Artist on a Mission-Light


Watercolor sketch of 27th World Championship Fireknife

Without light there is darkness. Light in a painting creates value. Without light there would be no shadow side of an object. When light is blocked, we get cast shadows which create depth and interest in a painting. When you put the lightest light by the darkest dark, you draw attention to that spot. By manipulating values, you can guide the eye around your painting.

We went to the World Fireknife Competition. We watched the Womens’s Competition and the Men’s Preliminaries. How would I capture the energy of the drums and the fire spinning in the darkness. A painting becomes much more than what you see with your eyes. The experience of being at the competition adds a depth to your painting. You remember the beat of the drums and the smell of the fire, the flame spitting on the floor and streaking across in a line of fire. You wonder about the properties of fire as you see the contestants put the flaming Fireknife on their feet and to their lips.

‘I tried to capture the flickering of the flame by letting my brush dance across the watercolor paper. I loved capturing the form of the dancer by the light cast on his torso and the back edge getting lost in the darkness.


Clouds over the ocean in Hawaii.

As artists, we try to capture what we feel and see around us. There was a quote by President Henry B. Eyring which was displayed with his watercolors at BYU Idaho: “My motivation in all of my varied creative work seems to have been a feeling of love. I felt the love of a Creator who expects His children to become like Him—to create and to build.”


A sketch from 2 1/2” x 4 1/4” sketch book. “Where Are You Headed?”

”…..but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light,…” Isaiah 60:19 So as plants turn to catch the light, we should turn our lives towards the Savior Jesus Christ and towards more kindness, service and watching out for one another.  Mahalo.


#Jesus Christ. #BYU-Hawaii #watercolor #light #sketching #World Championship Fireknife

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Artist on a Mission – Painting Some Homesick


A Little Kitchen Gold

I started this painting as an in class demo and then finished it at home. As I painted away I started to get that  feeling of homesickness, missing this little lady with the big heart. I could smell the salmon cooking and see the Brussels Sprouts steaming away. It’s her birthday soon. She has had a lifetime of loving and caring for those around her. Didn’t matter when you showed up at her house, she would pull out some food and cook up a very nice meal to share with you. And if you called on her phone and she didn’t happen to answer in person, you got a nice song to cheer up your day.

She has set an example of kindness and giving that will stay with me and hopefully pass down to those who I serve. Influence. She has influenced my life for good. Happy Birthday Momma.


By love unfeigned

2 Corinthians 6

6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,


Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints


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Artist on a Mission – Muscle Memory


Straight vs. Curved Lines

The muscles in the arm can also be trained to draw. You use your eyes to see and your brain to analyze angles and shapes and value. Your arm moves searching for the figure, finding where one angle or line meets another. The more you practice, the more all these parts learn to work together. With enough practice, when you draw from your imagination, your arm can take over and it’s almost like drawing from life. It’s important to practice both, drawing from life and from your imagination.



Models all around.

Muscles get stronger with use. It’s the same with prayer or finding that quiet time in life when you can feel inspiration from above. It gets stronger with use. Life is busy so stepping back from the chaos and taking a moment to look at the beauty around us can bless our lives.


The Good Shepherd


“The Lord promises that when His shepherds feed His lambs and sheep, those in His fold “shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking.”

Good Shepherd, Lamb of God by Elder Gerri’s Gong April General Conference 2019 

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Artist on a Mission – Fitting It In


Maintaining your heritage.

One comment I often hear is “I don’t have time to paint.” “I don’t have time to sketch.” “After I finish my day, I’m too tired to draw.” Some times that is true. Because of life and circumstances, we might be too tired to create. But it is also true you can fit it in between the cracks of time. If you have a sketch book and carry it with you, you can pull it out and sketch. Models are all around you. They are in restaurants and PTA meetings. You can pull them out at a devotional and sketch and take notes. It keeps you alert and engaged with the speaker and you end up with a nice illustrated journal .


Honoring those who have gone before.


Sharing that heritage with others.


Polynesian Culture Center

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Artist on a Mission – Preparation


Pencil sketch for future

My son trained to run a marathon. He trained almost everyday, taking a break on Sundays. He worked up the miles from 5 to 6 to 8. He ran 10 miles and slowly built up to 12, 15, and 18 mile runs. He trained his body to endure the longer runs. The day of the marathon he met one of his buddies at the start line.  They took off running at a good pace, running stride for stride. They chatted a bit while they ran. They chatted about training. My son’s friend said, “I never ran over 10 miles in my training.” My son said, “Ooooh.” About 4 minutes later they hit the 10 mile mark. My son’s friend gave a sigh and drifted back behind my son and out of sight. He had met the level of his training and his body couldn’t keep up.

Like a race, you can prepare for paintings. Some training and some warming up of the muscles can help you get off to a good start. The years of sketching in your sketch book can help your drawing ability. In the above sketch, I’m trying to get to know my subject and becoming familiar with the angles and pose. I’m also starting to think of the finished painting. What do I want it to look like. Below is a rough value study . These get me thinking of what I want to have the finished painting look like. It’s like practicing before you begin.



I also want to think about the design of the entire painting. By doing some thumbnails, I can think about design and see in my minds eye the impact that I want to create with the design and values of my watercolor. It helps me get into my painting and prepares me so that when I start to paint, I can paint for the whole 24 miles so I can finish the marathon. So go ahead and paint and create.

1 Cor. 9:24

24 ​Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints

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Artist on a Mission – Called to Serve


“Called to Serve” 15” x 20” watercolor on paper

I love the effect of the light on this couple. The woman’s face is pushed back into the shadow. There is that nice, rich black behind them, tying them together visually. Then there is the shadow lines of the lawn chairs that lead you into the figures. There is the shadow on the wall behind that leads right to the woman and then her hand catches us and leads to the plate and the knees of the man. Your eyes get lost in the details of their lives.

They have given up the comfort of routine, home and family bringing their expertise and a few belongings packed in a suitcase with them.. They are serving the Lord in a unique way, bringing their life-learned skills with them. The service we give to others, lifts them up. They see the love of God in the kindness shared by others.


Braided rope

Each act of kindness binds together like the strands of this braided rope bringing strength to the recipient and the giver.

D&C 4:2-3 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;


The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints.


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Artist on a Mission – Guided by the Light


The Ocean Voyaging Canoe, The Iosepa

We are all travelers here. We are on a voyage. We may plan and prepare but sometimes much like when we create a painting, we end up somewhere we didn’t expect.


The Star Compass

On a  Voyaging Canoe, in the middle of the night ocean, the travelers can be guided by the rising and the setting of the stars. The night sky is memorized like the tying of the knots in the rope. They know where the moon is even when it is hidden by the earth.




We can be guided on our journey here. We can listen to the quiet whispering of the good voices in our lives. We can learn from those that have gone before. We can put all we learn in our tool box so we can share them with others to help them find their way.


Ukelele player at the Tahiti Devotional

Yiu can see the Iosepa at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The link is below.


Polynesian Cultural Center


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Artist on a Mission – Anticipation



Pencil Sketch Direct on the watercolor Paper. Proposed  title: “Called to Serve”

So here is the pencil sketch sitting on the watercolor paper. It’s waiting for the first splash of color. It’s just sitting there waiting for what is to come next. What will the end product be? It takes some courage to put that first bit of paint on the paper. It takes some courage to dive into a new year of school, start a new job, try to change an old habit.

There is anticipation in the air here on campus. People are gearing up in their heads for new adventures, new classes, new homework. It takes courage and hard work but that’s where the growth comes from. You have to go ahead and put the paint on the paper or it will never be a painting.


“Fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.”

Thomas S. Monson Ensign May 2009


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints 

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Artist on a Mission – Gratitude


Pencil sketch in sketchbook.

Thank thee for the lady I met this morning who was running in place very very fast but paused to share the sunrise over the ocean with me. Thank thee for the way the morning sun illuminates the high ocean clouds and the light won’t be hid from peaking, streaming, bursting from behind the cover.

Thank thee for a back pack to carry my books and sketchbook and that tiny pill box full of paints that I can pull out in a pinch and paint any where.

Thank thee for the students who stop by to chat and tell me stories of coming back to their Hale and having their roommate offer to share their chicken soup with them.

The soup sharer asks them, “Is it is good soup?”

‘Yes it is good soup.”

The soup sharer says, “Do you like it?”

”Yes I like it.”

They eat the soup. Then the soup eater gets up and looks in the fridge and their chicken that has been stored in the fridge is gone, gone to make chicken soup.

Thank thee for the 82-year-old single sister missionary who tells me about someone who is just a young man that has just passed away in her home ward. I ask her how old was he? She tells me he was 65. Then she tells me she hiked half way up Chinaman’s Hat. Thank thee that she made it back down safely.

Thank thee for the custodians that pass by the table every day and say, “Good afternoon, Sister. How are you today?” Thank thee Lord for all these blessings.


The Huki Show (Dancing on a Canoe)

Oh, and thank thee Lord for the amazing dancing over here.


“…..take upon you the ​​​name​ of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and ​​​worship​ God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in ​​​thanksgiving​ daily, for the many ​​​mercies​ and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.”

-Alma 34:38

Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints




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Artist on a Mission – Capturing the Moment


“The Hiker” 9”x12” watercolor on paper

Its easy to find things to paint, they are all around us. Most of the time I have many more ideas than time. Sometimes a painting will appear right before you. You raise the camera and-click-you’ve captured the moment. But a painting can capture more than a photo can.

I saw this senior missionary ready for a hike with the light hitting just right on his lifeguard hat. I took the picture. The beauty of shadows can get lost in photographs and rediscovered in watercolor. There was a nice glow on the face caused by the reflected light from the pavement. The painting isn’t a copy of the photograph but a new creation.


Captured in the sketchbook

Sometimes a sketch will capture more than the camera can. But you have to be quick with your pen. There can be no hesitation. This lady was captured in a waiting room. You can capture a fine sketch with just a few lines. Sometimes it’s like magic coming from the end of the pen.

Ecclesiates 3:11  He hath made everything beautiful in his time.

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Artist on a Mission – Anchor to My Soul


“Joseph F.” 15”x22” watercolor

At home I have one person who cuts my hair. She knows how to cut my hair without me saying anything. “You just need it cleaned up a bit?”

“Yes.” I say.

I come out of her shop and my hair is the same every time.

When I stepped off the plane here, my straight thin desert hair met the humidity of Hawaii and curled like the end of the ocean waves. When I wash my hair, I blow it dry and it is desert straight. Then I walk out the door. POOOF! Hair hits muggy and I get instant curl. It was time to get a haircut. I walked into a random shop and said, “Take off about one inch, please. I don’t want it too short.” A short, dark haired  kapuna pulled out her scissors. It was a great haircut but much shorter than when I went in. She said, “Look. You can fluff it with your fingers.” I’ve lost myself in the work and my hair may never be the same.


Lost in the Work

The above watercolor of Joseph F. Smith is portraying him as a young 15-year-old missionary standing on the Honolulu dock. He left the dry desert air of Utah for the humid air of Hawaii. This watercolor  was painted after a visit to Hanauma Bay and was influenced greatly by the color of the ocean there. There is a benefit to visiting a place when you want to do a painting. Although I can’t visit the Honolulu port in 1852, I can see the amazing color of the ocean today and include it in my painting.


Ezra Taft Benson’s Book of Mormon.

So we have many opportunities here on this mission and they are not all involved in education at the college. Ezra Taft Benson was the 13th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a beloved prophet. He loved the Book of Mormon. His emphasis was on the blessings that reading the Book Of Mormon brings into our lives. It testifies of hope, and faith in Jesus Christ and how that hope becomes an anchor to our soul. We were able to hold President Benson’s Book of Mormon that he studied and read from and that anchored his soul. The sailing ship in the top picture had an anchor that kept it safely secured. Faith in our life keeps us securely attached to the goodness and example of Christ.

Ether 12:4

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

Church of Jesus




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