Quick update and comparison image, reflecting a few hours of work on this piece. I’m still trying to figure out the values and color palette to get a dawning sunrise. The main composition goal of this piece is to communicate a feeling of forward progress, with the line work of the wind, water, and background mountains all converging on a singular direction. This symbolically shows the clarity that comes when we receive revelation from God through the Holy Ghost, or the moment in which we suddenly understand the reason for a prior revelation that we heeded without full knowledge of the consequences.
Just as Moses had strong faith that a way would present itself, we too can go forward with faith in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, trusting that God will gradually reveal his miraculous plan for us, just as the dawn of a new day eventually reveals our surroundings in perfect clarity.
This is an early color block of my attempt at a unique take on Moses’ parting of the Red Sea. Most depictions take a dramatic theatrical approach, but I wanted to capture the stillness, clarity, warmth, and confidence that comes when God reveals our path through His Spirit. Wind, water, and dawn are both symbolic and abstract visual representations that attempt to capture the feelings of such moments.
Here is the scripture that inspired this piece:
“Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. Therefore this is thy gift; apply unto it, and blessed art thou, for it shall deliver you [...]“
This scripture is found in the Doctrine and Covenants, a collection of modern scripture revelations received by Joseph Smith in the early-mid 1800s):
An apostle named David Bednar of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, recently spoke on this subject at the church’s semi-annual general conference (a 2-day marathon of inspired sermons watched by millions of members around the world). You can watch, listen to, or read his thoughtful talk (about 10 minutes) here.
This sketch is based on the story of the Jaredites as told in the Book of Mormon. They were a group of families led by God from their home in the Eastern Hemisphere across the ocean to establish a civilzation in the Americas, shortly after the time of the tower of Babel. Their spiritual leader received a special visit from Jesus Christ and was instructed on how to construct the unique barges, much like Moses received guidance and the ten commandments on Mount Sinai. You can read more about the story of the Jaredites here.
With this painting, I want to capture the feeling of faith that such journeys require. God rarely requires an exotic physical voyage from us, but each of us have difficult spiritual voyages that require great faith. Joseph Smith, the prophet who translated the story of the Jaredites as part of the Book of Mormon, later described the difficult trials of his life:
” [...] deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth” (read in context here)
I’ll be posting early progress on this painting sometime in the next week or two.
I enjoy finding inspirational quotes and articles about design-related ideas and principles. My favorite quote, so far, is an insight by Dori Tunstall, a design anthropologist and advocate:
“There is an inherent intelligence to beauty, which is about the depth and passion we feel for the world.”
When I read this quote, the phrase, “there is an inherent intelligence to beauty” really struck me, like when someone reads scriptures and the Spirit of God highlights a small phrase of words in their mind. Here are some abridged thoughts on what this statement means to me:
Beauty is based on eternal principles of order, balance, opposition, and progression. When we experience beauty through any of our five senses, our brain and our heart connect with their underlying order.
Entropy and chaos are naturally occurring processes that occur independently of us, unless someone, motivated by their natural desire to create/organize, uses their agency to create beautiful order.
Intelligence is an understanding of eternal principles of nature and morality. It is naturally infused into created things in an orderly way. Thus, beauty is inherently intelligent.
My goal with my paintings is to capture the natural beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Nature through simple compositions that mimic spiritual symbols and the beauty we see in nature.
If you find these posts interesting, let me know and subscribe via email to this blog. My goal is to post at least one artwork progress image per week–hopefully more–and fill in the gaps with some philosophical mumbo jumbo. Thanks!
My first in-progress painting. Not quite there, but the feel is close to what I wanted. It’s my first attempt to capture the positive feelings of a family praying together–unity, light, warmth, strength, eternity–in a slightly abstract way.
Hi, I’m Cameron. By day, I’m an industrial designer. By morning and night, I’m a husband and father to soon-to-be 2 kids. By late night, I’m an aspiring religious artist with some exciting ideas and feelings that I hope to share effectively through this blog.
My goals for this blog:
- To share beliefs, feelings, and ideas related to my personal religious experience, and maybe inspire you, whether you currently feel indifferent to religion, are disenchanted by contemporary or historical religious hypocrisy, or desire to feel closer to and know more about God.
- To share my beliefs and knowledge about Jesus Christ, many of which are shared by all Christian faiths, and some of which are unique to the Mormon faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).
- To get practical feedback on the ideas and execution of my work from professionals and art-lovers, and gauge interest in my work and explore the possibility of becoming a part-time professional artist that produces digital paintings that can be ordered online and delivered to you in various tangible formats.
Expect sporadic updates on painting ideas, art, design, philosophy, my faith, and other things that make me happy.