Aesthetic life is as integral to being human as building sandcastles on the beach and giving your children names. Calvin Seerveld

Eva Crawford: Set Free

ArtWay Visual Meditation September 30, 2018

Eva Crawford: Set Free

I Choose to Forgive

by Dianne B. Collard

There are times when only a painting can express the deep emotions and spiritual realities of our lives. In a very personal sense this contemporary piece of art by American artist Eva Crawford accomplishes this. The artist describes her motivation in the painting, Set Free, in this way:

Romans 8:2 is the inspiration for this acrylic painting, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” The construction of Old-Testament law offers only the confining cage of our best efforts, whereas the open door represents freedom through Christ for our soul. The bird is a visible image of the invisible spirit living within us fulfilling the law due to his loving grace alone.  

The longing for freedom resides in every person, but never more so when one is tortured with the chains that come with bitterness, hatred, and a desire for revenge. Such were my feelings after the brutal murder of our eldest son. My book, I Choose to Forgive: Expanded Edition, tells my journey from despair to freedom and the healing that came through obedience to the command to forgive the murderer. The Expanded Edition also offers the journeys of my husband (who went from hatred and a desire to take revenge to complete freedom); our daughter (from fear to freedom); and the murderer’s journey from guilt to the freedom of salvation. In the earlier edition of this book I wrote:

Ultimately God demonstrated his love for me with the command to forgive my son’s murderer. Because of his love, he wanted me to thrive again, not merely to survive the deep grief. His design was for me to live in freedom and joy; the one possibility of that happening was for me to forgive without reservation. . .  “Acts of forgiveness” or actively seeking to “bless” the person who has hurt us is God’s method of releasing his blessings of freedom, wholeness, and joy in our lives. It breaks the power of the Enemy in our lives, a power we invite through hatred, anger, and resentment. The command to bless those who offend or persecute us (I Peter 3:9) springs from the heart of a God of love.

Upon completion of the Expanded Edition of my book, I started looking for a cover painting that would accurately and powerfully express the freedom that is possible through forgiving. The publisher suggested many pieces of art that did not express the feelings of joyous freedom that I felt. I began searching through the on-line galleries of artists in my acquaintance and was overwhelmed with this painting by a dear friend and colleague, Eva Crawford, called Set Free. The colors were joyful and the exuberance of the bird experiencing freedom from captivity echoed the journey of my own life, as I forgave the man who killed our son. This piece of art perfectly embodied the message of my book.

The artist graciously allowed me to use her painting and, later, my husband and I were able to purchase this beautiful piece of art. It is a continual reminder of the freedom offered by God through Christ and through obedience to his commandments.


Eva Crawford: Set Free, acrylic. 30” x 30”. Privately owned.

Book Cover I Choose to Forgive: Expanded Edition, published by Cascade Books, 2018.

Eva Crawford is originally from and currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. She earned her BFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in painting and printmaking. She has worked as a furniture designer, freelance artist and Director of Visual Arts at Charlotte Christian School. Since stepping out as a full-time artist last year she has been an ArtPop Street Gallery Class of 2018 winner and a two-time Honorable Mention winner in the Oakton Foundation Visual Arts Competition. She has received a Creative Mornings HUG Grant for her S E E N Series.

Dianne B. Collard is a missionary, a creative catalyst in the arts and faith movement, as well as a writer and international speaker. She serves as the founding director of ArtsCharlotte and is the Director of European Ministries for Artists in Christian Testimony. Her book I Choose to Forgive: Expanded Edition has recently been published. Dianne has her M.A. in Intercultural Studies and a Doctor of Missiology from the Cook School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University (La Mirada, California, USA). She and her family now live in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A.;



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BBC interview with the artist Nicola Green: 

For more exhibitions, lectures, conferences etc. inside and outside your country, click here

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