At last, my second piece is complete, and I can’t wait to
share my stories with you!

This was one of the darkest art pieces that came into my mind
when I began thinking up this series. It is also the first serious piece of art
I have ever accomplished. Ironically this artwork came painstakingly slow, and
with many lessons that I wish to tell. The first lesson I had to learn was

Since this piece was often in my mind, I was deeply
interested in trying to understand my subject matter. There were two important
questions I needed to find answers to. The first was “Why would someone turn
away from the Savior?” Even those who didn’t know Him would most likely either
say “Oh, you do exist,” or “Who might you be?” To turn your
back on Him would be a completely different thing altogether. The kind of
person who would do that would have to have known Him, or tried to be faithful
and close to Him, but trials in life altered this man’s final decision of
Through the months I pondered, read, watched and painted. I
slowly became familiar with this man and his situation. I realized eventually that
my original question was irrelevant. It was not important what this man did or
did not, what he saw or experienced. That was not the message of this painting.
In fact, when I first started this piece I felt the farthest away of
emotionally understanding this man’s thoughts. Now as I write this, it is
incredible how far I’ve come in less than a year, because now not only do I understand
this man, I feel like I have felt this man’s pain in my own heart.
This year has brought many extremely difficult hardships,
hard feelings, hard situations, and has brought my soul to tears. Yet what I
marvel about the greatness of God is though we are all so complex in our
thinking, and so very different in our thought patterns and why we do what we
do, God understands each man and woman completely. He understands all the
differences, the reasoning and experiences to make each thought so. I find that
incredible considering how many people are in the world, and how interwoven and
singular each tapestry of life is. This is why not only can I not pass judgment
on this man who is turned away, I mourn with him, for he has every right to his
pain. His torture is something that is very real in the natural man, and he has
a right to feel it, despite whatever terrible circumstances had brought him to
this state.
The second important question I had was “Where would Christ
stand with a man who is turned away from Him?” Would Christ have His hand on his
shoulder, as if to try to give comfort? Even if the man’s life is completed,
and his decision of Jesus is sure? This man has hardened his heart and had
waxed cold. He turned away from everything that was light, and it was an
intentional decision. Would the Savior want to comfort a person who is angry
with Him in the hereafter?  Would Christ have His hand stretched out even
How many times have I said “Where were you, God? When
something happened, and I needed you, you weren’t there!” This is when I
learned an important lesson of God’s endless grace.
Isaiah 49:14-16 But Zion said, The Lord
hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking
child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they
may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the
palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”
When we decide to leave the light of God, we lose the Holy
Spirit and put up walls. Often we feel like He is not with us. But though we
can’t feel Him, Christ was never the one who turned away from us. It was us
that turned from Him. If we ever decided to come back to the light, it would be
then that we realize through our darkest and loneliest hours Christ was not
only right beside us, He carried us through it. 
John 3: 20-21 “For every one that doeth evil hateth
the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But
he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest,
that they are wrought in God.”
And so it is, with the most humble of hearts, I say to you
that through this art piece I learned that Christ is a constant companion. No
matter what you do, no matter what you say, His love is still stretched out to
you. The marks on His hands are a emblem that He felt every pain, including
yours. Including mine. Every single soul on this earth. He knows you, and being
the shepherd that He is, He only wishes you to allow Him to heal, and come and
return to the Fold.
Psalm 55:22 “”Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and
he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”


Music (of course) was involved in the process of making this art piece. I’d love to share with you two pieces of music that helped inspire my painting. You can click on the songs to hear them on youtube:


The last lesson I had to learn with this work was patience.
When my second child came into the world and I was ready to paint this artwork,
reality came knocking. I was going on little sleep, two babies now to attend to,
and hadn’t a clue how to juggle two at once while finding free time for myself.
As difficult as it was, I needed to be patient while I got acquainted with the
new baby, and brand new lifestyle with two children.
Six months after baby was born, when my son finally was able
to sleep through the night, I stole late hours of the night trying to figure
out how to paint a graded wash from left to right (watercolor washes usually
are top to bottom, for blue skies mostly). It took me not one, not two, but eight
times to get the graded wash just right. I was having trouble with lines, water
blossoms, and paper quality. But in brief, I was fortunate to figure out how to
pull it off through many expensive
heavy weight paper trials and error. For anyone who is watercolor savvy, I’d
love to share this new discovery with the world. Instructions are below.
I would lastly like to thank a few people who made this painting possible. 
Christine Simmons, you are my eyes. She has a talent that can bring my visions to life, and I was able to use her photos as reference for this piece.
Thank you to Brent Alvord for showing the love of the Savior through your hands. I appreciate you being my Jesus hands, and you are a good soul and a kind friend to come and represent him in our photo sessions.
A very special thanks to David Lysenko. I deeply appreciate you being willing to portray the face of this man’s sorrow and pain. You brought the spirit with you through the door of the studio, and I am so grateful that I could use you to share this message with others. Thank you for the thoughts of CS Lewis and his life being an example you kept in your heart for this piece.
And thank you to Linda D, Jana G and Heather J. for watching my babies on certain special afternoons while I was on a roll with my work. Little acts of service went a LONG way with this piece, and I am so thankful that you were around so I didn’t have to stop while the paint was still wet!
With Love,

Steps to a graded wash left to right
-watercolor paper, preferably 500lb heavyweight so as not to
bend easily
– B lead pencil (this is a good lead softness for watercolor
-masking fluid
-bathtub or child wading pool (clean your wading pool first to make sure everything is squeaky clean for your painting.)
-viva paper towels (they’re the best for absorbing water)
-large flat brush
1-      sketch
your drawing on the paper with your B pencil. 
You actually CAN use masking
fluid if you want to (I have tested it and it is waterproof!), but be sure to
let the masking fluid dry first before proceeding to step two.
Blotting the paper to prevent
the color from reaching undesired places also works if you don’t have masking

2-  Submerge
your paper in water for a good 20 minutes. You can use your bathtub, but if
your paper is large, use a child’s wading pool.

3-  With
your fingertips touching only the edges, gently lift your paper out of the
water. Put the paper on your desk and wait until the sine of the water on the
top of your paper is gone.

(See how shiny it is?)4-  As
you wait for the paper to be ready, mix your paints together to the desired
colors. I mixed a puddle with little pigment and a lot of water (light color) and
a puddle with a generous amount of pigment (dark color.)

5- You
can use a paper towel to dab the edges of the background and the foreground, so
the paint won’t bleed into places you don’t want.

6-      When
the shine is gone, use a large flat brush and dip it into your light color. Gently
sweep from left to right. Tilt the paper as you sweep across so you can carry
the pigment to the next line down. This tilting will help the paint to move and
will prevent lines. Continue until your whole background is covered in one
7-      Saturate
your flat brush in the darker pigment, and BARELY touching the paper (don’t press too hard here to prevent lines) sweep
across to the desired length you wish the darker pigment to reach. Continue downward
until you have painted the part of the paper you want to be darker.
8-      Lift
your paper with your fingertips touching only the very edges, and tilt gently
side to side, top to bottom, to move the darker pigment around in the desired
area. You will drip on your table, but just wipe with your paper towels…It is
better to have a friend or spouse help clean your table of drips as you use
both your hands to tilt the paper.
9- Remember to continue to blot the edges of the foreground so the dark pigment doesn’t blend into the light parts.
10-  Once it
looks just right, leave it ALONE! But keep blotting until the paint is not
bleeding anymore into undesired locations. If masking fluid is on your paper,
do NOT touch the masking fluid/ remove it until a day later (or when the paper
is bone dry).
Practice makes perfect!!