You may have noticed the Church’s Instagram account sharing a number of beautiful art pieces along with quotes from general conference talks over the weekend. But who were the artists featured and are any of their pieces available through Deseret Book? We wanted to know the same thing. Here’s what we found out:
Brian Kershisnik’s Climbing Mother
Previously displayed at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Brian Kershisnik’s Climbing Mother was posted on Instagram over the weekend with a quote from Sister Michelle D. Craig’s conference talk during the Saturday morning session. “I witness that Jesus Christ loves us and can give us eyes to see—even when we’re lonely, and even when the outcomes are not as we hoped. Through His grace, He will bless us and increase our capacity,” Sister Craig said.
Kershisnik’s piece portrays the demands of a mother as well as the strength she receives from on high. In 2014, Catherine Arveseth wrote on her blog Power of Moms that she once heard Kershisnik speak about the inspiration behind his piece. Kershisnik explained that he didn’t originally know what the piece would become—that is, until he painted the ladder pressed against her back.
“It would be a young mother. Not the everything-is-peachy-mommy-image,” Arveseth writes. “But one that depicts the hard reality of raising children. Of not having time for yourself. Of children on your lap, slung round your neck, or climbing up your back. The state of literally losing yourself in the care of your children. But here’s what’s so comforting about the painting. She is not alone. Angels have come to her. Angels she may have prayed down, angels she may not have asked for, angels that just maybe have never left her side.”
You can find the piece on Latter-day Home.
Emma Taylor’s Love One Another
Over 200 individual characters are portrayed in Emma Taylor’s Love One Another. An image of the piece was used on the Church’s Instagram to accompany two quotes. The first was from Elder Quentin L. Cook, who said, “The Savior’s ministry and message have consistently declared all races and colors are children of God. We are all brothers and sisters.” The second was from President Dallin H. Oaks, who said, “Knowing that we are all children of God gives us a divine vision of the worth of all others and the will and ability to rise above prejudice and racism.”
Taylor explained on her Facebook page, “Just before COVID-19 hit, this painting was purchased by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Packing it up and sending it away was like saying goodbye to a dear friend. Painting over 200 figures, I learned so much from this painting. . . . The idea behind it was truly the means of bringing it about. We all need each other. When we show love and kindness, working together for a common cause, building each other up—this truly is the gospel of Jesus Christ in action.”
The piece was delivered to the Church History Museum and although not currently for sale as a full painting, a puzzle of the piece can be purchased here.
Kwani Povi Winder’s My Faith
Santa Clara Pueblo Indian oil painter Kwani Povi portrayed King Lamoni’s wife in a piece featured on the Church’s Instagram. It accompanies the following quote from Elder Gerrit W. Gong’s address from general conference: “As we come to trust God, sometimes through pleading in our darkest, loneliest, most uncertain moments, we learn He knows us better and loves us more than we know or love ourselves.”
Of the scripture story that inspired the painting, Winder wrote, “After Ammon told the queen that her husband was not dead, he asked her if she believed his words. She replied, ‘I have had no witness save thy word . . . nevertheless I believe . . . ’ Her example of faith was seen not only in her words but witnessed by her action when she stayed with her husband through the night until he rose. Whenever I read this story, I always imagine her in fervent prayer, asking for her faith to be sustained. As I worked on this painting, I would repeat the words, ‘I believe.’”
On Instagram, Winder wrote that the model for the painting was her mother, who has been a faithful influence in her own life.
“This is my mother. She is my faith. Her example, her purity, everything about her inspires my belief. It is through her that I first saw the fruits of faith. I painted this piece to honor my mother for the faith that she shows our family. There have been times in my life when I have relied heavily on faith. Those trials have been made easier because I know my mother believes. Her foundation of faith is the legacy that I have been blessed to build upon.”
Caitlin Connolly’s Her Arms Grew Tired as She Held the World in Its Place
As many of her pieces do, Caitlin Connolly’s Her Arms Grew Tired as She Held the World in Its Place portrays a woman. This piece was shared on social media along with Sister Sharon Eubank’s words during the women’s session of conference. In her address, Sister Eubank spoke of the potential women have to bring people together.
“As covenant women, we have broad influence. That influence is applied in everyday moments when we are studying with a friend, putting little kids to bed, talking to a seatmate on the bus, preparing a presentation with a colleague. We have power to remove prejudice and build unity,” Sister Eubank said.
While the title is indicative of the piece’s meaning, very little context about the piece itself is public knowledge. However, in 2018, I did have the opportunity to speak with Connolly about her portrayals of womanhood.
“They feel big, substantial, capable—like they can do things,” she told me. “When I go to museums, I see so many paintings where women’s hands and feet have been painted smaller, I don’t know why. Little dainty hands placed nicely on their lap. I don’t understand or identify with that. I paint women that can do things with their hands and go places with their feet. It just feels right to me.”
While Deseret Book does not carry this particular piece, you can find prints of many of Connolly’s pieces here.
Jenedy Paige’s Coming Full Circle
Artist Jenedy Paige almost removed the circle that became part of the title of her piece that was shared on the Church’s Instagram over the weekend. Paige originally planned to name the piece “Gratitude” or “A Grateful Heart.” But instead, at the last minute, it struck her that the painting was about the circle around the model.
“It was about that moment when your prayers were answered and the pathway cleared and you could see the purpose behind everything,” she said in a video on Instagram. “I hope that when you see it, you think about all the circles in your life, the times when you have seen God’s hand and you’re full of gratitude for his tender mercies in your life.”
Coming Full Circle was posted alongside Sister Becky Craven’s words, which read: “There is an inspired phrase in the Young Women theme that states, ‘I cherish the gift of repentance and seek to improve each day.’ I pray that we do cherish this beautiful gift and that we are intentional in seeking change. Sometimes the changes we need to make are associated with serious sin. But most often, we strive to refine our character to align ourselves with the attributes of Jesus Christ. Our daily choices will either help or hinder our progress. Small, but steady, deliberate changes will help us improve. Do not become discouraged. Change is a lifelong process. I am grateful that in our struggles to change, the Lord is patient with us.”
You can pre-order Coming Full Circle here.
Kate Lee’s Peace in Christ
A watercolor piece by Kate Lee was posted along with Sister Cristina B. Franco’s words from the women’s session of conference: “As we come unto Jesus Christ by exercising faith in Him, repenting, and making and keeping covenants, our brokenness—whatever its cause—can be healed. This process, which invites the Savior’s healing power into our lives, does not just restore us to what we were before but makes us better than we ever were. I know that through our Savior Jesus Christ, we can all be mended, made whole, and fulfill our purpose.”
When Lee originally posted the piece on her Instagram, she wrote, “Regardless of the loads you carry, it is never too heavy for Christ. Allow Him to love and lift you through it.” In a later post, she added, “Friends, Christ will never leave us. I know at times it can be difficult to feel him close or even understand that he really does know us and loves us deeply . . . I know that feeling, I have been there . . . but let me tell you right here and now that Christ knows YOU. He knows you. He loves you. He is reaching out for you. Take his hand, let him lift you and hold you close. Allow yourself to trust Him.”
This piece is currently available for preorder through Deseret Book.
While we were unable to locate this specific piece by Kathleen Peterson, her painting of four women with their arms around one another’s shoulders accompanied President Russell M. Nelson’s words: “Sisters, you have all been absolutely heroic! I marvel at your strength and your faith. You have shown that in difficult circumstances, you bravely carry on. I love you, and I assure you that the Lord loves you and sees the great work you are performing. Thank you!”
Peterson’s art is perhaps best recognized by our audience as she is the illustrator for the Girls Who Choose God series. The book’s authors said of Peterson, “We approached her with a ‘Why not ask?’ kind of Hail Mary and Kathy met us with more graciousness than we ever imagined. She believed in the book maybe even more than we did. While we slaved over word choices, she went to work painting the gorgeous works you now see. We had no guarantee of a contract or any way she would be compensated for her work—but she still trusted in the need for the book enough to get started. We knew we loved her art, but we had no idea the wisdom and strength of her ideas that she would offer the project.”
You can read more from Peterson in an interview here.
Yongsung Kim’s Vision-Promise
Elder Neil L. Andersen’s words were shared in a post on Instagram this weekend accompanied by a painting by artist Kongsung Kim. Elder Andersen said, “Like a guiding star in a clear dark sky, Jesus Christ lights our way. He came to earth in a humble stable. He lived a perfect life. He healed the sick and raised the dead. He was a friend to the forgotten. He taught us to do good, to obey, and to love one another. He was crucified on a cross, rising majestically three days later, allowing us and those we love to live beyond the grave. With His incomparable mercy and grace, He took upon Himself our sins and our suffering, bringing forgiveness as we repent and peace in the storms of life. We love Him. We worship Him. We follow Him. He is the anchor of our souls.”
In an Instagram post in 2016, Kim shared the scripture found in Genesis 22:17 along with the piece, “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies.”
Kim has said of his art, “The main theme and focus of my paintings are consistently and primarily Jesus Christ and Christianity. Co-artists have asked me if it was necessary to intentionally include Christ in every piece. They have even suggested I remove Christ and paint a likeness or euphemism of him. In a world with an increasing culture of violence and darkness, in addition to decreasing bright and clean depictions of religion, I want to shed Christ’s light on this new generation.”
While this particular piece is not sold through Deseret Book, you can find other pieces by Kim here.
Accompanying a quote from President Russell M. Nelson in a social post shared on Sunday, October 4, was a piece by Utah artist Michael Malm.
“Each of us has a divine potential because each is a child of God. Each is equal in His eyes. The implications of this truth are profound,” President Nelson said. “Brothers and sisters, please listen carefully to what I am about to say. God does not love one race more than another. His doctrine on this matter is clear. He invites all to come unto Him, ‘black and white, bond and free, male and female’ (2 Nephi 26:33).”
While we were unable to find this particular piece available online, but Malm has painted a number of religious works. “My purpose in painting is to communicate the emotions and beauty I experience to the viewer with the hope that the painting will trigger a similar emotional response in them. Ultimately, I hope my work uplifts and inspires,” Malm wrote on his website.
This particular piece is not available through Deseret Book, but you can find two other pieces by Malm on the Deseret Book website.
Carl Bloch’s Healing the Sick at Bethesda
Perhaps the most recognizable work (and certainly the oldest) of those shared during general conference on social media was posted alongside the following quote from Elder Dale G. Renlund: “To be Christlike, a person loves mercy. People who love mercy are not judgmental; they manifest compassion for others, especially for those who are less fortunate; they are gracious, kind, and honorable. These individuals treat everyone with love and understanding, regardless of characteristics such as race, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and tribal, clan, or national differences. These are superseded by Christlike love.”
According to BYU’s website, “Brigham Young University Museum of Art acquired this great alter painting in 2001, the day before September 11th. Painted by Danish artist Carl Heinrich Bloch, this painting shows the pure love of Christ. It portrays Christ as both a healer and a comforter. President Merrill J. Bateman reminds us that, ‘[Jesus Christ] has the power to make a person whole, to heal the soul as well as the body. The original painting, a wonderful gift, will be a constant reminder of our heritage and our mission.’”
Small 3x4 images of Bloch’s paintings of Christ are available in a pack through Deseret Book. This is the perfect gift for missionaries as the images make a great addition to thank you notes.
Richard Lance Russell’s Rise and Walk
We don’t know much about Richard Lance Russell’s Rise and Walk that accompanied the following quotes on Sunday:
“When you wonder how much pain you can endure well, remember Him. He suffered what you suffer so that He would know how to lift you up. He may not remove the burden, but He will give you strength, comfort, and hope. He knows the way. He drank the bitter cup. He endured the suffering of all.” —President Henry B. Eyring
“While we work and wait together for the answers to some of our prayers, I offer you my apostolic promise that they are heard and they are answered, though perhaps not at the time or in the way we wanted. But they are always answered at the time and in the way an omniscient and eternally compassionate parent should answer them.” —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
“The Lord is aware of the challenges you face. He knows you, He loves you, and I promise He will send angels to help you.” —Elder Carlos A. Godoy
The piece, titled Rise and Walk, was accepted into the Church’s 11th International Art Competition and was featured in the 2019 Christmas Showcase at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. “As I travel through life and learn more of the Savior and His gospel, many of the scenes described in the scriptures come to my mind with such impact that I want to capture my personal impressions in paint,” Russell wrote on Facebook.
While we are unsure of the title of Walter Rane’s piece which was posted on Instagram this past weekend, it accompanied a prophetic blessing from President Russell M. Nelson: “I bless you to be filled with the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ. His peace is beyond all mortal understanding. I bless you with an increased desire and ability to obey the laws of God. I promise that as you do, you will be showered with blessings, including greater courage, increased personal revelation, sweeter harmony in your homes, and joy, even amid uncertainty.”
According to Rane’s website, “In the late 1990s, Rane was invited by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to paint scriptural themes. This opportunity sparked an interest that he had since childhood of creating religious paintings in a classical fashion.”
While prints of this piece are not currently available on Deseret Book, prints of several of Rane’s pieces are available here.
Rebecca Hawkes has no evidence of this painting on her Instagram. Instead, the talented artist tends to paint illustrations of tiny mice but her piece of a young couple praying is inspiring and was posted along with President M. Russell Ballard’s invitation to pray for our country: “I expand my call for prayer to all people from every country around the world. No matter how you pray or to whom you pray, please exercise your faith—whatever your faith may be—and pray for your country and for your national leaders.”
If you know more about Hawkes’s piece, we’d love to hear!