Curious Servant's Art

Welcome! In my blog “Job’s Tale” I have shared about praying through art. Some readers have encouraged me to sell some of my art to help raise funds to rebuild Canby Alliance Church (burned as a result of my son playing with fire). Each post will display and describe a piece and the deadline for bids. The last bid will be the final price. You are free to use these images in any way you choose.

My Photo
Location: Canby, Oregon, United States

I have adopted two boys from Haiti. Both are mentally handicapped. One is is now 20, the other 18. I divorced my wife of 28 years a few years ago and have just remarried, a woman from Belize. I find beauty in many things... many, many things (nature, art, people, space...) and that helps me to survive my deep empathy for so many who suffer. I like to write, and I've written quite a bit on my blogs. I have been thinking about writing a book. Unsure if it should be about the things I have experienced, or fiction (I have an interesting plot line worked out). I'm pretty open about things. I like blended whiskey, but I never have more than two drinks... usually just one, and not often at that. I have had many adventures. Makes me a little different. (Odd?)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Just Tossing Some Pics Here

I haven't done much with this blog in quite a while...

A friend wanted to share some of my art with someone, and I realized there isn't much here... So... I'm toss some pics onto the blog pile and I'll try to get back soon to put it in proper order...

Lion & Lamb
Somewhen not too long before this pic I hit on the idea of doing drawings using words written with Sharpies on a wall... Prayers. This was one of my firsts. No real lines... Just letters...


As my marriage was going through its final throes I spent a lot of time in prayer. It was mostly just heartfelt sharing of my hurt. I just really wanted to talk to the ordinary Jesus... The guy who was who He was before He became Rabbi, or Messiah. I wanted to talk to the ordinary man, the blue collar guy who worked on simple furniture, repaired doors and porches... While I prayed those prayers, this image emerged.

If you look closely at the half of the mustache on the left, you can clearly see some of the letter, His name... A good example of how I do this sort of thing.

The Lord's Servant
Some friends asked me to do the cover art for a charity Christmas CD. Though the color in this photo is yellowish due to lighting... it still gives another example. This image is about six feet square, all prayers and lyrics from the songs on the album... Mary receiving the Holy spirit, and becoming the virginal mother of God. Behind the Holy Spirit (the over sized dove) is the star of David representing God the Father. The body of water is from a photo I looked up of the Sea of Galilee.


No Title
This is just a sketch on a wall

Infant Messiah, Infinite Messiah
Once in a while I do a painting during a church service. This one was during a Christmas Service... It took about two hours and is done in acrylic paint. The image is based on a picture of my first son who died of SIDS.

Same as the painting above it, but done one year earlier.

OK... Now not everything I do is religious, theological, or has any meaning at all... Below are some drawings I did... mostly colored pencil... just for fun

Friday, June 20, 2008

He Changed the World

I am practicing using the new version of iMovie...

The video is a a reflection on how Jesus, though He was God incarnate, sought God's guidance constantly, especially when He was faced with a challenge.

If he sought prayer, we should also.

I loaded uploaded it onto uTube and now I'm trying out embedding a uTube video for the first time:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wood Working

This post is heavily edited from the original.
The original is for a more personal journal.

Note... This is from a post some time ago... some folks have asked after my art, and I thought I should copy this popst to here since it deals with my art. It is created by using diffferent colored Sharpies. Since this was posted the picture has been completed.

It is my habit to paint over these every year and start fresh.

Today we had our church’s monthly 24 hours of prayer. We get to sign up for one hour sessions.

I managed to get four sessions. I wanted the peace that usually comes from prayer.

Usually comes. Today I left feeling as heavy as when I started.

Worked on a picture on the wall there. Jesus as an ordinary guy... a carpenter. He’s using a chisel to notch out a large beam. I’ve drawn him slightly larger than life. His eyes down, looking at His work, making clear, sharp edges so it will fit another beam. He is wearing a sort of apron, nothing authentic, I just made it up, but it has a couple of pockets. in one pocket the handle of another chisel is barely seen. In another, four large nails.

I’m doing my usual thing, creating the image out of writing prayers and scripture. Slightly new technique though. I'm overlapping the writing where I want it to create darker areas instead of simply writing smaller. The effect has a little more control for color, but less detail. I think it's better.

I wrote stuff I do not wish to discuss here... but I know no one will be able to read it as it is written and rewritten and even I can't make out what is there once it gets covered a couple of times.

So, it will be our secret, OK? The picture is a little nicer than usual, and more personal. This time I know that when a year rolls 'round and it gets repainted, I will feel a greater sense of relief in covering it over. And hopefully it will be at a time when all this current mess is behind me and it will indeed be a new beginning.

Folks will wonder why I would want to paint it over, try to convince me I shouldn't. I will smile inside, knowing intimate prayers have been offered, received, and wiped clean again.

This is a tough time in my life. I believe that when that picture is painted over this coming year, this this challenge will be behind me. One way or another.

I’d like to sit and watch the Carpenter work. I’d like to be in that casual space of His workspace, the time before He began His ministry.

Right now, that is the Jesus I seek in my prayers. The guy who shaped things out of wood. I’m willing to let Him shape me now.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


(Scroll down for pictures)

I did a picture during the service today. The watercolor pens I brought wouldn’t stick well enough to the canvass board, and the thin point Sharpies where to faint, so I did the whole thing with a limited range of colors, all in thick, regular tip Sharpies.

I was looking forward to praying through the picture. I no longer think about the congregation behind me. I just plugged the iPod into the sockets I call ears, and start praying.

There were a few key things I made sure was in there. I included Jesus’ lineage in the gray on the wall, and the nativity story from Luke is the primary layer on the cow in the front.

I wanted to do a picture that emphasized the baseness of where Christ was born. I wanted to make the animals center-most. I wanted folks to think a moment about the smells, the dirt, the actual filth of where God deigned to enter the world.

For many of us the idea of having a child in a place where feces litters the dirt floor is disgusting.

I would suggest that simply being born human was, for God, a greater step toward the crude than it would be for one of us to give birth in a stable.

My son Isaac, took some pictures and I share them here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Shepherd in the Woods

If you look closely at the shepherd holding the torch you will see He is wearing a crown of thorns.

The meaning is simple. Sometimes I feel I am lost in darkness. Sometimes I tarry a little too far behind my Shepherd.

He understands. He holds up, He whispers to His flock to remain still for a moment, while He turns to coax me back into the light.

The image is made up of prayers and passages of scripture with watercolor pens I bought.

Once I had put the colors down with the pens, I washed them with water with a small brush. They blended into the background, their words vanishing, but leaving the colors and thoughts staining the white page.

I then went over the whole thing with different colored fine point Sharpies, prayers about find a path through dark times. The colors were still a little garish and varied, so I muted parts with colored pencils.

A few words about my signature: I don’t sign these prayers with my real name because all that matters are the prayers themselves, not who did them. So, I sign them “CS” the initials of my nom de plume for writing I do on the internet: Curious Servant.

Still, this is an art show and I’ll peek from behind the picture to tell you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, that Curious Servant is Will Greenleaf.

Infant Messiah - Infinite Messiah

(Details finished - click to enlarge)

I was nervous. I don’t think anyone noticed, but I was.

I was at church an hour before the service. I was sitting in the Prayer Room. I had candles lit. I had said The Lord’s Prayer twice. I was trying to wrap my mind around what it cannot.

The previous day I had set the easel and canvas in place. All the paints were at hand, brushes ready.

I had a clear vision of what I would do, how I would skimp on details so it would be “finished” before the services were over... but the reality behind the image, the Truth I recognized in the image, was, is, larger than my mind and heart can hold.

Fourteen years ago my son was scheduled to portray the infant Jesus in a little reenactment at a friend’s stable... but he died three days before that was to happen. Now he was to play that role on Christmas Eve in a way I had never foreseen, and I was preparing my heart in the solitude of our prayer room.

It is a small role, a little pretending, merely a model for his dad’s work who was attempting to speak a prayer, paint a prayer, on the wonder of God squeezing into reality, into a mere four dimensions, so He could love us more dearly, hold us with hands of flesh, look into our eyes as we are accustomed to looking into the eyes of each other.

But the truth of this is so hard to describe!

Born to love and heal and care and teach and hold and suffer and die...

My pastor and friend came in, we prayed as we usually do before the service.

And I went out to join my family. The Advent candle was lit, I walked up to the canvas.

Sometimes painting can be a struggle. It can seem a battle to get the colors right, push them where they should be. It wasn’t this time.

I was relaxed as far as the image itself went. I really didn’t care overly much what the finished product was going to be. I knew it would fall far short of the reality I was feeling, and since I was already so far behind The Truth of it, what did it matter if the colors weren’t exactly right, or there was a line or shape not quite where I wanted it?

The Truth was so much more than I could contain... it was some relief to let it spill out onto the canvas, to get it out of my heart.

My son’s face is there, but it is only a stand in for The Truth...

A golden infant... floating in cerulean blue... bearing terrible wounds, the evidence of a fallen humanity, of evil inflicted upon innocence... and deep eyes squinting above a mouth open in joy and laughter. The events of His mortal life, the Nativity and the Crucifixion, mingled in a single image, floating in an eternity beyond the reality of this world.

It was the smile... I kept thinking about it.

Pure joy flowing out, rushing out, laughing, shouting a wordless call of love and companionship to all of Creation, welcoming us all into a relationship with divinity.

At one point during the service I began to tremble. That smile... that smile of love and forgiveness, there before creation, there long after these hands which grip brushes will be turned to dust...

Too often I write in this little blog words which are fine sounding, authoritative... pompous. That is all they are, words, sounds blown from a self-centered, self-important ego of a little man, a small part of such a larger creation! How little those words mean. I am merely a shadow, a ghost of the reality of what is The Truth of Creation. There is a Lord of lords who loves me more than I can possibly understand. A being of infinite grace and glory Who is so far beyond the poor splash of color I have made that all that is are mere refections of the pure creative glory of Him.

Oh worthy Lord! Almighty Lord! Thank You sweet King of all creation! God of Wonders! Holy, Holy, Holy Master of all things. I am so honored... Grant me the privilege to live my life for You! Eternal God, immortal Son of David... I love You Lord! Thank You for the thousands, millions of blessings You pour into my life! I am Yours Lord. Do with me as You will. --Amen... Amen... Amen...


This painting was done on Sunday, December 25th, 2005 during the worship service. It is based on Mary’s song of gratitude:

Mary's Song

And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for He has been mindful

of the humble state of His servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

for the Mighty One has done great things for me—

holy is His name.

His mercy extends to those who fear Him,

from generation to generation.

He has performed mighty deeds with His arm;

He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones

but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things

but has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped His servant Israel,

remembering to be merciful

to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as He said to our fathers."
--Luke 1:46-55

Here is a woman, no one special, a girl really, and of all the people on the Earth, among all the mighty cities, this girl in a tiny town was going to be the tool the Lord used to step into mortal existence. She sang a song of praise.

So I painted a picture of a tiny figure among enormous buildings, bathed in the light of grace and love and divine selection.

The challenge in painting during a service is to shake off the feeling of the congregation’s eyes and simply pray while I paint.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Been a While

I've noticed recent traffic to this site, probably a spin off from the hugely increased traffic over at Job's Tale.

So I looked in on this site and see that it has been a very long time since I posted anything new.

So here are some new pics.

I mean to get around soon to posting about the Lord's Prayer that took me the past year to do... but that will have to wait for now.

Suffering Lord


Lion and Lamb


Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Lord's Prayer

I am working on a new painting. It is large. Five foot by five foot. It is a remake of the Lord's Prayer I did last year in our prayer room, but I think it is going to be much better. I am very excited about it. I love praying while I paint!

Here is the previous versioon that I am using as a starting point:

Counter placed March 25, 2005