You’ve heard it said that a picture paints a thousand words. Well, the pictures by today’s guest also inspire, commemorate and draw you closer to the loving arms of Jesus. Meet artist Alice Craig!
I first met Alice and her wonderful art when I was wandering by a booth between speaking sessions at Hearts at Home many years ago. I had lost our first child through miscarriage and one of Alice’s pictures was such a comfort to me. It was Jesus holding a baby in heaven. Since then, many of my friends have grown to love her art. Meet her now and at the end of the post, you may win one of her drawings!
Alice Craig began Artistic Memories by Alice drawing portraits of children and homes. But after the death of her infant daughter Grace in 1996, God has given Alice a twofold desire – a mission: 1) to use her artwork to bring comfort to parents who have experienced the loss of a child and 2) to encourage and challenge and inspire women to become women that love God with all their heart.
Alice is married to David, who is bi-vocational and a pastor of a church in Tremont, IL. They have four sons and two daughters (through adoption) besides Grace.
B.C. – before children, Alice worked in the Visual Arts Department at Moody Bible Institute preparing visual tools for the professors there while her husband, David finished his studies at MBI and then later became Youth Pastor at Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, IL. As children entered into their lives, Alice became a stay-at-home mom. But her drawing time continued out of necessity as it played a significant role in what she calls her ‘sanity therapy’. She made time for it.
Through some very difficult periods in her life, God has redirected Alice’s focus from drawing solely for creative pleasure and ‘sanity therapy’ to that of ministry and encouragement. Over the years, God has opened some interesting doors and unique opportunities for ministry. Alice is excited that God has also opened up opportunities through public speaking using her art as visuals to further encourage, challenge, motivate, and inspire women to keep their chins up and their eyes on Jesus.
Tell us a little bit about what life is like at your house these days.
As of this week, our life is in transition – once again. (Life is a series of transitions.) This is the first full week of summer vacation for us, so we are all adjusting to our new schedule (or lack of a schedule!)…need I say more??? My two college sons are home for the summer (yeah!) and I am trying to keep up with their work and social schedules along with my 3rd son who is now considered a senior in High School. Two of the three youngest (ages 12, 13, and 14) are beginning swim team this week with church camp next week. They are soooo excited to go (and I am too). The most challenging part of the upcoming summer for me is learning how to balance everything…a continual battle. After 22 years of being a stay-at-home mother, I have had to take on a part-time job outside of the home. The Lord has blessed me with a great part-time job that works wonderfully with the kids’ school schedule. But now that summer’s here, well, let’s just say we are all transitioning. J
When and how did you first begin drawing?
Since you asked, I thought I’d share with you a drawing that my Mother held onto all of these years. This is my three-year-old interpretation of my uncle and his happy milk cow. From a child’s low perspective, you can tell what made a huge impact on me! The milk cow was very well endowed! Ha!
How did you get the idea to start your ministry? Well, to be honest with you, the ministry part really wasn’t by my choice. I originally started Artistic Memories by Alice as an at-home business drawing cute kids because I enjoy drawing eyes and cute children. These drawings also helped add a little extra to our otherwise one-income family. Drawing played an important part of what I called my ‘sanity therapy’ in the midst mothering a mix of toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-aged children. But after the death of our 5th child – our nine-hour-old daughter, I really wrestled with God. In the pit of my grief and brokenness, I can remember totally giving up my desire to draw. My heart was broken. How could I ever draw again? And needless to say, how could I ever begin to ‘enjoy’ drawing again?…unless God would give me a reason to draw once again, this time for His glory and honor. Shortly after that surrendering, the Lord gave me the gift of a drawing idea which I have entitled “Safe in the Arms of Jesus”. I simply drew Jesus holding my baby, sitting in a rocky chair amongst clouds which represented heaven to me. Little did I know that God would use this broken time in my life and a drawing to begin a ministry to other grieving moms and then ultimately, artwork and a speaking ministry to bless the entire family. As I began to share this drawing with other grieving women, the Lord birthed a ministry and also began the healing process of mending my broken heart. He even gave back to me my love of drawing plus He seemed to tweak up my skills a notch. Since then, Lord has blessed me with many other drawing ideas to encourage women in their God-ordained role as a wife and mother. Lately, I have sensed the Lord’s direction to use this art to encourage the whole family…including dads.
What do you hope your drawings do for those who purchase or receive them as gifts?
My hope and prayer is that the Lord would use these measly drawings to in some way ‘draw’ the viewer’s heart toward God Himself by helping the viewer realize just how much God values and loves them…no matter what!
Each of my drawings has a story to tell. When I speak to women’s groups, I enjoy sharing with them something very close to my heart – my art, my drawings. These reflect and tell the story of God’s hand in my life. My goal is to encourage, challenge, motivate and inspire women to keep their eyes on Jesus and to grow in their walk with Him.
What types of products do you offer and how can the readers learn more about them?
You may give me a call at 309-925-2505 or better yet, visit my website: www.aliceart.net. I offer a range of products: from note cards to matted and framed pieces of art – ready to hang on the wall – all reasonably priced. Several of my favorites (“The Door” and “Hands”) make unique wedding gifts, house-warming, or bon-voyage gifts. “Daddy Hands” (a new drawing – not yet on my website but still orderable by phone), “The Door”, and “Hands – Is. 49:15, 16” all make inspiring Father’s Day gifts.
I also have illustrated a child’s first Bible entitled Tiny Tots Bible Story Book. Coloring pages to go with each of the stories in this book, plus many more stories, are available free of charge from the author Dr. John Walton’s website www.teachthetext.com – a great Biblically sound resource for anyone who works with young children.
There are also several items on my website: www.aliceart.net that are very comforting gifts and memorials for those who have lost a child or know someone who has – from a personalized drawing of Safe in the Arms of Jesus to a beautiful pewter ornament which can be engraved and given in memory of someone at Christmas or anytime throughout the year.
I invite you to visit my website: www.aliceart.net.
Do you have a favorite scripture to share with us?
Oh, I LOVE God’s Word. It is so hard to pick ‘a’ favorite verse.
Lately, Psalm 42 has been my ‘hope’ chapter, particularly verses 5 & 11 (they are the same, as well as Ps. 43:5 – something I just learned).
“Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again– my Savior and my God!” Ps. 42:5, 11 NLT
This past year has been a very difficult journey for me and for my husband as we were called to take a huge step of faith. It’s been a year of intense spiritual attack and at times I have felt like God has left me alone. It’s been a real battle between my heart which knows God is always with me, but my mind says ‘where is God? I feel so alone!’ I am learning that God wants me to keep my spiritual eyes on Him by hoping and holding onto His promises from His word. When I become fearful (which is often), hope is the key. I need to hold onto hope in God. That is walking by faith, not sight…even when it doesn’t make sense.
Ps. 42 and particularly verses 5 and 11 have been my HOPE chapter and verses. Repeatedly David asked the question “why am I discouraged? Why so sad?” That’s how I have felt too. David was honest about his emotional state. He remembered the good ‘ole days and was honest about his current position…me too. He cried out to God for renewal (just like the deer). He refused to fake it; he wanted to model the truth for others. He told himself the truth about the future when he says “I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my savior and my God!” Do not lose hope.
I am learning that when I am about ready to give up, that’s when I need most to look up and put my hope in God and praise Him even when I don’t feel like it. I must choose once again to put my hope in God this day. He IS MY HOPE! And He can be and wants to be your hope too!!
I am ‘in His grip’!
Hold on tight!
Thanks so much Alice, for visiting with us today!
Now, for the give away…… (or should I say “for the drawing for the drawing.” ? :-) Alice says:
“I will be happy to give your winner an 11×14 matted and framed “Hands” or “the Door” – their choice. Also on this I will personalize it with their family’s last name and the name of each family member. I will also give away one of my Tiny Tots Bible Story Books to another winner.”
Wow!! Great give aways!!!! You will love these for yourself or for a gift. Now……to be entered, simply leave us a comment today about anything. It may be about this post, Alice’s art, a drawing you’d prefer or simply let us know you’d like to be entered. I’ll leave this post up the rest of the week and announce the winners on Monday.