Chances are you have seen Thomas Blackshear II's work somewhere-his "Star Trek" plates, his limited-edition prints sold by the Greenwich Workshop, or his work for Hallmark Cards, Coca-Cola, Lee jeans, and the National Geographic Society. Millions of Americans have licked his art-he contributed to three series of U.S. postage stamps: one commemorating great movies of 1939, another honoring America's black heritage, and one celebrating American jazz masters.

But it is his growing body of Christian paintings that pleases Blackshear most and has the greatest impact on people.

His Fan into Flame the Gift of God, commissioned by Promise Keepers, was distributed to men attending PK's clergy conference in Atlanta last February. And his Forgiven, which shows a compassionate Christ upholding a man with a hammer in one hand and a spike in the other, makes a powerful spiritual impact on viewers.

Blackshear spent two and one-half weeks seeking God's guidance for Forgiven. "My prayer was, 'Lord, you know what you want to say to your people. You know what you want me to paint,' " says Blackshear, who lives in

Colorado Springs with his wife of ten years, Ami, also a professional artist. Blackshear was worshiping at a church prayer meeting when the image for Forgiven flashed into his mind.


Jack Gollan, who describes himself as "not a go-to-church-every-Sunday Christian" from a mainline Protestant background, calls Forgiven "a painting that gets you in the back of the knees." He was so inspired by Blackshear's work that he converted a Colorado Springs frame shop he owns into the Blackshear Gallery. "There's a power coming into his work from above," says Gollan.

As Blackshear sees it, he does two kinds of work. There are his commercial ...

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