Howard Van Lyon is an artist that was born and raised in Mesa, Az where he still resides. He is the youngest of five children. Howard had very supportive parents, who even when he was very young, made sure he had the materials and education to hone his talents. While attending high school Howard met his wife, Shari Lunt. They married after graduation, moved to BYU and they now have three children. Howard began his career studying illustration at Brigham Young University working with artists such as Robert Barrett, Don Seegmiller, James Christensen and Greg Olsen. Over the past 15 years he has worked in the video game industry as an Art Director, concept artist and freelance illustrator. For much of his career he has painted dragons and trolls or scenes from science fiction. His work can be found in products from Dungeons and Dragon’s books, World of Warcraft cards, Magic the Gathering and Star Wars. He has studied art in Italy, France and most recently at the Grand Central Academy in New York. He has combined these experiences to expand his subject matter to create inspirational pieces in the style of some of his favorite old masters: William Bouguereau, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and John William Waterhouse.
The account in the Gospels of the Savior calming the tempest is a compelling witness of His power and authority over the elements, His compassion and testimony of His divine nature. The story is also a lesson for us of the power of faith.
As children of our Father in Heaven, we will all face trials in this life. There will be times when the sea is raging around us. It may feel as if we are destined to fail, that the storms are too great and that we are helpless to save ourselves.
This painting depicts a range of emotions that we may all relate to when the trials come. Note the disciple on the back of the boat. He is trying to save himself, bailing water from the boat. He looks out at the storm, overcome by fear. As a result, he sits in darkness, he cannot see the Savior. The next two disciples are still trusting in their own strength, trying to right the mast and gather in the rigging, but they have started to turn to Christ and are entering into his light. Standing behind the mast, this disciple has just let go of the sail. After having done all that he could, he is turning towards the savior. His faith is displacing his fear.
The next three disciples are focused completely on the Savior, faith has nearly pushed their fears away. They look in wonder at their Lord, standing calmly before them, Master of all. Lastly, we come to Peter, kneeling at the feet of Christ. Just a moment before, the storm raging, he had the faith to lay his fears completely at the feet of the Lord and he was blessed with peace.
We will all face difficult moments in our life, when it feels that all is lost. We often try to save ourselves, but when we turn ourselves over to the Lord, having done all that we can, He will save us. We will hear those magnificent words spoken in our hearts, “Peace, be still.”
“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” – John 8:12
This simple passage of scripture defines much of what it means to be Christian. To follow Christ means a life of compassion and service. It does not mean that there will not be heartache or trials. It does not mean we will not stumble and fall. Hardship is part of life, but Christ, through His atonement will be there to clear the path back to the light, bringing hope to an imperfect people trying to be better.
In this painting, I wanted to portray Mary in a way that I believe many mothers can relate to. She has found a brief quiet moment to contemplate. There is a little concern in her eyes, knowing that there will be pain and hardship in the life of her child, but hope as well, for she knows that God loves her and has a plan for her and her child. She smiles as she reflects on the joy she feels when thinking of her son, turning to the future, confident and anxious, but faithful.
Motherhood brings many emotions. Fear, joy, pain, and hope, concern and nearly inexpressible love can all be part of motherhood. No doubt Mary felt inadequate, but steadfast and faithful; humbled, though honored to have been chosen to have been part of Christ’s life.
Mary must have often thought of the heavenly messenger that brought her such momentous news, the miracle of his birth, the sign in the heavens, the wise men, the shepherds and angels that bore witness. As Christ grew, she surely marveled at His wisdom and obedience, knowing that he was the Son of God.
“Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” – Luke 2:19
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
- Luke 2:13-14
What incredible joy to have been to be among the angels chosen to herald the news of the birth of Christ to the world. There must have been great emotion among the angels present, knowing of whom they sang, knowing that light had entered the world. The wait was over. The time had come for He was born, the King of Kings, the Son of God, the Great Redeemer of mankind.