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Kingdom of Heaven

The Kingdom of Heaven painting puts the Mother in the center as a mediator-type between children and heaven. Elevating the role of motherhood as divine co-creator with the heavens. Loaded with lots of symbolism, but the main message hidden within the pajamas of the children, are the Disciples of Christ, symbolizing the mothers’ role to teach the children to be his disciples. The LDS children’s hymn "A Child's Prayer" helped to inspire this painting.

Kingdom of Heaven

This painting was created for my entry into the 10th International LDS Art Competition in 2015, which it won a Merit Award.

Before I knew I would make this painting for the art competition, I had composed it in my digital sketchbook in 2012. It was Easter and I had received a newspaper with a Hobby Lobby ad on the back of an etching print of Christ ascending into Heaven and his Disciples where kneeling. Hung on my wall was a pioneer photo my grandmother had had hanging on her wall my whole life, because her brother was the man who found an attic full of glass photo negatives and had donated them to BYU. It was a Mother sitting in a chair in a rather regal pose with her children kneeling in prayer around her. When I looked at the newspaper ad and then looked up on my wall, I could see the two images merged into one and the Disciples in the pajamas of the children. I Photo-shopped the two images together and there it sat a couple of years before I decided to make it a painting.

When I started getting it onto my board the other elements came into place. I had just started to read the Nag Hammadi Library at that time and I found the theology of multiple kingdoms interesting as my LDS roots also shared a similar theology. So the circles encircling Christ represent the 13 Heavens from the Nag Hammadi, and the three vertical circles represent the three kingdoms (there are really 4, but the fourth is not talked about as a kingdom) within the LDS tradition. My own belief at the time was that they were teaching the same thing and that the 13, were broken down into 12 lower kingdoms, each containing three levels, and the 13th was reserved as the dwelling place of God. Which correlates with the 12 Disciples and Christ. However, the three circles also represent the Godhead, and from what I was learning, the Aramaic texts gave the Holy Spirit office to the Mother, and so I made sure the Mothers head overlapped onto the last circle, with Christs' foot pointing to the Mother to signify her role and importance, emphasized by the tiara.

The other elements such as the lotus flower, and the Japanese Cherry blossoms reflect the dichotomy of immortality vs mortality. The elephant represents the Wisdom the Mother holds, while the turtle represents her role in creation. The pelican in art history has a reputation for representing Christ. As the myth goes the Pelican will pierce her breast to feed her starving babies so they will live, representing the Sacrifice of Christ. But there is a connection between the mother pelican, Christ and mothers in general, making the importance of our Heavenly Mothers role more revealed. She wears a timepiece around her neck to reference her description in Psalms 3 about holding time in her right hand, she grants us time and eternal life. The seed sprouting on her dress refers to a LDS scripture in their Book of Mormon, where a prophet named Alma teaches about planting a seed and if it sprouts it is a good seed, and that we experiment with the words of Christ by planting them. The fruit on the table has a two-fold meaning, as fruit has been known to represent both repentance and forgiveness, but it also represents the fruit Eve partook in the Garden, and the fruit which has yet to be partaken of the tree of life. The pile of books represents the knowledge the Mother imparts upon us, and the sparrow represents faith.

This painting was painted in many layers and using an unfamiliar and untested technique of latex paint and clear packaging tape built up and sanded back for the under-layers, and then oil for the finish top layer and finally an epoxy resin is poured over the surface to hold the tape in place over time.

-"The Kingdom of Heaven" won first place in the 2016 Springville Museum of Art Spring Salon Spiritual and Religious Art of Utah
-"The Kingdom of Heaven" won a Merit Award at the 10th International LDS Art Competition in 2015.

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