Wilderness to Water

Tom Graffagnino’s haunting charcoal drawings and his richly textured photographs illustrate his journey through the stark wilderness of grief to the replenishing hope found at the water’s edge. Tom’s inspirational writing has the power to both comfort and challenge. A native of Georgia, Tom is a husband, father, and grandfather. He and his wife, Jane, live in Canton, Georgia near Atlanta.

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Wilderness to Water is a fully colored art book featuring Tom's original works of art and writings. The artist/author has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States, including New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Atlanta. With the publication of this art book, he makes his creations available to more people.

Wilderness to Water was inspired by transformative episodes in Graffagnino’s life and faith, one of which was the passing of his wife of 36 years, Ann. Graffagnino shares that he experienced the magnitude of God’s grace and faithfulness during this time of pain and adversity. This collection gives voice to the fear and doubt that are almost inevitable in moments of tragedy but, above all, they shine with the powerful message that God’s love and grace never wavers. Graffagnino hopes that others will also discover the same light that he experienced.

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Sample Excerpt

Take us to the water’s edge, Lord,
Place us there on bended knee;
There clear up the muddied waters...
Help us seek You honestly.
Lord, in quiet, calm reflection...
Living Water, have your say;
Plant the seed of faith within us,
Sweep the fog of doubt away!
On the shoreline, in your presence
There reflected in the clouds;
Lift our vision to the heavens
Even as our heads are bowed.

"My prayer is that the images, the writing, the quotations, and the scripture verses that I have chosen to present here may be an encouragement to some. I also pray that the words and the images may stir others to wonder and to honestly and prayerfully seek the One who claims to be the Life, the Truth, and the Way, the One who has revealed himself in and through the Bible and also through the awesome design and intricate beauty of nature---the endless, sensation-pleasing landscape masterpiece of his creation." (p. 6)

Praise for Wilderness to Water

"Tom Graffagnino just might be one of the most breath-taking poets and Wordsmiths I've ever seen. He pens poems and pieces that are astoundingly relevant and piercing. He's a passionate Christian and a fierce critic(wonderfully fierce) of the liberal, politically-correct cancer that is metastasizing throughout mainstream denominations and United Methodism in particular...."
Dr. Peter Harrington

“The mixture of poignant, deep thoughts and devotional ideas has always been one of Tom’s quite apparent strengths. This book of words, drawings, and photos brings the reader along through the wilderness of losing a spouse and the religious doubts that were spawned as a result, to emerging out the other side only to bask in the glories of God, culminating in the contemplation of heaven’s splendors. I recommend this stimulating journey of introspection, from grief to eternity.”
Dr.Gary R. Habermas, research professor from the Liberty University & Theological Seminary

"I have followed Tom Graffagnino's work for a number of years, always being impressed by the beauty of his images and the originality of his thought and writing. There is always more to see beneath the surface."
Frederica Mathewes-Green, (award-winning author, national columnist, speaker)

"The gifted Tom Graffagnino uses his own images, words and poems to steer us along the path that we all need to be reminded of and to take: the path to salvation."
Tom Bethell, journalist and senior editor of "American Spectator" magazine

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"My guest is Tom Graffagnino, who is a compelling artist and author. He walks us through the experiences of grief, recovery, and God’s faithfulness using his hopeful and bright art. I look forward to his next book. You will find Tom Graffagnino an honest, intriguing guest....."


Comments & Reviews

"Now that I have had some time to read and reflect, I must recommend Tom Graffagnino's "Wilderness to Water." Through personal drawings/paintings, photography, and poetry, Tom has creatively documented his spiritual journey from the desert of doubt and depression to refreshment and rest in his Rock and Redeemer, from barrenness and brokenness to blessedness, from the "Wilderness to Water". Thank you very much Tom for artistically sharing your encouraging story of life and faith! May God spread your message of hope, especially to those who walk in heart-ache."
—G.K., (Casar, N.C.)

"This is a beautiful book. I must confess to being somewhat biased, as I have been enjoying Tom's poems and his artwork for the last year or so - but even so, I am very glad we purchased this item.

This is a large-format, slim publication, and production values are high. Good quality gloss paper, great layout and there are plenty of reproductions of Tom's artwork and photography. So, it's good on the eye, and easy to read.

The book is split essentially into two halves - 'Wilderness' is a monochrome exploration of life's tough times, explored through sketches, poems and a very thoughtful connecting narrative. Tom's own wilderness experiences clearly prompt and influence the text, but they are never pushed at the reader.

The second half ('Water') is based around colour photography but maintains the poetry and narrative structure, to focus on the ways in which God breaks into our lives, even at the lowest points, to refresh, strengthen and ultimately bring us new life. The two metaphors of wilderness and water are very apt as a description of human experience.

Having buried four close family members in one calendar year, both my wife and myself found this book to be pretty much the perfect prescription for where we find ourselves. Thank you, Tom! "
Kevin Moss, Wales, UK

"I read and beheld your book today. The confluence of drawing, photograph, Scripture, poems, and quotations refreshed and encouraged me. The book is unique."
Douglas Groothuis (author, speaker, Christian apologist)

"This book is unique and uniquely touching--on several levels. Mr. Graffagnino combines his skills in drawing, photography, and poetry with the guidance of the Bible on how to understand our days in the wilderness. Graffagnino bases this reflection on his wilderness experience which, by God's grace, gave way to the waters of refreshment."

"Wilderness to Water" unfolds its themes through an understanding of the geography of the Holy Land, of nature, and a sensitivity to human pain and joy based on personal experience and devotion to God. I recommend it to weary souls longing for the living water.

"Many will find the book remarkable simply because of its mysteriously beautiful color photographs of water. I have never seen anything like them. Neither have you."
Douglas Groothuis (Professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary, author of Truth Decay (2000) and Christian Apologetics (2011), and many others)

"Mr. Graffagnino's writings are a very poignant look into the loss of his wife and the grief that ensued. He takes you through the questioning of his faith in his darkest hours to his reemergence from the desert of his pain. His profound thoughts reflected in his eloquent words, drawings and photographs will touch your heart. This is a must read for anyone suffering in grief and questioning God's will."
(submitted to Amazon review by "SpecialK", January 3, 2015)

"My guest is Tom Graffagnino, who is a compelling artist and author. He walks us through the experiences of grief, recovery, and God’s faithfulness using his hopeful and bright art. I look forward to his next book. You will find Tom Graffagnino an honest, intriguing guest....."

["As]...I finished your book "Wilderness to Water" [I] was so impressed and so grateful that I discovered it! As I read, I felt tearful, self-searching, and soul-touched. I was so moved by your narrative as well as your renderings and photographs. I plan to purchase this book for my special friends for Christmas. I cannot think of a more precious gift for them. (And I would bet that you THINK in poetry and prose!!)"
recent review/ comment

" It is a most beautiful and moving book -- I recommend it highly."
Tim McGrew (Philosophy Dept. Chair, Western Michigan University and director of The Library of Historical Apologetics)..

"Wilderness to Water" by Tom Graffagnino is a beautifully crafted publication. Its pages contain stunning photography, exquisite charcoal drawings, with accompaniment of poetry, prose and biblical history. It is a book you will want to have for quiet reflection and one that you can open at any given point and be enriched!"
C.P. D., Woodland Hills, California

"This book is unique and special. Tom Graffagnino has what scripture describes as a "circumcised heart", it seems to me, and that comes through in his poetry. Somebody close to me lost a family member recently, and although it's virtually impossible to take away that pain, I bought them this book in the hope it would take the edge off of it. Mr. Graffagnino's insight and sincerity are very real, and very deep."
Steve.J.Williams. (Amazon review page)

"Scattered out there in the world there are gifted poets, gifted artists, and gifted photographers. But these gifts are rarely given to the same person. Tom Graffagnino has them all, and in this extraordinary and moving book, born of deep personal suffering, he brings them together in a way that few people could. For anyone whose life has been touched with faith, pain, and the barren wilderness of doubt, this book is like the scent of water. Read it -- and discover that you are not alone."
Dr. Tim McGrew, Philosophy Dept. Chair, Western Michigan University and director of The Library of Historical Apologetics)

"When I received "Wilderness to Water," I began looking through it and reading, but quickly realized that Tom Graffagnino's pictures and words were the path of my grief. Although I could not deny envy that he had his Ann for much longer than the Lord gave me with G**, the price of his loss-and my own-were on the pages. Yet, as his wilderness has led to the new life of water, so has mine. Pain has led to peace. I thank Tom for describing, through art and words, the journey of grief. I can now savor this book and think of friends who also need its message."
P.B., Mesa, AZ

"No one ever wants to be in the wilderness, where pain awaits. Yet even in the desert, our Lord refines us to bring us forth as pure gold. In his book, “Wilderness to Water, Tom brings us along on his journey of pain and despair. We watch as his drawings of inner grieving give way to photographs of triumph over doubts which lead him to question his faith. A gifted poet and artist, Tom demonstrates that the genuineness of his faith, though it is tested by fire, was found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:7). Come journey with him and discover the mysteries of God.”
A.H., (Charlotte, N.C)