Prophetic Christian artists featured at Fort Worth seminary – The Azle News

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Mostly cloudy skies with showery rains and a possible rumble of thunder late. Low 68F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.
Updated: September 13, 2023 @ 12:56 pm
A drawing depicting the hand of Newton’s father.
Another Newton drawing.
Anna Newton.
Julie Clark with some of her more ornate designs.
Another one of Clark’s crosses.
A Vonnie Kohn painting.
Another Kohn painting.
A Ross McCourtie landscape painting.
Another McCourie painting.
One of Patterson’s paintings, inspired by the universe.
Another Patterson painting.
Linda Patterson.
One of Wilson’s paintings depicting the Star of Bethlehem and a sailboat.
Another Wilson painting.
Rhonda Wilson.

A drawing depicting the hand of Newton’s father.
Another Newton drawing.
Anna Newton.
Julie Clark with some of her more ornate designs.
Another one of Clark’s crosses.
A Vonnie Kohn painting.
Another Kohn painting.
A Ross McCourtie landscape painting.
Another McCourie painting.
One of Patterson’s paintings, inspired by the universe.
Another Patterson painting.
Linda Patterson.
One of Wilson’s paintings depicting the Star of Bethlehem and a sailboat.
Another Wilson painting.
Rhonda Wilson.
Global Consultation on Arts and Music in Missions to display Azle and Springtown artists
Fort Worth – From Sept. 11 to Sept. 14, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth will be holding the 2023 Global Consultation on Arts and Music in Missions to “explore how God is drawing the nations to Himself through music and related arts.” This event will be one of the largest of its kind in the world and will not only draw international artists but also local talent from Azle and Springtown. About seven local artists will feature their art alongside international painters, musicians, sculptors, and other creative acts.
Ross McCourtie, an Azle based art curator and artist arranged for these local artists to be recognized with the help of prominent North Texas prophetic Christian artist, Vonnie Kohn. Local artists Linda Patterson, Gil Pearson, Karen Kennedy Chatham, Julie Clark, Anna Newton and Rhonda Wilson will be joined by Christian D-FW artists and others from around the globe from Monday, Sept. 11 to Thursday, Sept. 14 at 10 p.m. The seminary will host a wide range of creative and faith related events, offering people from all Christian denominations a chance to network and build connections.
“There’s going to be a lot of different cultures involved,” McCourtie said. “Whenever you have an event that involves culture and you don’t just limit it to one culture, we have worship teams from four or five different countries that are going to be playing music. 300 or 400 people plus students and collectors. It’s going to be quite a big event.”
McCourtie has curated art for the Christian Arts Museum, White’s Chapel and people all over the world. As an artist, McCourtie often paints landscapes and people he encounters on his mission trips while building water wells. He is also currently in talks with Texas officials to do some artwork for the upcoming Palo Pinto Mountains State Park.
“I’m a people person,” McCourtie said. “I don’t really do it for money. It’s like I’m compelled to do it and I see things that inspire me. I really believe God inspires me to paint the things I paint, even the sceneries because the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness there of.”
At the event, McCourtie will be speaking on the influence of Christianity on visual art and is proud to have gathered so many outstanding local artists to be recognized.
“They’re very talented,” McCourtie said. “I think real fulfillment in life is helping other people accomplish their goals. It’s been a privilege not only because I’m getting a visual on talented people and am able to see art from all over the world. It’s just a real privilege. It’s expanding my horizons personally.”
The event is $100 per person to enter from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., it is free to the public. Some artists are only displaying while others are selling art.
Another important figure in bringing everyone together is Vonnie Kohn. Kohn has gained national recognition as a painter and sculpture of Native American and Western art. In 2016, with the help of other talented artists, she founded the National Association of Christian Prophetic Artists which would later become the Sacred Fine Arts of Texas. Kohn is the daughter of a Cherokee saddle maker and grew up with heaps of Western and American Indian influences.
“I grew up in the western world, pow-wows and all that stuff,” Kohn said.  “I had a very rich background.” Kohn obtained an art degree and went to Texas Wesleyan for advanced biblical studies. Earlier in her life, she traveled nationwide for 10 years with husband.
“In about 2015 or ‘16 I began to hear the spirit of the Lord and I knew I had to start doing inspirational artwork. I began to see things and I would see paintings.”
Kohn has acted as mentor to many who are being featured at the seminary and teaches art lessons to 27 committed artists.
“I have been active in promoting other Christian artists,” Kohn said. “I never ever thought I’d give art lessons, but that’s just the way life turns. I found in obeying this calling there is much peace and happiness and contentment in following it fully.”
Through hard times in her life, Kohn has found faith through art. She attends Legacy Church in Springtown. While Kohn and many attending the seminary are not Baptists. “It’s a great honor that the Baptists organization does not look at the name tags,” Kohn said. “It’s going to be a very great show.” 
Linda Patterson has been drawing ever since she can remember and was one of the founding members of the National Association of Christian Prophetic Artists alongside Kohn. Having been a music teacher at Springtown, Reno and Azle schools for decades, painting and drawing are only a small part of Patterson’s artistic expression. She releases original songs on her podcast, Joy Notes. She has written musicals and plays for churches and her is a worship praise dancer in God’s Amazing Storytellers or GALS. Her daughter also pursues her own creative passions as a mime. Her inspiration can be found in Colossians 1:16.
“I’ve kind of got a lot of iron in the fire, but they all wrap around fine art,” Patterson said. “When you’re working diligently on something that you’re not interested in that’s called stress. If you’re working diligently on something you love that’s called passion.”
Patterson is inspired to paint everything she sees as part of God’s creation, from butterflies to images from the Hubble Space Telescope.  
“It’s quite exciting,” Patterson said having her art displayed at the seminary. “It is humbling that anything I would paint would be given such an honor. I just want to see God in his creation… He created everything in the universe, and we can just look at his handiwork and just be in awe of how big he is and that everything is just encompassed in his hands, it’s just wow.”
Anna Newton has also been drawing her whole life and specializes in pencil graphite. Newton draws things I from her life and the people she loves. Newton has continued to grow and improve after meeting Vonnie Kohn by happenstance and joining her class.
“It feels really cool,” Newton said of having her art featured. “I’ve never done art, and had it displayed anywhere so it’s just pretty awesome that I get to do that and also get to show what Christ means to me in my life.”
One of her paintings that will be on display is a picture of her father’s hands, who is a minister.
“I really like the way it shows my dad even if it’s just his hand,” Watson said. “It can show this person has been through life and you can see that just from the drawing. So that’s one of my favorites. It’s just very personal and the message of he’s reaching out to the lost and pursuing them.”
Rhonda Wilson was raised in Dallas-Ft. Worth and began pursuing art seriously in 2013. For about one and a half years, it has been her full-time job.
“I’ve always had an artistic side of me,” Wilson said. “God just pushed me.” Wilson began drawing more prophetic art after she was also mentored by Kohn. She enjoys creating simple paintings that provoke the mind. “I just love doing it and I’m enjoying the process and journey where it takes me,” Wilson said. “I’m putting it in God’s hands. Learning how to be still and knowing that God is with you is a common theme.”
She is inspired by Psalms 46:10.
“I’m kind of a baby Chistian,” Wilson said. “I was raised in church, but I really started to read the scripture when I got into my art.”
Wilson took a turn from landscapes and portraits to things that motivate and inspire her. After taking a picture of a bright star over Eagle Mountain Lake, she noticed that a sailboat was a part of the backdrop. Wilson painted this image, depicting the boat’s mast as a cross. Not long after, Wilson met Kohn.
“She just helped me bloom into the person I’m becoming because of her support system,” Wilson said. “There’s beauty in everything, you just got to seek it out, believe in it and find it.” Wilson said Kohn guided her into doing art full-time.
“This is a dream I had since childhood,” Wilson said. “I want to be a light for people. I want them to see the beauty inside them and know that they can bloom into something bigger than they can imagine for themselves. I’m an inspiration artist that gets inspired by inspiration itself. I’m so grateful that I get to be a part of this and that I met Vonnie.”
While most of the featured artists are painters, local artist Julie Clark will be representing her faith through her intricate carved crosses.
“It’s an unusual art style,” Clark said. “A lot of times when people see the crosses, they ask if my husband made them because they’re not used to a female woodworker and that just makes me giggle. I just say, ‘nope, it’s me!’”
Starting in 1998 or ’99, Clark began carving small crosses to decorate her Christmas tree for her two young boys.
“I started cutting crosses because that just came natural to me to decorate my tree with Christian themed items,” Clark said.
A few weeks later, Clark attended an ornament exchange at church and received a lot of praise and offers to buy her ornaments.
“In two weeks, I had made $200 selling ornaments and I went and bought a better scroll saw,” Clark said.  “That began the Clark Cross business. As a stay-at-home mom this was a way, I could make a little bit of income and, I could seed my creativity.”
After a few years of selling at craft shows, Clark grew tired of making her crosses and asked for a sign from God. After losing most of her old designs when her computer crashed, she began receiving larger more ornate designs.
 “I probably designed over 60 crosses,” Clark said. People would ask me for crosses with unusual things like this person said, ‘can I have a frog cross’ and I thought ‘how weird is that? Why would I make a cross with a frog on it?’ But the Lord reminded me of a saying, ‘fully rely on God.’ So, knowing that saying, I knew that I could embrace a frog cross.”
Clark set the crosses aside for a period in 2013 until she had received revelations of new cross designs in 2018.
“These crosses were even bigger and more complicated,” Clark said. “I pray that these crosses encourage people. They touch people in different ways. It’s a very exciting thing to be a part of.”
Clark sells them on Etsy as Clark Crosses and is preparing to crank into gear as the Christmas season approaches.
Clark receives inspiration from scripture and word association in making her crosses and focuses heavily on designing, planning, and carving her crosses from beginning to end.
Each cross takes 20 or 30 hours in design process alone
“The wood has to be structurally sound, but it still has to be pleasing to the eye. It takes a lot of time. They’re like babies to me. I put so much time and effort into each one it’s hard to let go of them.”
Clark says that her crosses help her fulfill her destiny on Earth, by providing people with hope and comfort. Last year, Clark gifted a cross to the wife of Fort Worth Police Officer Garrett Hull, after he was killed in the line of duty.  
“Then I knew why the Lord even had me make that cross to begin with,” Clark said. “It was for Officer Hull’s wife. I was honored to be used in that way. It’s not about making tons of make but it’s representing the lord to other people,” Clark said. “It’s an honor to have my crosses displayed (at the seminary). It’s not about me because I’m only being used by the Lord, so I really like to direct people to him and his goodness. I’m thankful for the opportunity to show these crosses.”
Photos Courtesy local artists
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