News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Artist publishes 'Reflections of Jesus'

For most of his life he found meaning within perfection, whether at the yoke of a fighter jet or the stroke of a brush. But now Jim Horsley is seeking that less and instead finding meaning through art in a different way. After a year of deliberation and hard work he is displaying his journey to meaning within a new book, "Reflections of Jesus."

For most of his art career his work has largely centered around his military service and the Western way of life. He served 12 years in the United States Navy as an E-6 Intruder fighter pilot and would later serve two years within the ranks of the prestigious U.S. Navy Blue Angels demonstration team. In those ranks perfection was an art form as much as a demand, and the rules of precision aviation left no room for error. That eventually translated into his early art.

When he began painting in 2010 his artwork largely consumed the realm of aviation and Western landscapes. But over the years the desire for finding meaning within his work prevailed. He began to find that by painting the homeless and his fellow veterans.

He calls it "painting with a purpose." Meaning, he believes, is held in the way of benefiting others and not the self. His artwork became a mode of blessing others and less about him. He came to faith in Jesus Christ in 1984 and his journey would eventually lead him to some his greatest work - painting the scenes of Jesus within the New Testament.

He says of his earliest artwork, "Aircraft are linear and non-relational. They have no emotions other than creating pride in what I've done."

Painting Jesus and his life strikes him at a different level, he says. The ensuing process was emotional and deepened his faith on many levels.

In August 2022 he conceived the idea of depicting Jesus' life in art. The following month he would begin the process of painting, but not without intense research and prayer. The paintings, he realized, had to be more than just visually appealing but accurate to the times and locations.

"All of my compositions are compiled of prior thinking and thought, and I found a way to make it unique to me. I had to own it in my own mind," he said.

The process was a careful look at reality and truth. What was accurate for the time period? And what was the landscape like in and around Israel at the time? For example: The "Journey to Bethlehem" piece was a careful study of previous paintings and the study of what was real at that time. He included a map to depict the journey. Consideration of animals used was based on economic class; people, camels, and the desert are accurate based on the route from Nazareth to Bethlehem as described in Luke 2:1-5.

The Wedding Miracle - where Jesus turned water into wine - has an accurate number of jars, style, color, and size according to studies of that cultural era. Horsley gave careful thought and prayer to each scene he painted. He wasn't looking for the Renaissance style or an unrealistic depiction of Jesus. He simply wants the truth to be known, as Jesus was. In the "Triumphal Entry" painting, Horsley referenced 48 historical images to ensure the most accurate depiction of what was described in Matthew 21.

After studying the four Gospels and painting a total of 40 scenes over a year, Horsley has completed an 89-page book. Steve Stratos, a friend and pastor at Sisters Community Church, wrote commentary for each image that explains the biblical context depicted.

"I'm not an artist," Horsley said reflecting on his work. "I'm a journeyman painter. God put this on my heart not to be a perfectionist." It's his magnum opus, a journey to better understanding and what he hopes is an opportunity for others to learn more about Christ.

"Art opens doors to conversation and that understanding," he says.

He has no desire to make a commercial enterprise from it, but to simply provide a window into better understanding of who Jesus says he is.

Horsley hopes to extend the meaning of the book sales by donating all net proceeds to Faith Seeds Guatemala, a ministry funding the education of children in poor rural communities.

There will be a special book release and meet-and-greet on December 10, at 11:15 a.m. at Sisters Community Church. People may meet Horsley, see the paintings, and purchase a book. Books will also be available for purchase at


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