In Feburary of 2000, I was diagnosed with a severe case of 'Bells Palsy' after the right side of my face lost feeling. Soon after I was given a blessing in which there was no mention of recovery but instead, I was counseled to begin using my art for the gospel. After much prayer and scripture study, I felt inspired to paint a series on "Women of Inspiration". These painting were all created in the hopes of uplifting and inspiring us to be as these women were and are - strong in their faith BEFORE the trials came. Each painting was prayed about & researched to be as historically correct as possible. First was "A Mothers Sacrifice" (Johebed, Mirium and Moses) next came "Elizabeth Horrocks Jackson" (inspired by her own journals, from the Martin and Willy Handcart Co.) This painting is currently on display at the Church Handcart Museum in WY and is also featured in the LDS.org video, "Righteous Women" (see button below). Many more paintings have followed and can be seen below. Most are available for purchase. A few other paintings are included on this page because of their religious content as well.
WOMEN OF INSPIRATION
This painting was inspired by a recent experience where I realized that I have a bad habit of making snap judgements. This image of a women hiding her scales behind her back - just about to drop - came into my head, and I knew I had to paint it. As I painted, I pondered on what a release it is to let go of judging and just love unconditionally. I love this lesson and the peace it brings me when I practice it!
“Be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom” D&C 33:17. “Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures—each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store... " Spencer W. Kimball
“Yet “he [also] saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to [that] rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit" We never reach the rod alone – someone, a parent, teacher, missionary, family member or leader - grasps our hand and places it on the rod as we learn and grow in the gospel.
“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.... And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:28 & 38)
Esther’s uncle Mordecai said, “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther is a female counterpart of Joseph in Egypt—she also was favored by a king and later used her influence to save her people from the intrigues of Haman. In this painting, I wanted to show the “faith preceding the miracle” moment for Esther—not when she was already a Queen, but before, when all the fair young girls were gathered to the palace.
Journal account:” I will not attempt to describe my feeling at finding myself thus left a widow with three children, under such excruciating circumstances. I cannot do it. But I believe the Recording Angel had inscribed it in the archives above, and that my sufferings for the gospel's sake will be sanctified unto me for my good. I could therefore appeal to the Lord alone-he who had promised to be a husband to the widow and a father to the fatherless. I appealed to him and he came to my aid.
“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly....” 1 Peter 5:2
Eve said,” Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which god giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5:11)
Eve was given as a ‘help meet’ to Adam. Help means to surround, protect and aid, and Meet means equal to, suitable for, worthy or necessary and of course the name EVE itself means “mother of all living”.
“Every sister who stands for truth and righteousness diminishes the influence of evil. Every sister who strengthens and protects her family is doing the work of God. Every sister who lives as a woman of God becomes a beacon for others to follow and plants seeds of righteous influence that will be harvested for decades to come. Every sister who makes and keeps sacred covenants becomes an instrument in the hands of God.” (Women of Righteousness” )
"Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments...And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. “Genesis chapter 35:1-4
Rachael and Leah give us a beautiful example to us of the importance of ‘putting away’ the things of this world and cleansing ourselves.
"Now they never had fought, yet they did not
fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."
This is the only living Woman I have portrayed in my series. She is a treasure!
When she was young, her legs had been run over by a bus in Seoul, Korea. Late in life, the pain from that accident kept her from attending the temple as much as she would like, so she prayed with faith, asking that her legs would be healed so she could spend her remaining time serving at the temple. The next morning she woke to no pain and so she began the work she would continue for the next few years without fail.
“And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.” (Ex. 1:22) By placing Moses in the river, Jochebed demonstrated her faith in the protection of the Lord. What strength it must’ve taken to trust in the Lord like that!. In life we are sometimes called upon to put our trust in the Lord and perform a difficult task in faith. To me, Jochebed is a wonderful example of faith without question.
Amanda Barnes Smith lost her husband and a son to the Hauns Mill Massacre. Alma had lost an entire hip in a shotgun blast, and in her desperation, Amanda turned to the Lord in prayer and was given direction on how to heal her son. In 5 weeks he was up and walking. The “Mormon Miracle” became quite well known in the area. Amanda told Doctors that God "was the physician, and I the nurse!"
1 Kings 17:10- 16:“So he (Elijah) arose and went to Zarephath.... behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, ....