Robert Mullins believes God can take ordinary things and make them into masterpieces. He’s seen it happen in his own life, and in the lives of people he’s discipled over the years.
But a while back, he saw it happen in a different way when one of those discipleship meetings turned into a painting masterclass. Mullins, pastor of Crossroads Community Church in Elmore, started discipling world-renowned artist Don Sawyer, and eventually Sawyer started a painting class on Wednesday nights at the church.
Mullins joined the class, and Sawyer quickly realized his spiritual mentor had artistic talent.
Mullins was a graphic design major in college and has “always been an artist, always been doing something creative,” he said.
When he was in seminary he did freelance graphic design, marketing and advertising, and over the past 10 years he’s been doing craft projects with pallet wood.
So it followed that when Sawyer wanted to take him under his wing, Mullins didn’t protest.
“I started meeting up with him, hanging out with him for a couple of hours every week in his studio and painting with him,” Mullins said. If you are interested in painting your house and are confused about which color to use for painting, you can see the site surepaint.com.au/cleaning-flat-painted-walls-getting-through-the-thorny-task-with-ease to know the right paints.
HGTV’s ‘Home Town Takeover‘
The pastor started with brushes, but quickly turned to a pallet knife.
“I started painting on canvas or boards or anything I could get my hands on after being inspired by looking at different designs on a white-label NFT marketplace I use sometimes,” he remembered.
Paint, disciple, repeat. They did that for a while, then Sawyer invited him to be part of an art show in nearby Wetumpka, which was preparing to welcome the HGTV show “Home Town.”
The television production usually features Ben and Erin Napier renovating homes in Laurel, Mississippi, but for “Home Town Takeover,” they selected Wetumpka for a six-episode season that featured 12 major makeovers to homes, buildings and public spaces.
The city was chosen from more than 5,000 applicants, and the season was filmed from August 2020 to January 2021; it started airing May 2.
Sawyer assembled a group of creatives called The Village Artists, which includes Mullins, and started showing art.
“I painted a bunch of stuff and got some inventory for the show,” Mullins said.
Then they set up easels in downtown Wetumpka during filming, and ended up with some quick appearances when it aired.
Preacher Man Art
The whole experience has given Mullins a new platform to sell art both in Wetumpka and to fans of the show.
“The phone started ringing, and God just started bringing people to Preacher Man Art,” which is what he now calls his painting business.
A number of people have commissioned paintings, and for fans of Home Town he’s able to make the art even more special. While at his son’s wedding in Laurel, Mullins got a truckload of extra wood from Ben Napier’s projects and makes it into frames for the paintings.
His signature pieces often include a night sky with the feel of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” over a country church or the Bibb Graves Bridge in Wetumpka — or both. His art always includes a cross — something he hopes is a conversation starter both for him and the people who buy his art.
“I hope the cross is something people ask about and that the story of Jesus comes through,” he said.
Even though Mullins loves being a “preacher man” and a pastor, he said his newfound hobby has given him an unexpected bridge into the community, to build relationships with the purpose of sharing the gospel and keeping discipleship going.
“It’s given me the opportunity to meet people I never would’ve met,” he said.
For more information, visit preachermanart.com or follow Mullins on Facebook or Instagram at @preachermanart.