VALRICO (FOX13) - Painting is much more than brush strokes and blending to one Bay area artist. Each canvas is a divine opportunity to illustrate her faith.
Susan Jenkins finds sanctuary in a cozy room in the corner of her house. Her art studio is filled with vibrant paintings, created within the room's four walls.
"I sing a lot when I'm painting, and I go to another place. I truly have never felt on the level that I do as I do when I'm painting," Susan said with a smile.
Before the long-time artist ever makes a brush stroke, she starts her work in silence.
"I begin in prayer. I begin with a message of something I want to get across," she said. "I really feel like the Lord guides me and what I'm to paint."
Three years ago, her faith led her to take on a special project. She painted five large-scale works and donated them to A Kids Place of Tampa Bay, a nearby nonprofit for displaced children.
"I started the project. And two paintings into it, I found out that I had cancer," she said. "When you find out about having cancer, even when you have faith...you're not really sure how the Lord's going to let this play out. I tried to be open to either possibility."
Her painting persevered.
"Part of the healing was painting. So a lot of time when I felt I had the energy, I would paint," she recalled.
Her pastels must have some healing power, because one year later, Susan was cured. Soon after that, all five paintings were finished.
"Finishing the paintings was like a victory. I was like, 'Alright, Lord.' It encouraged me to do even more," she said.
Today, her blessing comes in the form of a book. It's called 'The Mountain Queen', a children's book with a message lost in many others.
"It's a happily ever after beyond what most books are. Beyond the prince and the castle. It's a happily ever after that's eternal," Susan smiled.
'The Mountain Queen is available on Amazon and at Southern Hospitality in Plant City. For more information on Susan's work, visit her website at susanjenkinsfineart.com.