Artist Tom Windham of Mauriceville, right, painted “Christ the Good Shepherd” to be hung in the narthex of The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bridge City. The Johnny Greene family of Nederland commissioned him to do the painting. The painting is a symbolic representation of Windham’s vision of Jesus surrounded by flora and fauna indigenous to Israel. RECORD PHOTO: Lawrence Trimm

Jennifer Clarke  – For The Record

In March, 2014, recently merged, St. Mark and Trinity Lutheran Churches were searching for a symbol of their newly named Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Bridge City. The skill, talent, and inspiration for the painting that would soon hang in the vestibule of the church already existed in the church’s congregation.

Tom Windham, local artist, was commissioned to paint the portrait of “Christ the Good Shepherd.” The painting is a symbolic representation of Windham’s vision of Jesus surrounded by flora and fauna indigenous to Israel. The portrait dimensions are three feet by four feet on canvas in oil. The painting was commissioned by The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and donated by the family of Johnny Greene, of Nederland, in his memory.

Windham said he likes to tell a story in his paintings. He has been painting since he was a child, and he began his professional career with “American Angler Magazine.” His murals can be seen from Ohio to New Mexico in various forms in and on buildings. His paintings even hang in the homes of Jimmy Johnson and the late Governor Ann Richards. Windham’s father was an artist, and he recalls the rolls of butcher paper he had to access and create with.

“Christ the Good Shepherd” was unveiled on August 30, 2015, before the public at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Bridge City. There was a reception and video recording of the painting’s creation.

Windham shared his creative process with the public at the unveiling. He “did a rough sketch” prior to ever beginning on canvas. He then transferred the sketch from “paper to chalk on the canvas before painting.” Windham first painted the robe, the face, his staff, arms, feet and sheep. “I next painted a third sheep,” he says, before adding the faces, more sheep, the sky, flowers, additional details, and the red sash. The entire process lasted six weeks.

Windham involved his family on the project having his son-in-law, Taylor, help model for Jesus, and his daughter, Melissa, by his side. He feels his involvement in the project is a blessing. It honors the late Johnny Green. And he is proud to have it hanging in Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Bridge City.

Tom Windham’s family has been in Southeast Texas for generations. He has taught art classes for many years. He now resides in Mauriceville and teaches art. He met his fiancee while working on a mural at the Bridge City Elementary School. “We’re now engaged,” he says, “I’m a better businessman with her because she has more sense than me.” His work can be found online at www.tomwindhamproductions.com.