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The Painter’s Hand

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV
About the Song

Words and music by Sally DeFord and Valarie Olson

It’s always fascinating to watch videos that show the progress of a painting from beginning to end. There are places along the way that make the non-visual-artist in me want to ask, “Are you sure?” Invariably, the artist knows better than I do.

We humans pass through those ungainly stages as well, and sometimes it makes us want to ask the Master Painter, “Are you sure?”

Though He knows what the finished painting will be, we do not. Every touch of color, even the dullest, has a purpose; each brushstroke contributes to the masterpiece. In time, with patience and faith, we begin to see what the Painter sees in each of us.

Working on this song with my dear friend Valarie was a joy and a delight. We finished just before she moved off to adventures in another state, and I’m so glad we managed it.

One note: the lyrics include the word “provenance.” Don’t confuse it with “providence.” We chose the word on purpose.

Spotify, Soundcloud (inc. free downloads)

Click the Soundcloud download icon to download the free track for personal use.

Recording featuring vocals by Heather Prusse:

Accompaniment track:

Apple Music, Amazon

These files may be copied/shared in any quantity in any physical format unless otherwise noted. They may not be re-sold or offered for download.




(Video provided to YouTube by outside parties may contain ads that may be skipped after a few seconds.)

You can download these videos here:
With vocals by Heather Prusse
Without vocals
Art by the amazing Megan Rieker.


The Painter’s hand is firm and never falters
As He shapes the living portrait of my soul
There is wisdom in each line He smooths and alters
Where I see unfinished canvas, there the Painter sees the whole

He knows the strength that grows in shadow
When I’m reaching for the light
He sees the majesty and glory beyond my mortal sight
And though I may not understand
The artistry of heaven’s plan
I will trust the Painter’s hand unceasingly
He will make a masterpiece of me

The Painter’s hand is gentle as He renders
Every stroke of living color patiently
In shades of darkest night or brightest splendor
He reveals His grand design, and shows me what I’m meant to be

(Repeat chorus)

And when I come before Him, kneeling at His feet
I marvel at His love for one so small and incomplete
Then His spirit whispers peace to me
Restores my soul and teaches me
The wonder of my provenance and worth

(Repeat chorus)

If you have questions, please check the FAQ
If you don't find your answer there, feel free to post your question here. 🙂


  1. Laney

    My husband is a United Methodist pastor and the two of us sing a good many of your songs in church together and we love the music that you write. This song speaks especially to me as I am a hobby artist (painter and muralist) and a part-time volunteer art teacher. It is such a powerful illustration of God’s hand on all of us as an artist. Sometimes when you look at a painting when it is unfinished it is confusing or if you look at it too closely and see only the mess of brush strokes you can’t understand what is going on. But when you step back and look at a finished work of art it is outstanding! God sees the whole picture!

  2. Jessa Faye Gersava

    This so wonderful song. It really moves me every time I sang it in church or even in my workplace. Thank you Sally for your compositions. God use you to compose such wonderful and inspirational songs to touch the heart of our brethren out there.

  3. Chase T. Radmall

    Thank you for such a beautiful song, Sally! I have recently become engaged to a beautiful daughter of God and since our engagement, she has been having self esteem issues and not feeling like she is good enough or beautiful enough. I play the cello and she has a wonderful voice and her grandmother wanted to get a song together for church to play and then I found this song and I shared it with her. The spirit was so strong and it was such a beautiful moment for the two of us. The words choked in my teared up face as I told her that she is one of God’s greatest masterpieces. Thank you for being so inspired!

    • Sally DeFord

      This is one of the best. comments. ever. Thank you so much! I hope you tell her how amazing she is every day of her life. Congratulations to both of you!

  4. Shane Carl Montefalcon

    Thank you, Sally and Valarie for this song. This has been a very inspirational and emotional song for me. I have been in a dark place these past few years and this song helped me through with my breakdowns. “He knows the strength that grows in shadow when I’m reaching for the light.” is a simple line yet very emotional for me. It reminds me that God do see how I’m struggling and desperate to reach the light while I’m in darkness. I hold on to this line when I’m almost giving up. Thank you for this song! I know my life is still a work in progress, a beautiful vivid image that is still painted and crafted by a magnificent painter, and that is God. Thank you!

    • Valarie Olson

      Shane Carl Montefalcon, thank you for sharing your connection to The Painter’s Hand. The Master certainly knows us and is with us every step of the way. So happy you are finding strength in the shadow. <3 Much love.

    • sallydeford

      Yes, thank you, Shane! We’re all works in progress, but the Lord knows how beautiful the outcome can be. 🙂

  5. Sharon

    Thank you…..so inspiring!

  6. Franzes Ann Baterna

    Thank so much for sharing such a great song Ms. Sally and Heather! First time I heard this song, it really catches my attention and I felt so inclined to memorize the song. It doesn’t tire me listening to this song every night. It’s really uplifting my soul and giving me hope and a reminder as well that God has great plans for us. He will make a masterpiece of us all! Praise the Lord and more blessings to you!

  7. Marlene McMullin

    When I found this song “The Painters Hand” on your email, I felt very strongly to learn this one with my voice teacher. I finally got the courage to sing it in the LDS sacrament meeting that I attend. I had many people come to me after to expess how much the music touched their hearts. I am singing it again in a recital tonight. Thanks for sharing your talents.

  8. Bianca Hilario

    This song is for my mom is coming back from The Philippines. I will be singing “The Painter’s Hand” by Sally DeFord at JFK Arrivals Ceremony and Oxford High School Live Concert.

    • Bianca Hilario

      This is the great recording of Heather Prusse’s rendition. I will be performing the song with Richie Jerome on The Piano and Brian Woodson on The Cello for this Sally DeFord song on November 21 during Oxford High School Live Concert.

      • Bianca Hilario

        Great Arrangement! This recording shows Heather Prusse sings this song for my mom is arriving from The Philippines. I have to practice the song for Oxford High School Live Concert!

  9. Lynette

    I was so touched by the lyrics of this song I listened to it over and over and just let it wash over me and in me as the Spirit ministered to my heart. I just felt loved and understood by God….or perhaps it was me understanding HIM! That it is HE that paints the “masterpiece of me” when I am feeling discouraged or feeling like I’m not measuring up. He truly does use all things for good, including our successes as well as our failures. What an encouragement to know that the “strength that grows in shadow” from each happening, thought, experience, joy, and sorrow help him paint the “masterpiece of me.”

    I looked up the definition of Provenance and was delighted to add a new word to my vocabulary! I had not heard that word before and it is the perfect word. I appreciated the note, as I thought I heard the lyric as “providence.”

    Our family lost the matriarch of the family, our beloved Granmommie, last December 2013. This was our first Easter without her so it was a difficult day, yet a comforting one, knowing she is in the presence of Jesus! Our sadness quickly turned to shock and sorrow to hear the news that our 13-yr-old grand niece had been hit by a car Easter evening while crossing the street in a crosswalk, riding her bicycle with two of her siblings. The trauma to her brain was severe and she was declared dead two days later. The family’s faith has been shaken and the young woman who hit her knows the Lord and her faith has been shaken as well. The lyrics of your song just resounded in my heart…”He knows the strength that grows in shadow” and “In shades of darkest night or brightest splendor He reveals His grand design, and shows me what I’m meant to be” Those lines really spoke to my heart. I’ll be sharing the FB post or YouTube with family to encourage them.

    Thanks so much for the download of lyrics and music. This song meant so much to me that I want someone to sing it at my Memorial Service when the time comes. I am a writer and an artist who is growing in her craft. As part of VineArts, the arts ministry of the Boise Vineyard, I’ve been able to exhibit in the themed exhibits that coincide with the quarterly expository sermon series. I’ve been excited to see a piece “morph” when the Holy Spirit creates “through” me, instead of striving to create. So the song spoke to me on a practical level as well as a spiritual level. I always like to hear when someone’s heart has been touched by something I’ve written or a piece of art I’ve created….so that is why I am writing to you. In many ways your song tells the story of my life!

    Bless both of you and I hope you co-create many more songs!
    Sincerely in Christ,
    Lynette Sali

  10. chat anacaya

    I love all your music and i love to have them on my music collection.The lyrics are so spiritually uplifting and above all the accompaniment are so heavenly that no souls can’t think of heaven.

  11. Jane L. Hildebrand

    The beauty of your music transends this mortal sphere, making me think you are really an angel composer temporarily left behind with us mortals to soothe our souls with the love of heaven. Thank you, talented one!

    • Sally DeFord

      Oh wow… how amazingly kind you are! **blushes**

  12. Connie Garner

    Oh my goodness! Words cannot express how much this song speaks to me! You have no idea how much I needed this today, this is an answer to prayer! Thank you for sharing your wonderful talents with us!

    • Sally DeFord

      Thank you Connie! It’s always wonderful to hear comments like yours!


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