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Shepherds In The Field

"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 towards men." Luke 2:13-14

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Silent Night

For the past year I have painted events from the last week of the Savior’s life. Paintings of the crucifixion, the scourging, and the betrayal took a toll on me and my soul longed for peace. For this reason, I decided to paint the Nativity – for what moment better depicts hope, promise, and peace?

We're all familiar with the traditional paintings of Mary holding the baby while Joseph looks on. I saw Joseph in a more substantial role, perhaps because my children were raised by a stepfather.

I thought of Joseph, a child himself, awkwardly holding this new-born infant. Maybe he sat taking in the grandeur of it all, or perhaps he simply felt love.

This young couple would go on to raise the most important and perfect man that has ever lived. Because of their love as parents, our lives have hope and promise. After I finished the painting and stepped back I realized that I had found what I was looking for. I had found peace.

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Sleep In Heavenly Peace

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Sometimes The Spirit Touches Us Through Our Weaknesses

Sometimes the Spirit Touches Us Through Our Weaknesses

by James C. Christensen

The Latin post nubila phoebus translates as “after clouds, sun” which is something like our saying “every cloud has a silver lining.” The iconic Christensen hunchback-as-Everyman is somber and a bit troubled. “The hump represents his troubles,” says Christensen, “and we all have them, but there is a little light at the place where the angel spirit’s finger touches the hump. I wanted to show how we grow from coping with adversity. Humbled by our weaknesses, we can be more open to things divine.”

The deceptively simple composition of this James C. Christensen Anniversary Edition contains many of the artist’s most defining elements and inspiration: the hunchback, the light of the spirit, the checkerboard floor representing the opposing aspects of life—light and dark, yin and yang— and a doorway to the unknown … combine to convey a story of hope, recovery and new growth.

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Son Of Man

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Son of Man

When I create an oil painting, there is a tremendous amount of time spent in composition, layout, photography and otherwise planning for the final piece. Sometimes it feels like I spend more time getting ready to paint than actually painting.

But when I sketch, there is to get in the way of my imagination. I finished this sketch while waiting to catch a plane in the Chicago airport. At one point I looked up and realized that a crowd had gathered around me and was watching over my shoulder. It was a wonderful opportunity to share my feelings of the Savior.

So I called the sketch "Son of Man" after the scripture in Matthew where the Lord asks His disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" The disciples answered, "Some say that thou art John the Baptist: Some, Elias; and others, Jeremias." The Savior still asks the question and waits for each of us to answer, "But whom say ye that I am?"

Just as Peter of old, I too respond, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

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Son of Man Vol. II: Miracles of Jesus

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Son's Of Helaman

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St. Brendan The Navigator

St. Brendan’s fame rests on the mythical adventure described in Brendan’s Voyage, a 10th century romance of Brendan and a company of monks sailing the Atlantic Ocean to the Promised Land. One of the stories of the voyage relates that Brendan, wishing to celebrate Easter Mass, landed on a small island in the middle of the ocean. After celebrating Mass, Brendan and his companions built a fire on which to cook a meal and thus awakened the sleeping whale they had mistakenly identified as a small island. Terrified, the voyagers rushed to their ship and fled. Since then, St. Brendan has been associated with whales and large fish.

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St. George Temple

St. George Temple

By Sandra B. Rast © 2007

We implore Thy blessings upon… Thy people who may assemble in this House from time to time, both in their incomings and outgoings and may Thy blessing and Thy spirit dwell herein and rest upon them for their comfort and edification, and abide richly in their hearts, that they may learn further of Thy ways and walk in Thy paths… Let the ministering angels from Thy presence attend us, and let Thy grace and power be upon us that we may walk in the paths of purity and holiness…

St. George Temple Dedicatory Prayer April 1877.

Storm Clouds: The storms of life are the trials and the tough times that come into all our lives.

Light: The Light shining through the dark clouds represent the Light of Christ. Even in the darkest of dark there is always Light somewhere. Sometimes the light of Christ is reflected by others, other times it comes from within our own divine spirits but it is always there.

Rain: In 1899 the St. George area was facing a horrible drought. In May of that year President Lorenzo Snow told them that they needed to pay a full tithe and they would be blessed. On August 2, after faithfully obeying his counsel, the saints in St. George were blessed by a much needed rain and their crops were saved. The rain in this painting reminds us of the blessings that are rained down on us as we obey and heed the prophets’ words.

Red Rocks: The striking red rocks in this painting remind us of the magnificence of God’s hands. We need to see and appreciate the splendor of His creations.

Temple: The temple stands as a refuge in the storms of life. We can go there to temporarily escape from winds of the world. It stands as a beacon off peace and hope. It is a place of learning and worship where we receive blessings and make eternal covenants.

Flag: The flag in this painting is to remind us of how blessed we are to live in this land of promise. It is here in America that through the Lord’s hand inspired men organized a government that paved the way for the restoration. The St. George temple is also significant for it was here that many of these founding fathers came to Wilford Woodruff and asked for their work to be done.

Family: As the most important organization in the church it is the family that travels together along the path of faith towards the blessings of eternity. The mother in the family is encouraging her young son along the path, leading & guiding.

Umbrella: The red umbrella represents the gospel that is given to us to help shield us from some of the storms of life. It cannot stop the storms from coming but it can help us weather the storms when they do come. The red color reminds us of love that is needed in our homes. It also reminds us to look forward to the Second Coming when Christ will come again.

Reflections: The reflections that we see in the puddles remind us that we need to reflect upon all of the blessings in our life. Just as the puddles reflect the light around them we too must reflect the Light of Christ.

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St. Michael

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Strength Of Body And Mind

Many accounts have been given on the physical abilities of Joseph Smith. The more rigorous and competitive the activity, the better he liked it. Perhaps the main reason he enjoyed activities of this nature is because of his large and muscular frame. His physical constitution was given to exercise and activity. Sorces reveal that he was well-proportioned, well over six feet in height, with strong limbs, broad shoulders and chest. He weighed about 200 pounds. He naturally excelled in contests involving strength and athletic prowess. Joseph also had a fun-loving and competitive spirit. He loved participating in sporting contests of all types and recognized that physical activity benefited the mind and spirit as well as the body. -Joseph Smith`s Athletic Nature, Alexander L. Baugh, Joseph Smith - The Prophet, The Man

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Suffer The Children To Come Unto Me

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Summer On Brigham Street

What can I say? I love the gardens at the Lion and Beehive Houses. I wish I could bring them home with me.

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Sunrise Chapel

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On that first Christmas night, Joseph searched through the inns of Bethlehem looking for a place of comfort for Mary. Despite his pleadings we read: “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn”. - Luke 2:7

Too often we let the distractions of the world crowd out the Savior. Like those in Bethlehem we don’t make room for Him in our busy lives. Each year as Christmas draws near I paint a nativity piece. For me it has become a tradition and my own way of making room for Him. May we each find ways to make room in our lives for the Savior - not only at Christmas, but always.

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Sweet Hour Of Prayer

I've had many comments about this painting over the years from those in the armed services. They have written me from the midst of battle and across the oceans. They have echoed the sentiments in this piece and have experienced similar scenarios while gathered together in faith, before embarking on their assignments.

The inspiration for this painting came from the words to the old hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” It is believed the writer was William W. Walford, a blind priest in England.

Their eyes are closed for a reason. When we close our eyes we begin to rely on our other senses. As we close our eyes in prayer, we trade our physical sight for a spiritual kind of vision. These men represent the best in human nature. The part that says, "I can’t see what the future holds, but I know Who holds it.” Yes, there is beauty in the idea that by closing our eyes, we begin to see and that it was a humble blind minister who brought about greater vision for untold generations.

I’ve come to realize that history books have their story about which side won what battle, but there are times when each man and woman must become a warrior. Whether we win or lose these battles comes down to who we have become because of them. Wars are not always fought overseas and in far-away places, but also in the fleshy tables of our hearts.

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Sweetwater Crossing

Sweetwater Rescue

In answer to the call from President Brigham Young to bring in the members of the handcart companies stranded on the plains, the first rescue teams left the Salt Lake Valley on October 7, 1856. The advance rescue party would not find the Martin handcart company until October 28 at Red Bluffs where a snowstorm stranded them for nine days.

Although this advanced rescue party had insufficient supplies to adequately bring relief to so many in need they brought with them strength, courage, nobility, honor and would perform many heroic acts in order to preserve the lives of the stranded saints. These men would truly become angels sent from heaven which the company had long prayed for.

On November 4, 1856, with snow levels recorded anywhere from twelve to eighteen inches deep and temperatures recorded as low as eleven degrees below zero it was determined to move the company to an area that would provide a more plentiful source of firewood and better protection from the elements. Because of the physical and emotional
condition of the company, this river crossing would prove to be a "severe operation" and would be the "worst river crossing of the expedition". Many, including men, wept at the prospects of crossing the river which was approximately two feet deep, from 90 to 120 feet across and flowing with sharp ice floes. Although many performed heroic acts David P. Kimball, George W. Grant, Stephen W. Taylor, and C. Allen Huntington were recognized for there efforts spending the day in the Sweetwater River assisting others across and into an area which would later be known as Martin's Cove.

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Take My Hand


Take my hand and follow me,
There are things ahead for you to see.
Little wonders are all around,
And tender mercies to be found.

We’ll take our time, no need to run,
Breathe deep the air and feel the sun.
The grass is soft beneath our feet,
Sounds are soothing, the air is sweet.

Sometimes we’ll stop and just be still,
Our hearts will tell us God is real!
Small graces along our path appear,
They let us know that Heaven’s near.

So take my hand anew each day,
The walk is lovely and I know the way.

Greg Olsen -2008

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