In figuring out what particular kind of person to start off with in this sacred series, I thought it best to begin with the very smallest of them all: the most precious of all His children. What better time to focus on the littlest ones, when I myself am expecting my own little one any day now? But this was not taken in complete joy because of the significance of what I was trying to portray. This painting represents the little ones that could not be in our own arms here on earth. The children who were lost to us through miscarriage, abortion, stillborn or infants, this is the painting that represents them all. Most mothers wish that they could keep their little baby and watch them grow, but sometimes it doesn’t happen, and they cannot always stay with us.
I wanted to paint a portrait of peace for those parents who lost their most precious souls in the world. A painting that when they look at it, especially the mothers that carried them, will know that their child is safe, loved, and protected forever in heaven in our Savior’s arms…Hopefully I was able to express those feelings in this work.
When I asked Brent, the father of the child model, if he could portray Christ’s hands in this painting, he had a little bit of a struggle at first. It was only then I realized I was asking a lot more than I thought. How can someone really have the hands of Christ? And how could I ask this of somebody so casually? He worried that he might not be capable of a job like this. But Brent was a brave soul, and gladly accepted the challenge. His 3 month old daughter, Alma, couldn’t be any more compliant. In my mind I had originally envisioned a picture of a child sleeping in the Savior’s arms, but at the studio we were amused to find her very much awake and content. It made more sense to me then, that a child would be awake when he or she returned home. So it turned out to be a blessing that Alma was awake past her predicted bedtime. All she had to do was be herself, which was the easiest job a baby could do. My very talented photography friend, Christine Simmons, was able to capture what I have trouble doing with a camera, and the final image I chose couldn’t have been more perfect.
(she has beautiful, big brown eyes)
I find it a true miracle that I actually was able to complete this painting before my son’s arrival. Not only was this a physically uncomfortable experience, but I was not wise when I decided to use a whole watercolor sheet for the first time (22×30), and have it be the standard size of this series. This meant that I had to continuously try to bend over my ever-increasing swollen belly to get the strokes at the top of the paper! I feel God wanted me to complete this work early, and gave me the strength and energy to make it possible.
Music is essential for me in the making of these pieces. When I painted, many times with peaceful music, it felt like I would wander into a deep meditation. Often the spirit was felt very strong, as strong as what I would feel in the temple or on my knees in sincere prayer, reminding me that this is indeed a great work. I felt particularly close to God while working on this project. I just wanted to share with you two musical pieces that touched me the most while painting, and I think it adds to the feeling I want others to feel when they look at this piece. You can click on them to listen:
“Echo” by Helen Jane Long
“Miracles” by Paul Cardall
I pray that this painting will reach the people that need to be touched by it. If you can, please share this painting, especially with those you know who have gone through a difficult loss with a little child. I hope that they will remember that life with our children is indeed short, sometimes shorter than we want them to be. We must cherish every moment with these beautiful souls. But when we leave this earth our souls will live on, and every soul will have the opportunity to meet Jesus Christ, from the tiniest to the tallest. This child knows the Savior because it was not long she was far away from Him. She knows that there is endless love in His arms. She knows that Christ lives, and His love can abide within us, and this little one’s soul lives on even after death. I know this is difficult for some to take in, or to listen to, but this message is a gift given to all of us, and it’s my gift to you to paint that message.
Luke 18:16 “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
All My Love,
Special thanks to Brent, Karla and baby Alma for their time and patience in helping me fulfill this vision.