The Painting

(15 customer reviews)


We start our lives as a blank canvas.   It’s our diverse experiences that add color and definition to our painting.

Gerald’s world was often harsh and challenging.  Feelings of loneliness and isolation were normal for him. The people in his life didn’t understand him and as a result, often ignored him, or refused to make time for him.  However, the nature that surrounded Gerald inspired the most sympathetic and caring young child you could ever know.

It was Gerald’s love of the world’s creatures and all of its beauty that enabled the magic of his painting to come to life.  The personal growth and the steps Gerald took to protect his creation is what truly made him exceptional.




Discussion Notes:

This book tends to yank out emotions long ago suppressed and incite conversations and deep thoughts long after it has been closed. To assist in engaging in discussion whether book clubs, youth groups or even bible studies, the author has put together an extensive list of thought-provoking questions to keep the conversation active.

Sample Questions:

  1. What was the significance of the inchworm scene? Explain how the situation made Gerald reflect attributes of God.
  2. What biblical location is the painting most closely related to?
  3. List a few things Tiffany did to show Gerald friendship? How can you work some of those tasks into your own life?
  4. What was it that Gerald wanted most from the viewers of his painting? How is that similar to God’s desires?
  5. When Gerald doused the flames with the bucket of water, what  Bible story did this symbolize?


Short Excerpt:

Gerald realized his father couldn’t see the painting the way he did. He knew his father was only seeing the paint on the canvas and he wanted nothing more than to share the magic of his world with with his dad. He took his father’s hand into his.

“Dad, I want you truly experience it.”

Gerald’s dad turned to face his son who was smiling. Gerald stared at the painting, closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. His smile broadened as a gust of wind blew the hair on his head. Startled as to where the wind had come from in a room with no windows, his dad turned his gaze back to the painting. He looked upon it and watched as it came to life.

The tree branches were swaying in the wind. Birds started soaring across the sky and dolphins leapt out of the ocean waters. He could smell the salty air, the flowers in bloom. He could feel the temperature cool and then he heard the repetitive caw of a peacock’s cry.

His mouth opened as more individual sounds rushed to his ears. A jungle of acoustics and smells flooded his senses, and he felt the world call to him.

He released Gerald’s hand and walked closer to the painting. It was a massive canvas, he knew, but once it was painted it seemed even larger than he could comprehend. The closer he walked, the more he was immersed into the world. It sucked him in as if he was standing inside the piece. He looked all around. It was as if nothing else existed outside of this world.

Additional information

Weight .8 lbs
Dimensions 5.5 × 8.5 in

No, Yes

15 reviews for The Painting

  1. ebookguy

    “The Painting” is a work of art in itself. Gifted author Kathleen Shields, paints a colorful canvas of words in this creative and magical story. I enjoyed relating to the characters, they captured my attention throughout the book. The added dimension of Gerald’s painting sparked my imagination into a dream escape, making the story come alive. Much to my delight, that wasn’t the end of the story. I encourage you to find out what’s missing in Gerald’s perfect painting too. It may shine some light into your own life. I highly recommend this book and I’m looking forward to “The Painting 2,” the next book!

  2. Helen

    I was very impressed. This book is well written and quite thought provoking. I look forward to reading it a second time so I can slowly digest the depth of the story.

  3. Kate D

    This story will find a familiar path in most any of it’s readers. We all can recognize how Gerald sometimes views humanity. Be it on a small personal level from our childhood, or a day to day perspective of strangers we mingle with. Throughout it one can find nuances that give us insight as to how our actions can affect the world around us in ways we don’t ever stop to think about.

    But God does.

    A unique view point indeed!
    Definitely worth the read.

  4. Jo Landers

    This book kept calling me back to it. Every time I had to put it down to do something around the house, answer the phone, laundry, cook dinner, it kept calling to me. I went back to it every chance I could. What an inspirational story!

  5. Jan Booth

    Award-winning children’s author Kathleen Shields’ first book for younger and older adults is a triumph! What a refreshing delight to read God’s perspective from a child’s eyes! The book is a beautiful metaphor which will enhance readers’ spiritual growth and lead to a great deal of discussion about parallels in scripture. I can’t wait for the continuation of the story in The Painting 2!

  6. Ken R

    The Painting is an inspirational tale of a young boy who overcomes feelings of immense loneliness and isolation through his painting of the beauty of God’s creatures here on earth. Through he had no formal training as an artist, his creation on canvas was so remarkable that many others were drawn in by it’s magical quality. It speaks to the blank canvas to which we are all born with and how we ultimately will paint our own. I wholeheartedly recommend this thought-provoking book by Kathleen Shields.

  7. Linda J.

    The book “The Painting” is a soul searching book that makes you think about your faith. It is a warm, well thought out and a sensitive book that makes you take a look at yourself in many ways! Love it!

  8. Mary

    I just finished The Painting, and I have to tell you that the story is lovely. When everyone went into the painting and Gerald couldn’t stop them, it reminded me of an incident I had as a duty aide on a playground.

    It was in Arizona, and there was a baby lizard that the kids kept following around. I yelled at them to leave it alone, but they wouldn’t listen, and they didn’t stop. It was a mob of 6 and 7 year olds. Finally, they chased it into a cranny of a building, but the cranny wasn’t big enough for it to fit all the way in. The lizard died, and the kids didn’t seem to understand that it was their fault. They didn’t mean to do it any harm.

    They were children excited about God’s creation, but they were so excited that they destroyed it without understanding what they were doing.

  9. Angel

    I’ve just finished reading The Painting by Kathleen Shields. I think it is a great book with a story so moving that anyone could benefit from reading it.
    i really enjoyed how the journey created the destination. Alot of times writers focus only on the place they want to be and forget about how relevant and needed the journey is. Outta this world literally. I highly suggest it to anyone.

  10. Mrs Piddles

    Such an awesome analogy of creation. Such a beautiful and inspiring book. How well can I relate to this young man, so full of love and yet so mistreated and misunderstood by others. But Gerald never loses sight of who he is deep inside. He never loses the love he feels. And he eventually even learns how to forgive. The story draws the reader into a world full of turmoil, and Kathleen’s beautiful writing carries you from despair to wonder, and finally to hope and victory. I can’t wait to read The Painting, 2.

  11. Reading Teacher

    The surface story tells of a boy who struggles to fit in and has trouble seeing the good in people. This is a lovely story of many levels. The surface story tells of a boy who struggles to fit in and has trouble seeing the good in people. At its deeper levels, there are messages about God’s creation and how humanity treats it. This book is an easy read, but it makes one think about how we interact with each other and the world we are in.

  12. Five Stars

    This is a wonderful read for all ages! Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  13. Peggy Marceaux

    Kathleen Shield’s introduction to The Painting is a kaleidoscope of beautiful paint in all of its colors, textures, mediums and values folded into her book’s canvas as metaphors, representing life’s joys and sadness, as well as options life either affords or denies. From the outset we meet Gerald Oliver DeLaney, the loneliest child you can ever imagine, and one who suffers terrible abuse by his peers. Thankfully, his parents love him and show kindness, but encourage him to deal with his life outside the house by working through the bullying. Instead, he spends his time on the way to and back from school engaged in watching the beauty of, and offering his kindness to, nature, such as helping a worm cross a cavernous deck crack, or trying to save a tadpole the mean boys submerge to its death, and replanting sprouts the same boys crush deep into the soil. Gerald decides all humans but his parents are unkind and completely disengages from them. We wonder, what will happen to Gerald? Can he be saved from that cruel, lonely world of his? That’s when his father finally intervenes, but not by accosting the bullies. No, he buys Gerald a huge painting canvas and palette to paint his own world. Gerald is ecstatic. He paints dark shades because he knows that shade all too well, then his dad encourages him to balance it with light. When he does the artist in hm comes alive, and he fills his canvas with every color imaginable and with all natures creatures “great and small’ (James Herriot). From this point on, the book is imbued with biblical allusions. Essentially, Gerald creates Eden without Adam and Eve, His work can magically come alive when he lets his dad walk near the painting. His amazed father has him initial his work with his G. in the lower right corner, and Gerald says contently, “This is good,” which harkens back to God’s words in Genesis. Gerald finally finds a friend in a young girl new to the school named Tiffany. She defeats his skepticism by remaining kind and trustworthy. Unfortunately, she convinces him to let some people see the painting in the greenhouse he’s built. That works well until the whole town hears about it, rushes the greenhouse and destroys the painting by causing a huge flood, another biblical reference. God and Gerald win out, though, because Tiffany further inspires him to rebuild and repaint, which he does in cosmic proportions, peoples his creation this time by painting an image and likeness of himself and an image and like of Tiffany, Adam and Eve, perhaps, to as caregivers, in a creation devoid of evil serpents. Gerald decides his creation belongs in the galaxies, in space where it will remain forever unharmed and pure. He finally claims it as his by painting his initials in the lower right corner: G.O.D.

  14. Kristen Grady

    The Painting was a great read and I highly recommend it. Kathleen does an incredible job of drawing you into the world of Gerald Oliver Delaney. Gerald is a quiet, sensitive and lonely boy who is having a hard time making sense of the complex and often cruel world we live in. Through the medium of paint, and with the help of his true friend Tiffany, Gerald learns about trust and vulnerability. He not only experiences the sadness and darkness of life, but also how beautiful and fulfilling relationships can be. Kathleen uses biblical allusions and brilliant imagery to create not only a world that we can all relate to at times, but also a world we all long to inhabit. Gerald’s masterpiece teaches us that life is not always easy or happy or “good”, but if we keep searching we will find that goodness and love are everywhere: in nature, in each other and in ourselves.

  15. Diana G

    I have never enjoyed reading a book as much as I did the 1st one in the Trilogy. Never did I ever realize where it was heading until the last two or three chapters. Goose pimples the last two chapters. Can hardly wait to get to the next one. Didn’t pay any attention what his initials were until he mentioned putting a name on the painting and the chills went up and down. You are a wonderful author. I also love the size of the print and the fact that there is a space between lines as that makes it so easy to read. Again, thank you for this book, never has one captured me like this one did. Take care and stay safe.. In case anyone is interested, the Trilogy , The Painting. The Painting 2 and The Painting 3.

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