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Morning Star of Thyatira
Donna Smallenberg

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I discovered my artistic talent at a very young age. As long as I can remember I was always drawing and even at that early stage I mostly drew people. My parents didn't have the finances or the idea of sending me to art school, so I did office work for many years. I continued drawing in my spare time. I loved fashion illustration and copied tons of photos from magazines. Even in that God had a plan. I learned a lot about anatomy and design - skills that I now use extensively. I started using oils when I was in my early 20's and after a few years switched to acrylics. I am self- (but really God-) taught.

I became a Christian when I was 23. I had an exciting conversion experience and went to St Margaret's Church in Vancouver for several years—a church that was very charismatic. My artwork went into the background for quite a while. I kept it up to some extent, but it was years before I really started painting in earnest. During those years God was doing a lot of things in my inward life that would later emerge in my paintings. It has been very surprising to me the way He has woven together seemingly unrelated experiences into a pattern that has become my artistic expression.

In 1993 I left office work and began painting full time. I sold through a gallery, but was looking for purpose other than just selling original paintings to the few people who could afford them. I was exploring my style and was drawn to medieval and Pre-Raphaelite art. I didn't realize that adapting some of these styles into my work would lead me into prophetic, symbolic art, the crowns and swords, etc. taking on deeper meaning. I just kept praying and painting and unexpectedly my paintings started to become spiritually relevant. What excited me was that God led me into a style that wasn't typical in biblical art. The subject matter was very Scriptural, often portraying the Bride of Christ, but it was done in such a way that it would appeal to Christians and non-Christians. It even appeals to many different age groups and people from diverse lifestyles that I wouldn't have expected it to reach. Only God could have orchestrated all of this.

I went through an exciting journey for the next few years. My church, New Life in Kelowna, B.C. embraced my work and helped spread it around until it reached several countries. Doors began to open all over. Then came more refining, I came to a place where I was struggling with what had come easy in the past. I know that God works in my life on several levels at the same time. For one thing, He is more interested in my character than my gifting, so He deals with the tendency toward pride and He also stretches me so I will grow. I had to be stretched out of my familiar way of doing things—I didn't like it because I had been doing well with the way things had been.

I have such a passion for what I am doing that I just wouldn't give up. I kept searching and experimenting. It is a long process finding one's uniqueness. I started using some mixed media, some jewels, gold and fabric in my work. That has been fun and interesting. Recently I have been working on a painting that is inspired by Art Nouveau and I am enjoying it thoroughly. I realize that my strongest skills are in drawing and design- God wants me to discover myself more and more in Him. I wouldn't have ventured outside of the familiar if He hadn't made it happen.

My vision is for my art to speak encouragement and to draw people into their high calling in Christ. I am thrilled with how visual art speaks and keeps speaking.

My artwork is available on my own website as well as on other websites. It is also available in various Christian bookstores. God has put it on my heart for my work to be affordable to most people, and as a result it is reproduced into posters and cards. He has also impressed on me that I should aim for high quality—the posters are of a limited edition quality and are printed on archival paper.

I sometimes teach at conferences and schools. It is my desire to encourage others to go after their potential in God and to be in close relationship with Him, inspired by His love.


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Thou Hast Dove's Eyes Desert Bride Morning Star of Thyatira
Thou Hast Dove's Eyes Desert Bride Morning Star of Thyatira
Song of Deborah Arise, Shine
Song of Deborah Arise, Shine




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