The late David Bishop created the piece of art with a painter’s brush and a lover’s heart. “Springtime Glory,” as the painting was named, took 340 hours to complete.
“[Dave] gave me that for our 25th anniversary,” explained Sandy Bishop. “If you look at the tiny petals on some of those flowers you can only imagine the intricacy.”
This adherence to detail was abided by in all of his works. After his sudden passing in March, his memory remains in the beauty he left behind.
“He had an imagination that wouldn’t quit when it came to that kind of beauty,” Sandy said.
Today, Sandy continues to enter David’s paintings in local art contests.
“I still think his artwork is worthy of being available to the public,” Sandy stated with level eyes. “There will be no more new paintings. What we have is what there is going to be.”
Paintings line the walls of the Bishop household. Frames of decorative gold and wood hold in the beauties of nature.
“The only gallery we have ever had was our living room and staircase,” Sandy said with a laugh. “I still have people saying they want to come out and see the painings, so I tell them, ‘Wait til I get the yard done so that I can clean the house.’”
Sandy has considered an open house, but for now, she is content with entering David’s work in the local art shows. The toughest part is choosing which painting to enter.
“I was thinking about entering the painting on the herons — what do you think?” she questioned while looking at the walls and walls of paintings.
The answer is difficult to give. David was a prolific artist who created beauty at the touch of his brush. For years, he could be found in front of a canvas. Leaning forward, he would delicately draw lines with his pencil. Stroke after stroke would give birth to a new idea.
“David’s inspiration was God’s creation and his love for and intimacy with God,” Sandy shared. “His creations were from his heart.”
The paintings that Sandy chooses from all have core similarities: humor and big, blue skies. David often amused himself when he told about his painting titled “The Height of Conceit and the Depths of Indifference.” In the painting, a rooster struts in front of several chickens. The subject matter was also known by the artist as, “Cruising for Chicks.”
Added Sandy, “He’s got a lot of humor in his paintings. Anything of nature will inspire.”
Turning around she points to, “Too Full to Care.” In the painting, two birds fight over the leftovers of a salmon. Behind them, a bear lies against a log. The wind ruffles his fur and he drowsily looks on as they finish his meal.
The subtle humor in David’s paintings are as refreshing as his serious landscapes are breathtaking.
“He was an extremely creative person, and not just in painting. When he preached he would paint pictures with his words,” Sandy shared.
David spent a majority of the past 50 years as a pastor and Sandy was with him for every step. The couple began in Fresno, Calif., before moving to Yakima, Wash.
“On Mother’s Day David would always do a drawing and then we would photocopy it ourselves. We would roll them up like a scroll and then tie them with a ribbon,” Sandy explained.
The women of the church learned to expect the sweet mother’s day pictures.
“We would hand them out to the ladies of the church and women would grab some for their friends that were absent,” Sandy recalled. “They became a treasured item for the ladies in the church.”
The tradition was continued when the couple moved to Cleveland’s own Westmore Church of God. David and Sandy’s children were recruited each year to complete the project.
“Our Saturday night before Mother’s day would be a family gathering of rolling and tying the pictures,” Sandy said.
At their last church in Hilo, Hawaii, the project came full circle. With their children grown, David and Sandy were left to distribute the pictures by themselves.
“On occasion, Dave would give the men of the church a painting, as well,” Sandy shared. “He got up one Father’s Day and announced that he had a gift for the men that day. He said, ‘It’s just a little wildlife.’ And of course, everyone started laughing because men and wild life, especially in church, don’t go together.”
David and Sandy poured themselves into the churches they pastored. Their goal was to do the life’s work they believed the Lord had placed before them.
“Because we were pastoring, and our ministry always came first, [David] didn’t really have time to think about art contests until the last couple of years. He ... entered them since and he has won prizes,” Sandy said.
While alive, David won the prize of High Excellence at a local art show for his painting, “Denali Monarch.” One of his toothpick villages also took home an award for creativity. The village that won was less than a foot tall. Another sits at the end of the couch and is more than a foot tall.
“He did the big one at about the time he retired,” Sandy said.
With a smile she continues, “I think he did that to help him go from busy pastor to more relaxation than he was used to.”
As Sandy talks, she sits surrounded by the paintings her husband spent more than 50 years creating. Fondness is reflected in her features as her eyes take in each one. In the kitchen hangs the first painting David gave her for an anniversary.
“He made me a painting of a still life for our first anniversary, but I didn’t get it until our third anniversary because he was too busy to paint it,” she explains with a laugh.
It is fitting for Sandy to find such joy in the paintings. David and Sandy enjoyed many long years full of laughter and mutual love and respect. Today, that love burns bright in Sandy as she shows the world what her late husband was able to accomplish. For more information on the paintings, visit bishopartworks.com.