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The Story

David Arms was born on a cloudy October day in 1956 in the rolling hills of East Tennessee. He was the youngest of three sons. His father was a quiet outdoorsman who raised English Setters while his mother was a homemaker keeping Dean Martin on the turntable and petunias on the porch. Growing up, he spent many of his summers and holidays with a beloved aunt who lived between nowhere and somewhere Tennessee.

David Arms, circa 1962

David had a fairly typical small town childhood – trips to Cherokee Market for a nickel handful of candy, church potlucks and an occasional dabbling in art…the soul of the painter was starting to stir. His mind’s eye was mixing the summer blues and autumn golds on an imaginary palette as he wandered back roads in the shadows of the Smoky Mountains.

After a rather ordinary high school experience, David headed west to Tennessee Tech in a faded yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Leaving short of graduation, his path eventually landed him in Nashville – the place he has called home since. It was there he was introduced to the world of special events, where he soon became known throughout the country for his designs of high profile corporate and social events. His imagination, attention to detail and ability to seemingly create “something out of nothing” resulted in numerous awards for his work.

An ordained, random event became an intersection in his life.

Having married and moved into their first home, he and his wife needed a large painting to fill a vacant wall. The artist (who had been there all along) emerged. Almost as if someone else was guiding his hands…a painting filled the canvas.

With a grand leap of faith, his hobby became his calling and his life’s work.

With his wife and two daughters close by, David spends his days in a sun drenched studio filled with bird nests, flea market treasures, black and white photographs, an African Wildebeest, Classical music, pipe tobacco, french press coffee, a curated collection of books and always, patchouli. But some days he prefers to paint in the quiet, inspired by the sparrows, wrens and chickadees living at his window. It is here that he creates images that transport you from what you see into that sometimes faraway place of what you feel and what you believe – and his wish is that the viewer look long enough to walk away with a renewed sense of hope.

Let your eyes search his paintings and may you be blessed as you find a place to rest, hope for your heart, light for the darkness…and continue on…as we stumble on…this journey together down redemption road.

– Tom Douglas, songwriter. Claire Douglas, poet.


“Nearly everything that has happened to me has happened by surprise. All the important things have happened by surprise. And whatever has been happening usually has already happened before I have had time to expect it. The world doesn’t stop because you are in love or in mourning or in need of time to think. And so when I thought I was in my story or in charge of it, I really have been only on the edge of it, carried along. Is this because we are in an eternal story that is happening partly in time?”


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