Nana's Girl

"Nana's Girl" - 12"x16" (oil on board). - SOLD -

This may go in the Kalispel, Montana Hockaday Museum member's salon later this month. I love late-sunset color and had fun with this piece, inspired by Impressionists (of course) as well as by the two lovely subjects of the painting: my mother-in-law (Deb), and daughter (Ember). I hope this communicates something of the bond between parents and children, as well as grandparents and grandchildren. It is not comprehensible to anyone who has not experienced it. It is, as a wise man recently taught, the epitome and "source of human happiness."

As may be apparent to those of you who have tried fabricating such a scene, I caught a NON-fabricated, completely candid moment! I only rearranged minor elements in the composition, such as replacing a strewn grill cover on the deck for a flowerpot: almost everything else was really just "as is" - amazing.

Isn't it ironic how sometimes you search far and wide for something that has been, as it were, right in your backyard all along?

Forever is Now (Marriage for Eternity)

"Forever is Now (Marriage for Eternity)" - 24"x36" (oil on canvas). Available
This piece, the largest I've done for Church Magazines, was based, with permission, on a picture taken by a professional photographer in the Philippines. I inserted my own reference for the sky, and altered some other compositional elements. I worked on the painting with the idea that "This will be my statement on the blessings of Eternal Marriage." Ironically, I had no idea until after I'd finished and posted the work on Facebook, that only hours earlier the Supreme Court had legalized same-sex marriage. That of course deepened the meaning of the image significantly. For any interested I'll explain here my simple position on the controversial topic.

While I respect homosexual couples who are honestly trying their best to do what they feel is right, I am still opposed to the legislation, and in particular to the harsh and intolerant activists who have sued cake decorators and churches for not supporting their lifestyle choice. Tolerance should go both ways. Since it hasn't yet, I am deeply concerned about the negative implications for churches, schools, and children. I do believe God is in control of the ultimate outcome, however. This is a time for likeminded Christians to unite.

Ultimately, we support the Supreme Creator's never-repealed ruling on marriage, as portrayed in this painting. May He bless those of us who are for traditional marriage to endure the storms coming, by both standing firm for principle and at the same time showing deference and respect to those who differ in opinion from ours. God grant them to do the same for those of us who advocate for God's revealed stance on the matter.

Moroni's Three

"Hark Ye Nations" - 5"x7" (oil on board) SOLD

"Golden Glory" - 5"x7" (oil on board) SOLD

"Morning Beacon" - 5"x7" (oil on board) SOLD
These paintings were inspired by an earlier work, and were lots of fun to complete (impressionistic color thrills me every time; I don't ever tire of painting prismatic sky). As in the last piece, I am including the bible verse at the bottom, Revelation 14:6-7, upon which the sculpture and paintings are based. I love Moroni's implied visual messages, different for each person and circumstance: a wake up call, a victory shout, a heralding welcome, a signal to rise.

Every Trial Can Bring Greater Faith

14"x17" (oil on board).  Inquire/Purchase
This painting illustrates a story that will appear in I believe the March 2015 Ensign/Liahona about an Italian woman named Giorgia who experiences a feeling of faith and hope after losing her father. I enjoyed the warmth of the colors and the simple composition. I hope the emotion of faith and hope shines through as well. Enjoy and let me know if you're interested in the original.

Siope's Awakening - Jan 2015 Liahona Magazine

*9"x17" (oil on canvas). - SOLD -

This illustration will come out in the January 2015 Ensign/Liahona magazines. I love the story behind this piece, but I also really loved playing with paint. The story is of a Tongan man who, in a spiritually lost state, catches a glimpse of some truly happy people in a Tongan LDS chapel. He later joins the Church, changes his life, and finds his own happiness. I tried to create a color harmony and looseness that would evoke more of a mood than simply slapping paint on and rushing things to get the "job done". Sometimes I think the only difference between good illustration and great fine art is the feeling, mood, and motive behind the piece. My motive here was more than communicating a story or emotion, it was making something moving and beautiful. Many thanks to the Hamblins, as well as Siope and his family, for actually recreating this scene in Tonga then sending me pictures to work from in the most authentic way possible (that is, next to painting them from life myself...whcih would've been great too, but my compensation did not include a vacation to Tonga in this case).

To the Source

9"x24" (oil on board) - SOLD -

We have spent the last few days at Jewel Basin, a beautiful trailhead east of Kalispell, Montana - and been awestruck by the green, lush beauty of the Flathead National Forest. I painted this stream en plein air over the course of two midday sittings (er - "standings"). Fourteen bears splashed down the stream after a large swordfish towards me, but I warded them off with a palette knife and cadmium red pigment. That's not totally accurate - they were bees, horseflies, and mosquitos. And I never did ward them off. But they helped me finish a little more quickly.

Getting back to the point of my painting, as described in its title. A big problem in today's complicated world of network media, on the one hand, and bloggers like me, on the other, is that people don't always go to the source of a matter. I may quote you as saying you hate the Yankees baseball team, when what you really said - on your blog - is that you were miffed by a man with a Yankees cap who tried to mug you last week. You see, there are hundreds of hot topics today that people don't get to the heart of the matter on, either because they don't know where to find it, or because they don't take the time to find it.

In art and as an artist, painting from life, or "en plein air", as often as possible, is one way of going to the source. 

Patriarchal Gift

*22"x28" (oil on canvas). - SOLD -
Perhaps the greatest blessing of art is its ability to help people see, and remember, beauty and truth. This commission represents a captured glimpse my client had of what she thought her family in heaven will look like. I enjoyed the challenge of the subject and delved into more drybrush and textural effects to capture the heavenly look of glimmering light.

Emma's Father

9"x12" - Oil on board - SOLD

This portrait was commissioned by some great neighbors to family in Montana. I was able to keep the paint feeling a little more fresh and loose, and included some drybrush effects. I tried to match this paint flavor to the beautifully rugged nature of Montana, this man's (and my wife's) native state. I love Montanan's. We'll be here for just over a month, either with family or on a campsite.

Old Testament Women Portraits: Esther, Ruth and Naomi, Widow at Zarephath

These paintings will appear in the Ensign magazine, September 2014. They are a continuation of the series I completed for the Ensign earlier this year.

12"x12" (oil on board).  - SOLD -
Widow of Zarephath: "And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days." 1 Kings 17:12-15

12"x12" (oil on board).  SOLD -
Ruth & Naomi:  "And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." Ruth 1:15-17

12"x12" (oil on board).  - SOLD -
Esther: "Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish." Esther 4:13-16

Have Ye Any Meat? (John 21:5)

9"x24" (oil on board). - SOLD -

This painting was commissioned by Ben Behunin, whose art, home, humor, books, and character I have really come to admire.

The question and title of this painting is the first thing the Savior says to His once-proselyting, now seemingly retiring disciples: Have ye any meat? They don't, by the way - after a long night of fishing - and this question leads them through quite a poignant and powerful process of tender rebuke from the resurrected Lord.

You can read more about the narrative of this piece in John 21, a marvelous address by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, or my previous post (the painting of which inspired this commission in the first place). In short, here are Peter, James, John, and another handful of disciples. Having been with Jesus through His ministry, present at His trial and death, and witnesses to His glorious resurrection, they have now ironically forsaken Him for what? For fishing. The purpose of this visit is, therefore, essentially a loving rebuke. His means of doing so, however, is so instructive. He asks them a question, the answer to which emphasizes their weakness and need. He then fills their need and nets to overflowing. They drag the miracle fish to shore, and He feeds them cooked fish and bread. Only then - after all of that tender preparation - will come the rebuke to Peter (another questions about fish). To this disciple and all of us comes that searing question: "Lovest thou me more than these? ... Feed my lambs...Feed my sheep."

When I labor through long nights without getting what I think I want, I often end up re-learning what I think the Lord was teaching Peter - that life is not merely a matter of productivity, but a question of priorities. Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. ...Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life (2 Nephi 9:51, John 6:27).

Liahona Magazine: Grace

9"x12", Oil on board - Available
 We are all entitled to the grace of God. Children are often our greatest examples of seeking and accepting this grace, including through prayer. This article, to appear in the August issue of the Liahona this year, is a short and simple story of this principle. I can say with certainty that when my instinct during times of trial has been to pray, the comfort comes so much faster than when my instinct has been to complain, or just show more grit alone.

Recent Head Studies

I've neglected to post some head studies I've completed from live models here at BYU-Idaho in the last while. Enjoy :)

 "Jarom (Study)" - Oil on board - 9"x12" - SOLD -

"April (Study)" - Oil on board - 9"x12" - Inquire/Purchase
"Natasha (Study)" - Oil on board - 9"x12" - Inquire/Purchase
"Jade (Study)" - Oil on board - 9"x12" - Inquire/Purchase
 "Megan (Study)" - Oil on board - 9"x12" - Inquire/Purchase

Old Testament Women Portraits: Eve, Rebekah, Deborah

These paintings will appear in the Ensign March 2014. I look forward to the text accompanying their portraits there, along with 3 other amazing women.

There is too much to write at the current time regarding these three amazing women from the Old Testament. I will provide only one verse for each of them that gives a "teaser" sort of glimpse into their inestimable character, integrity, and values. Some give only partial insight, but I hope you will take time to follow the links and learn more about their context, meaning, and application.

I wonder from these limited accounts, what more we will one day learn about the remarkable women of the scriptural past.

Eve: "And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient." Moses 5:11
12"x12" (oil on board). Inquire/Purchase

Rebekah:  "And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go." Genesis 24:58
12"x12" (oil on board). - SOLD -

Deborah: "And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?" (Judges 4:4)
12"x12" (oil on board). - SOLD -

Trump of God

5"x7" (oil on board). - SOLD -

The last days: perilous times! But they are not to last forever. We read:

"All things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.
"And angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice, sounding the trump of God, saying: Prepare ye, prepare ye, O inhabitants of the earth; for the judgment of our God is come. Behold, and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him." (D&C 88:91-92)

These golden angelic statues of Moroni, atop the temples dotted throughout the earth are, to me, glorious symbols of the coming days in which "He shall reign, whose right it is to reign, and shall subdue all enemies under his feet." (D&C 58:22)

The scripture at the bottom of the painting, Revelation 14:6, describes this as well.

On an artistic note, this painting was completed upside down, with upside down photo reference. It's good for perception and Right-Brain drawing and proportional skills.

Rise in Fall (Provo Temple)

5"x7" (oil on board).  - SOLD -

I liked the concept of this view. A temple, the epitome of "RISE" amid the backdrop of a landscape of red and orange leaves, the epitome of "FALL". I love the temple and how the truths therein - truths about our Father's Plan for us, and about redemption through Jesus Christ - lift us up above the fall.