People tell me "Wow, you are so talented." The other day my husband mentioned that other people are intimidated by me. Hmmm. I can't see it. What I know is that I've worked really hard to learn how to be a viable artist, and I have a lot more to learn and a long way to go. What others call talent is 97% practice, and 2% talent and 1% luck according to an accomplished artist, Annie Henrie.
I do feel that being an artist is something I covenanted with my Heavenly Father to learn how to do here during my mortal life, and that if I do not follow the path he has laid out for me I would be an unfaithful and not a wise steward. I often feel intimated and frightened.
I looked up art, and talents in the Topical Guide section of my scriptures and the following scriptural references help me know that I need to keep doing what I am doing. My natural tendency is to be shy and very quiet.
2 But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against them.
3 And it shall come to pass, if they are not more faithful unto me, it shall be taken away, even that which they have.
I went to the Salt Lake City Utah Temple on Friday, and thought about how ornate and beautiful it is, and how the pioneers who built it were so poor and had to work so very hard just to have food and clothing, and yet they created one of the most beautiful buildings in the entire world. I like the following scripture as I think about them.
(intro) Artisans are inspired in building and furnishing the tabernacle...
2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: (insert your own name or the name of your favorite artist)
3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
I'm preparing to enter the 10th International Art Competition hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, through the Church History Museum. The theme is "Tell me the Stories of Jesus". Because this competition is only held every 3 years, and because I quit my steady income teaching job to embark on the adventure of being a professional artist, and because I'm choosing to paint religious subject matter this is a very important competition for me to enter. And because it is so important to me I tremble... I find my lack of faith in my abilities looming it's ugly head. Therefore, I want to document every step, including the self-doubt every artist encounters.
I've brainstormed and ran several ideas past many of my artist friends. Listening to my friend Lanise sharing her testimony in sacrament meeting one day, I began to gather my courage. Her family has a mantra "I can do hard things". I was thinking about an idea for this painting competition right when she said that, and the spirit whispered "That's the attitude you need".
The fear left and was replaced with faith, I sat up straighter, and my subject matter presented itself.
While visiting my daughter's family for Thanksgiving, I asked her, April Gailey, a professional photographer to do a photoshoot of me.
The centerpiece of the Brigham Young University Museum of Art's Sacred Gift's art exhibit, the very first painting, hung at eye level and perfectly lit, called 'Agony in the Garden' by Frans Schwartz, sent chills up my spine, and brought tears to my eyes. A great feeling of love for my savior, and his love for me penetrated my heart. It was an a very personal, individual experience. And as you view my rendition of my self portrait, hopefully capturing my emotional and spiritual response, perhaps you will relive your own experience with this reminder of the 'Agony in the Garden', an incredible piece of artwork!
Reproductions, although lovely do not capture the intensity of the colors, the bloody tears he is crying, and the intensity of the emotion on both his and the angels face. Even though LDS doctrine does not include angel wings, the paintings with the wings of the angel enveloping him in comfort, strength and love illustrates intense emotions, beyond human understanding. The Garden of Gethsemane, and the event depicted is the most important event in human history. And because of him, even I, "I can do hard things."
Words are not powerful enough to convey the visual message depicted here
I will insert my copy of the master...our master Jesus Christ, and the master painting by Frans Schwartz.
Self portrait of me looking at a painting
Because I want to capture the emotion "The Agony in the Garden' communicates, I will use this as my rough draft....my photo to guide me. Yes, I will add tears to my face.
Philipians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me..."
Saturday required a lot of self talk, the encouraging kind, as I tackled the project. My painting surface is 22x30 and is a cradled panel watercolor board. I taped up the sides. It's 2 inches deep, and the wood used to create the cradle is beautiful. If I can keep it clean I won't need to paint the edges. Then I pondered and procrastinated painting the watercolor background while I drew out the design. I used the brick lines from the above photo to create a perspective grid for my copy of the Master. I used dental floss to identify my vanishing point.
Side view of cradled panel 2 inches deep
This is the side view of my cradled panel, it's all taped up to protect the edges from my sloppiness
Dental floss perspective lines
This is how I extended the perspective lines to locate the vanishing point. Dental floss is taped to the drawing and extended to a vanishing point outside the picture plane.
Overlay laid over the drawing
Drawing in perspective
Here I have drawn the basic outline of the painting I want to include using a perspective grid. This shows the overlay of the tracing paper used to rough in the 'copy of a master' and identify placement. The camera makes it look like the print is already in perspective but it is not.
The watercolor background is very soft and neutral. It could change, but for now I think it looks like it will work.
Background for Competition
drawing being transferred to painted background
Here I am transferring the drawing to the painted background. Next I will add 3 layers of clear gesso.
Now that I'm this far into the painting I have no idea why I was hesitant to start...I'm having a riot!