', and I thought that's a great idea, and I did that.

Can non-Christians relate to your paintings?
Well a lot of people on my Facebook page for art are non-Christians and are able to identify with my art work so I think it's thought provoking. Yes I would say thought provoking. There is clearly a message with each one of my paintings.

Are your paintings influenced by your growing up in Africa?
No, I would say some of them, maybe the ones with the African elephants have been influenced by my childhood in Africa, but I am mostly influenced by things I see every day.

How often do you paint?
At the moment I am not painting as much as I'd like to. Sometimes it takes me a while to paint, and with my children I hardly have any time to paint. But I would like to paint more often, because I really enjoy painting.

Have you sold any of your paintings and was it difficult to let go of them?
Yes, I sold a few, I sold about four of them and yes it was very difficult to let go of them.

How does your faith inspire you when you paint?
In more ways than one! First of all finding the right subject to paint, I ask the Lord when I am stumped and then something will catch my attention and I will have this strong desire to paint it! To me this is really encouraging and shows me even more so how the Lord wants to be involved in all areas of our lives. All we need to do is ask!

When I am painting and I can see it,s not going well, things just look wrong, it is very frustrating and can be depressing. I actually cry out to the Lord for wisdom. Sometimes it comes straight away, sometimes it comes later and I have to leave the painting and come back to it and then I just 'see it'. I cannot explain how this encourages me on so many levels. I feel His delight when I paint.

What would you like people to get from your paintings?
I would like people to really get God's heart for His people. Some paintings reveal His heart for the orphan, that He will never leave or forsake them. That they have hope!! How beautiful ALL His creation is. That all creation is speaking of His glory. I want people to see that. Especially people that don't know Him. That it would make them think and point them to Him.

My desire is that if someone has my painting in their home that has a specific inspired scripture that is tied to it, every time they look at it hanging on their wall they would be reminded of God's promise, that it would bring hope and strength.

To see more of her paintings visit: