The Artist

On June 13, 1988, I went with my grandparents to a meeting of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers. Artist Al Rounds spoke of his testimony as he demonstrated how he paints.

 

From a demonstration by Al Rounds

With quick, sure strokes of the brush, the master artist talks as a painting takes place before him. Effortlessly, he chooses colors, while telling us of his struggles to become an artist. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. His hands are sure from long practice.

The painting starts out like a new baby. Nobody can tell what beauty or potential it will have.  As all watch closely, leaning forward to catch every detail and stroke of paint, it begins to take shape.

We see it grow into a young child as the sky gains a glorious blue and the grass takes on shades of green and brownish-red. In the master’s hands, we expect it to become beautiful. Yet the artist’s attention is in talking, and the hand shakes nervously.  We can see life go into the painting as mountains are shadowed and trees are formed.

It passes through the teenage years quickly, unsure of success. Then a few details on the house, and it becomes an adult. A couple more touches, and it is mature. As he holds it up, we are impressed by something so pleasing, created so easily.

Then another painting is brought down, one that took many thoughtful hours to form, first in his mind and then on paper. The difference becomes apparent as they are compared. The hurried one, while lovely, does not have the same lines, detail, or feeling as the other. The painting, which took so many days of research, planning, and then careful and loving feeling as he painted, is by far more beautiful. Creating a feeling of awe, it comes to life.

Then, with tears, the artist says that this is like men’s lives. Some are carelessly done and are only quick sketches. However, some with great patience, love, thought and hardship are glorious to behold and tell of all that went into them.

The artist bears testimony with each painting that God lives and that Jesus lives also and that they appeared in a grove to a young boy. Moreover, that there lives now a prophet of God on earth. Each shade of color, each thought, each feeling is an expression of gratitude to that God who gave us life and to his Son for making it possible to live and to become – not a quick sketch – but a wonderful, vibrant painting in the master’s hand. He so lovingly plans and paints each of us brush stroke by brush stroke.

What Matters

“Why did I get this illness?” I asked.

When Esther long ago was faced with a choice:

Should she endanger her own life

to ask the king to save her people?

Said Mordecai[i] to her, “and who knoweth

whether thou art come to the kingdom

for such a time as this?”

 

“But it’s not fair,

it’s not what I planned for my life,” I moaned.

Said Lao-tse, a wise Chinese man,

“The world was not a setter of traps

but a teacher of valuable lessons[ii].”

 

“But what can I learn from this?

I can’t even clean my home.

It’s a struggle to get up each day,” I cried.

“Bloom where you’re planted,”

said the wise woman.

 

“But I feel so alone,

No one understands me,” I said.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace give I unto you …

Let not your heart be troubled,

neither let it be afraid[iii],” said Jesus.

 

“If You will walk with me,

I will try to learn,” I humbly said.

“I see that what matters

is what you do with what you’ve got.”

 

– by Danice Hope

 

[i] Esther 4:14

[ii] Benjamin Hoff. The Tao of Pooh. Penguin Books. 1983. Pages 4, 5.

[iii] John 14:27

https://pixabay.com/en/nature-crocus-flower-85486/  by Engel62