Artist bio

I am always surprised at what God has up His sleeve! He has quite a sense of humor. I never envisioned myself to be at this point in my life and actually find it rather absurd. Early on, one of my college art professors, a color theorist, had a strong influence on my work. My mind stirs with colors used by masters such as Matisse and Van Gogh. I developed a healthy respect for color and it is the primary expression in my work. After college, I left creating art on the back burner as I raised a family, went to work, and as I like to say, let "life" happen. Professionally, I helped manage an art gallery specializing in 18th and 19th century European art. I loved continuing to see and learn about fine art as I worked. Then, a funny thing happened. My relationship with the Lord intensified, and He put me on a ministry path. For 20 years I was a personal life coach working with the broken and disadvantaged. I helped people write their personal mission statements and walk out their God-given purposes. Nothing I felt qualified to do, but the Lord was gracious and led me through it. Then, another funny thing happened. I started seeing my pastor's teachings on Paleo Hebrew pictographs in Technicolor in my mind. I sat in the pew for weeks before I finally said, “OK Lord, you must want me to do something with this.” I took the path of least resistance and opened a pack of pastels. Although I had never used pastels before, I thought they would be a quick, easy, and cheap way to test out the images. But, as you may have guessed, it was a “God” thing for me. God was changing my path. That was five years ago, and since then I have completed over 50 pieces in this genre in a variety of mediums. Drawing on my own coaching experience, I wrote a new personal mission statement: To influence people in their faith by sharing spiritual concepts in creative and irresistible ways. The Paleo Hebrew pictographs provide the vehicle for me to share new spiritual ideas. Never in my wildest dreams would this have been the direction I would have chosen. It hasn’t been easy because very few people are aware of the Paleo Hebrew pictograph language. It’s hard to explain what reading Scripture from the Paleo Hebrew perspective does. Here in New Orleans one of our famous chefs has a catch phrase he uses when he spices up a dish…”BAM, kick it up a notch!!” I know it’s funny, but that is exactly what the Paleo Hebrew does for my understanding of the Word of God. So, I invite you to view the messages in my art with the idea of BAM, kick it up a notch!


"Battle Ready"


Mixed Media

Artist Statement

I call my art “Hebrew Word Pictures.” I take a word from one of the earliest languages known to man, Paleo (Ancient) Hebrew, and create a “word picture.” The language is pictographic in nature and dates back 4,000 years. While it appears quite simple, it is actually very sophisticated. The words I use from the Bible take on deeper meanings when viewed from the culture of the ancient language.

People respond to my “word art” immediately through the colors and composition. But it is more than just “art for art’s sake.” Our Creator was the original “Color Master,” and I often ask Him what colors He would use to illustrate a word. As I enlighten the viewers to the ancient meaning of the word, they connect the art to the spiritual concept. It is surprising that people often comment about seeing things pertinent to the word in the art before they actually know the real meaning.

As I explored spiritual warfare as found in Ephesians 6:10-20, I realized that I could use recognizable images to illustrate the Armor of God. I have intertwined the letters, forming them into images, to depict the armor so that the viewer can have an immediate visual understanding of what is being portrayed. It is my desire that my art captures viewers to the extent that they will go deeper and examine the ancient meaning of the word.

Here is a quick Paleo Hebrew lesson. Each of the 22 letters of the aleph-beyt was a picture with a meaning in the ancient Hebrew culture. When the letters and their associated meanings are combined, words are not only created, but also defined. As the Bible was translated into numerous languages the cultural nuances diminished or disappeared.

Pictographic expression clarifies the spiritual essence of the armor in its natural form. For example, consider the Helmet of Salvation. The Hebrew word for “salvation” is “Yeshua.” We call Him Jesus today! The first Hebrew letter making up the top of the helmet is a “hey.” This is a picture of a man waving his hands to get attention (see upper left of the helmet). The “ayin” is an eye meaning to see. The mouth guard at the bottom of the helmet is a “yud” or hand. It leads up to the “shin” represented by two teeth meaning to separate or save. And last, the “vav” is a nail. Simply put, these letters combine to mean, “Behold, see how a hand will save or separate by a nail.” Amazing! This is exactly what Jesus did when He died on the cross for us. We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and His characteristics are a protective cover. The Old Testament also displays Yeshua as protecting our head. “O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou has covered my head in the day of battle.” Psalm 140:7 (KJV)

View the remaining pieces of armor looking for clues of deeper meanings. If the Spirit is pressing you to know more, see additional explanation at

How it fits into contest

We are in a war we cannot ignore! With an enemy we cannot see! The spiritual battle in the heavenlies requires specialized weapons and protection to be “Battle Ready.” In Ephesians 6:10-20 we see a natural picture of armor that is a spiritual concept we can use to take our stand against “the wiles of the devil.”

In boot camp, soldiers train to wield weapons and to become confident in their armor. In the same way, the Lord’s Army should be fully operational with the issued battle gear. March with me to “gear up.” Your equipment guide will be in Paleo (Ancient) Hebrew!

First, put on the HELMET OF SALVATION (Yeshua). The Hebrew word for “salvation” is “Yeshua,” who we call Jesus! Simply put, the ancient letters combine to mean, “Behold, see how a hand will save or separate by a nail.” Our salvation changes and protects our thinking. Through the “mind of Christ” we take every thought captive. We should think on those things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, things that are of good report, and things praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8)

The BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (Tsedek) is critical to protect the heart. “Right standing with God” is the normal explanation for righteousness. But, the ancient understanding was “seeking a journey that follows God.” It is the seeking that protects and powers the heart to pump strong.

The BELT OF TRUTH (Emet) from the ancient viewpoint carries the connotation of “nurturing the covenant.” When we agree with God’s views, we become firmly established in our purpose.

The ancient understanding of the word “peace," or “shalom” in Hebrew, was not a negotiated compromise. It meant “destroy the authority that establishes chaos.” SHOES OF PEACE indicate that we need to be walking or pursuing; and if we do the walking, the Lord will destroy the chaos ahead of us.

Taking up the SHIELD OF FAITH (Emunah) is more than believing. It involves the actions of our life that reveal our relationship with the life giver! When our actions come into agreement with the Lord, the enemy’s weapons cannot penetrate the shield.

The only offensive weapon is the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the WORD OF GOD (Debar). Words, in the ancient thought process, had substance. Pictographic expressions illustrated natural lessons of order for life. The Word of God makes the enemy back down. The more a person is in command of the Word, the more effective soldier he will be.

I encourage you to put on the whole Armor of God! Fight the good fight!


I completed the art work entirely myself.

Concepts have been evaluated for biblical accuracy by Pastor Jim Woodard who has studied and taught Paleo Hebrew as well as written books connecting the ancient Hebrew thought process to various biblical topics.

The Paleo Hebrew letters have been proofed for accuracy by Moshe Ozery, a Hebrew native, who studied Jewish History and Biblical History at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is also the jeweler who crafts my Paleo Hebrew jewelry designs.

Trent Clinesmith, my husband, is an encourager extraordinaire. He also is the “tech man” responsible for photos as well as designing and maintaining the website.

How to Purchase this Artwork

Technically this original work entitled, “Battle Ready,” would be called a hexaptych. That’s a very big word and I prefer to call it a grouping. It is composed of six works of varying sizes depicting the Armor of God represented by Paleo Hebrew letters. All are mixed media (acrylic topped by oil pastels) on paper, double matted, and framed in matching brushed silver frames.

Outer dimensions of each framed piece.
Helmet of Salvation 20 x 16 inches
Breastplate of Righteousness 13 x 16 inches
Belt of Truth 14 x 14 inches
Shoes of Peace 18 x 12 inches
Shield of Faith 14 x 14 inches
Sword of the Spirit, The Word 18 x 12 inches

$2,500 plus shipping

Purchase on website or contact Marla Jean Clinesmith directly via email for more information or special print orders.

Other Goods & Services Available from this Artist

See website for original art, prints, jewelry, and books focusing on Paleo Hebrew.

Hebrew Word Pics also offers a variety of topics that can be presented in seminar format to go deeper into God’s Word through the Paleo Hebrew.

Contact to request further information or have a study designed with a particular group in mind.

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