From real-world art to digital and back again

Stephen Rountree

After years of digital illustration for mass media—newspapers and magazines, Stephen Rountree is returning to creating tangible art that people want to collect, display in their homes, and give as gifts. Read more.

If you’re like me, you might sometimes struggle to keep life from dragging you down. It seems there’s always too much to do, with no quiet time—no mental margin to just be still and rest. Instead, explosions of images, text, and sound bombard our eyes and ears nearly every day, blasting their way into our minds and hearts. Emails, texts, and instant messages collide with Facebook posts, 24/7 news blasts, and the latest cat video into a swelling spray of mental flak that shatters our peace. Psychologists have coined various terms for this such as “information overload,” “infobesity,” and “infoxication.”

Mental flak, by any name, tends to deform us into distracted, unproductive, ineffective, and inattentive people. In our attempt to be more informed and connected than ever, we only find ourselves more confused and disconnected. But that’s not how we were designed to be and we don’t have to accept it as the norm.
God offers peace and rest—a place of quiet shelter, like a secret cave hidden behind a waterfall. He invites us inside, encouraging us to refuse to be conformed to the world’s patterns and behaviors. He offers a different way because, as our Maker, He has His own perfect pattern for our lives.

Inspiring Handmade exists to celebrate that truth through original artwork on which we can feast our eyes and feed our souls. We aim to be a counterpoint in a world that bombards messages through an overwhelming number of channels.

Underlying the Inspiring Handmade vision is a secret from the New Testament book of Philippians. If we don’t want to remain pinned down under a hail of mental flak, it’s vital that we find a way to focus on what’s good, true, honorable, pure, and praiseworthy. When we surround ourselves with art, writing, music, and other works that build up, rather than tear down, we’re creating our own Philippians 4:8 moment. Then, like a plant that stretches and turns itself toward the sun so it can grow, we position ourselves so God can re-calibrate our sensitivities and renew our minds and spirits.

In Philippians 4:8-9, God promises true peace. He inspired His servant, Paul, to write these encouraging words: “… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” That runs so counter to everything our culture offers us. But if we will hear the truth of Philippians 4:8, and give it a try, it will change our perspective on God, life, our family and friends—everything.

And God encourages us again with the promise that we can be transformed and have our tired, frazzled minds renewed. In Romans 12:2, He says: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Do you really want to know why you’re here—why you were created in the first place? Do you want to know your purpose in life—get some real direction, a true path forward, and authentic meaning in your life? Maybe you just want to rest your mind. If that’s you, then you want to be transformed! For those who’ve never considered it and those who’ve been practicing it for years, the secrets of Philippians 4:8 and Romans 12:2 are equally powerful. It is possible, even promised, that we can know God’s will, discover the purpose for our lives, and experience true peace. But we have to position ourselves to receive it.

That’s the power of thinking on the true, the honorable, the pure, and anything that is praiseworthy. You can experience genuine rest, transformation, and true peace that only comes from the ultimate Maker Himself. We’re glad you’re here! Visit us anytime.