Morgan Weistling began his artistic training on his father’s lap at 19 months of age, where he learned how to draw and more importantly, use his imagination. Capitalizing on his father’s talent for telling a story in comic strip form, Morgan began to develop a sense of narrative in his drawing. “It was here that art became a language for me.” At the age of 12, Morgan applied his interest in art to studying his father’s art books and began his art school studies at the Brandes Art Institute at 15. Working in a Los Angeles art supply store while attending art school, Morgan chanced to show his artwork to a prominent illustrator. As a result of their encounter, at the age of 19, Weistling found himself employed at a top movie poster agency in Hollywood.
For the next 14 years, Morgan illustrated for every movie studio in Hollywood. His clients included Universal/Amblin Entertainment, Disney, MGM, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures and TriStar. In addition to movie posters, Weistling created all the cover artwork for the video series, McGee and Me for Focus on the Family and his art can be seen on numerous magazine, book, CD and video covers as well as Sega pinball machines.
Since he has made fine art the focus of his art career, the collector demand for his originals has been overwhelming. With his masterful use of oils, Morgan Weistling brings a scene to life with spectacular lighting, creating a sense of wonder and engaging the viewer’s imagination and emotion. His dreamlike images touch the viewer’s heart, using more than sentimentality to engage the viewer. His canvases are filled with brushwork that tells a story beyond the subject matter. Like a skilled movie director, he manipulates the focus of interest with suggestions and impressions of forms that are barely realized and allow the viewer’s imagination to fill in the details.
“There is a story underneath the story of my paintings,” Morgan adds, “I don’t hide the process of how I painted it. You can see the layers and count the strokes it took to get there. With some styles of painting, the closer you get to the canvas, the more you will see. With mine, the more you step back, the more detail you will see. That’s not easy, which is why it fascinates me.”
Morgan Weistling follows in the footsteps of the masters he admires, John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn and Nicolai Fechin as well as many others. In all of his vibrant work, from western art to feminine forms, Weistling crafts a narrative, driven by clarity, focus and purpose, drawing on images inspired by his beliefs and scenes from daily life.
“My hope is that people will enjoy viewing my artwork as much I enjoyed painting it. For me, art is my language used to communicate to others how I see God’s creation. When I experience another artist’s work, I love to see through their eyes and find out as much about the artist as the subject they painted. That is what makes art so interesting.”
Weistling, a highly sought-after teacher, conducts private workshops with juried students and teaches at the prestigious Scottsdale Artist School. Weistling's book, The Image of Christ, was a finalist for the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion Book Award. Weistling met his wife, JoAnn, in art school. Their daughters often a model for his paintings. They make their home in California.
“This painting depicts one of my favorite stories from the life of Christ,” says artist Morgan Weistling. “I remember reading about Jesus walking on water and noting that he was out in the middle of a lake! This had a profound effect on me. “In 'Our Refuge and Strength' I wanted to show Peter’s point of view, as though the viewer were struggling in the water alongside him. And, like Peter, we come to the realization that Christ is there to save us, as suggested by the light breaking through the turbulent clouds.”
The difference between a magnificent work of art and an illustration lies in the artist’s passion for the subject at hand. Such is the case with the power of Morgan Weistling’s Christian art. “Colossians 1:15-20 speaks of Christ’s supremacy and of his being the image of the invisible God. Studying this passage brought the scene of Jesus’ baptism to my mind,” says artist Morgan Weistling.
“I chose to depict a quiet moment while Jesus was in the Jordan River to be baptized by John. I wanted to focus on Christ alone, looking to his Father in heaven, as he fulfilled God’s promise to send a Savior. His reflection in the water extends forward, reaching out to us, the viewers, as does Christ himself with his immeasurable gift of salvation. My prayer is that this painting will not only proclaim the deity of Christ but will encourage the viewer to answer the question that Jesus asks all of us: ‘Who do you say I am?’ (Matt. 16:15).”
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. –John 1:14
The transformation of water into wine by Christ is the first miracle in the Gospel of John, revealing his glory to his disciples. When wine ran out at a wedding, Christ asked the urns to be filled with water, which then became the very finest wine. The Biblical story also can be read as a metaphor for the blessing of Christ’s arrival and for his teachings.
“My main focus was to make the viewer feel like an eyewitness to the biblical account of Christ's first miracle,” says artist Morgan Weistling, “changing water to wine at the wedding feast of Cana. To convey the sense of awe one would feel, I depicted the astonished face of the servant as he pours the water and watches as it is transformed into wine.”