Tuesday, September 29, 2020


People often ask me if I have any religious paintings. The truth is, they are all religious, they are all a form of worship for me. Even the wildest landscape will usually have strong spiritual underpinnings, not the least of which is emulating the Creator. Yes, I have paintings of temples and even a portrait of the Savior. But that doesn’t detract from the deeply spiritual meanings behind all of my paintings, often revealed or at least alluded to in their titles. For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. 

This week’s scripture reading contains the intersection of meaning and inspiration behind this painting, Encircled. Yesterday I read one of the most beautiful accounts of the Savior, witnessed by thousands, where he calls for the humblest, most vulnerable members of the multitude to be brought to him...first for those "afflicted in any way", that he might heal them, and then he calls for the children. He prays to the Father and blesses them, with language more beautiful than they had ever before heard or imagined. He blesses each child, one by one. He weeps, twice. He experiences a fulness of joy. Angels descend from heaven in a pillar of fire and encircle the children. It is clear that they are being blessed, protected, and that they are valued beyond measure. 

I began this painting as a brief sketch and a plein air painting, which I ended up calling Stream of Light. While I was standing on a bridge painting the glorious back-lit autumn leaves and the stream below, a handful of teenage girls walked into the scene. The overhanging leaves encircled them like a giant halo. I reached for my camera. I knew immediately that this would make an important painting, and I knew what its title would be. I finished my plein air painting on site, but this was a larger studio painting, based on the earlier experience. It took a little more than a year to complete. 

In the scripture story Jesus says, “Behold your little ones.” Granted, a group of teenagers wouldn’t necessarily be thought of as little ones. But which of our children most desperately need to know they are valued? Need the Savior’s protection? and blessings and love? Teenagers. Definitely.

Another favorite scripture including the word encircled is found in 2 Nephi 1:15. 
"I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” 
That is how I felt that autumn morning as I stood there taking in this scene at Sundance. The Lord’s glory was everywhere. I felt it. I felt Him. And I felt his love surround me in warmth and light. 

That is the kind of meaning behind just one of my paintings. This is an award-winner, a large, visual statement-maker. But to me it represents a spiritual experience, a couple of favorite scriptures, and being embraced by the love of the Lord. 

Encircled is September’s Painting of the Month, on sale for 20% off, framed and ready to hang, and fill your home with spirit and light.

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