Painter puts down brushes, mission trips

Painter and graphic designer Kendra Baird is putting down her paintbrush to participate in an eleven month mission trip according to the Charlotte Observer. Baird began painting a few years ago after forays into graphic design and photography. She turned to the brush while taking pictures of geckos with a friend. Her first painting “turned out really well,” so she thought, “Why don’t I try to sell these?” She talked to Green Rice Gallery in NoDa, which took three of her paintings. Two of them sold.

Kendra baird painting

The Observer article implies that Baird is giving painting up in order to go overseas as a missionary. “Baird will leave for the World Race in August, carrying only a backpack. She’s packing a small sketch pad and watercolor palette, but she’s prepared to leave the rest of her art behind — forever, if God asks her to.” My question — to Baird and to the missions community — is this: Why did she have to give up painting to be a part of Adventure’s in Missions’ World Race? Baird should be made aware of opportunities (as new and few as they may be) that put her God-given talents to use. Operation Moblization’s ArtsLink offers mission trips designed specifically for artists.

Baird believes she can sell paintings after returning from the World Race, but that’s beside the point. Sacrifice is an important part of character, and giving up her craft for a year may be entirely intentional on the part of the artist. However, if a person is gifted in a particular craft that shouldn’t be ignored. God doesn’t gift each of us as part of the body just so we can say we are good at this or than and then box it up and put it on at shelf.

Image from Kendra Baird’s Etsy store.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

2 Responses to Painter puts down brushes, mission trips

  1. There is definitely a cultural sense that pretty much every artist could be doing something more “useful.” Painting is a hobby, fun, relaxing, but certainly not useful.

    I love how Fujimura described artists as extravagant lovers of God compared to the woman at Bethany who broke open the alabaster jar onto Christ’s feet. Jesus called her extravagant expression “a beautiful thing.” It was wasteful and certainly not useful, but God Himself saw that it was Beautiful.

    Btw, your blog has inspired me to get going again on my blog. I reorganized the two that I have into home blog and art blog. 🙂

    • pcNielsen says:

      My wife is thinking of combining her blogs too, one for her reading and one for her fiber arts. Sometimes it makes sense to have more than one, but other times they can all be thrown together. As an artist I think there’s validity in it being together.

      Glad I can be of some inspiration! I still have a draft of a post talking about artists and extravagance. I’ve heard Mako speak four or five times (two in person) and don’t think I’ve heard him say that before, but I love the analogy.

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