Portrait of Donald S. Fortner

Fortner Portrait
All COPYRIGHTS for this painting of DONALD S. FORTNER were gifted to and belong to him, excluding the artist’s rights for use in advertising and or promotion.  Reprints unlawful without his permission.



One of the highlights of this year was the presentation of a portrait I had the privilege of painting for one of my favorite preachers of our Lord’s Gospel: Pastor Donald S. Fortner. The painting was a gift of appreciation to him, his wife Shelby, and the members of their family.  A thank you from all of us at the Rescue Baptist Church in Rescue, California, the presentation took place in July of this year, 2013, during our annual summer Sovereign-Grace Bible Conference.  Don has been a contributing speaker for us twice annually going back nearly 30 years.  Painting the portrait of this man blessed me more than I can describe here.


The painting of Mr. Fortner was developed from four differing photographs (snap shots), with one mostly dominate.  Taking something from each photo, I struggled at a likeness in the beginning, heading back to the canvas again and again and mostly unsatisfied each time.  To my surprise, what I finally saw emerging was more Pastor Don Fortner to me than any of the four actual photographs that I worked from.  I slowly began to understand how the humanistic view begins to take over.  The man that I had come to know personally, as a friend for many years, was coming to life upon my canvas!  This amazing emergence taking place, while my reference materials (relied upon heavily in the beginning) began to diminish in importance.  Below, therefore, is a rhyme that I wrote during this amazing personal discovery.


Donald S. Fortner beside his portrait


The rhyme, “THE PORTRAIT”, written during the execution of it was read aloud at the presentation, and then presented along with the painting. An extremely memorial evening that I’m certain I will not ever forget.

By Mike Loveless   1 Sam. 16:7

An artist looks upon the outside, …
… as he seeks to render heart.
Laying down his subject’s image,
Within the limits of his art.

He searches for that inner place, …
That speaks more than he sees.
A portrait of his subject,
Searching deeper, if you please!

So the photo then, by contrast,
Though mechanical and true, …
Renders only from the surface, …
Without the humanistic view!

It then lacks the painter’s feelings, …
Absent that which is within.
Though it captures smiling moments, …
Is the portrait, … truly him?

Men look on the outside, …
As only God can see the heart, …
Though the painter may get closer,
Than a camera can impart

It’s for sure paint makes a statement,
… far beyond the shutter can.
And especially when the artist, …
… has some knowledge of the man!

And even when an artist works, …
… void of the subject posed.
Sketches rather from a photograph, …
… they’ll be more than is disclosed.

And the portrait then, thus painted, …
… even from a photograph, …
May show the liberties he’s taken, …
To that humanistic path.

But if it fails in some way, …
To be the person that you know.
Given time within your attic, …
It is guaranteed to grow!

And the family that has loved him, …
As his generations change, …
Will observe a transformation,
Seeing nothing in it strange!

What is left to them now closer,
To the image they loved so,
Will know the artist knew him, …
… even better than you know!

For man looks on the outside, …
And only God can see the heart.
But if the painter knew his subject, …
…you should see it, … in his art!


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