By Amy Moshier
Edward Patterson doesn’t ask for any credit or recognition for his paintings on display at Southland Community Church. Instead, he asks that credit be placed where it belongs. “All I did was point the brush in the right direction, and God took it from there,” he stated in a book he wrote about the paintings. The oil on canvas paintings depicts various stories in the Bible, including the story of Adam and Eve, the crucifixion, Daniel and the Lion’s Den and several others.
The first painting of the Garden of Eden was years in the making and is over 30 feet in length, as noted in his biographical book about the project, Painting The Bible Story. Senior Pastor Steve Schellin was thrilled to find out about the project years ago, and has the paintings on display in the library of the church. “The most common reaction anyone has had who has seen the paintings is one word: ‘Wow,’” he said. Schellin noted the project was a great fit for the church. “We want to include the arts in our ministry,” he added.
Patterson offers this analogy to the work involved with the project. “I recall hearing the wise sage Kermit the Frog once say, ‘It ain’t easy being green,’ Well, if I ever have the chance to meet Kermit, I will tell him that being green is a whole lot easier than painting 12 religious art paintings depicting stories from the Bible,” he said.
Born in London, Ky., Patterson is the seventh out of nine children. “My core belief in the purpose of human life on planet earth is that we aren’t here just to play with our pets, build highways and automobiles and aircraft, or climb mountains. We were put on earth to face this world by an incomprehensible force we call God to serve in some incomprehensible fashion and manner He chooses for us in order to glorify His name and righteousness,” he said.
“Looking back now, from that that time, forward, it seems that my destiny in life was to paint large religious scenes for a church, and doing that as an outsider seemed necessary,” Patterson said. “Readers will understand I do not attend Southland Community Church, nor am I a member.”
Schellin said the project was exciting. “It was really exciting in the beginning especially,” he said. “We’d have 30 volunteers at times serving as models for the characters in the paintings.” However, as time went on, “we’d begin to have just a few volunteers at times.”
Patterson felt the light of God when he was 10 years old, when he prayed, “God, come into my life,” he said.
“I don’t know why exactly I prayed that, but it just came into my heart,” Patterson said. “It was during a Sunday night worship service, when I had a bright light, and a bolt of energy shot through my body.”
To view Patterson’s work, go to edwardpatterson.com.