Jim Davis has an extraordinary talent. His Inspirational Paintings showcase caregivers - firefighters, military heroes and policemen – in action under God’s protection. They hang across America in many firehouses. Widows of 9/11 have them. The President and Billy Graham each have one and so do the FBI and the Pentagon.

Over the past twenty-five years, Jim has been honored to be a part of the special group of caregivers called firefighters. A group that all too often deserves the scripture, which one of his paintings depicts: "Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

Jim gave a presentation recently at the Oaks Village luncheon in Avon Park.  Locally his paintings are on display at Firehouse Subs in Sebring, adjacent to the Highlands Today.

Born and raised in Wauchula, Jim’s family lived next door to the fire station.  He began working with the local fire station in l971.  Later he and his family moved to Winter Haven where he is now Deputy Chief at the Winter Haven Fire Department.  He has been there for 32 years.  He also worked briefly with Rescue One for the City of Orlando.

As a young man, Jim attended church and Sunday School, was baptized and joined the church. At age 50 he was re-baptized at the Faith Baptist Church in Winter Haven.  “Every day I draw for my strength from my faith,” he said.

With help from God, Jim has painted the series of inspirational Christian themes dedicated to everyday action heroes. “My family and I have always viewed the Inspirational Paintings as a visual ministry, a gift from God,” he added.  “I enjoyed sharing a portion of the proceeds and prints to various fire departments, charities and to the Lord’s work.”

What started off as a simple hobby has turned into an important part of Jim’s life. Each painting takes approximately 400 hours. “Instead of canvas I use the back side of bathroom Masonite, which is stronger, smoother, and easier to store,” he continued. “The surface is prepared with several sanded coats of Gesso finish. I still use quick drying acrylics along with inexpensive drugstore brushes. For the past few paintings, I now use an easel, so I no longer paint by leaning it up against the wall. To simplify my clean-up, I use paper plates to mix and dabble my colors. On some of the finer details, I still use a magnifying glass.”

No doubt Jim’s painting skill is a God given talent that he greatly appreciates. “Interestingly, I have never attended a painting class, also I have been blessed with exceptional vision, which is better that 20/15 at age 45,” Jim added. “And to no surprise, the superior painting occurs when I feel the closest to God.”

In planning for the future Jim hope to expand the prints into other disciplines. He has completed one in the military, and two for the police officers. He hopes to include nursing, and the Emergency Medical Services.

“These prints now adorn fire stations throughout the world,” Jim concluded. “Many have used them as a direction of comfort during a difficult time. As always, I pray that each lithograph will touch a life in a positive way and that they will help people to be mindful of what is really ‘important.’”

For more information, contact Jim Davis at 877-832-4242 (Toll Free) or 863-781-2768.  Write to him at 171 N. 4th Ave., Wauchula, FL 33873-2709.
Note: This was my final article for the Highlands Today, Sebring, FL.  I am grateful to the editor for allowing me to share my weekly “Perceptions” columns and occasional feature articles during this past year.