New Portrait Completed

Joseph Angel
Click to enlarge

Completed a 16×20 inch oil portrait this week. Took about 5 hours.

New Portrait Begun

Joseph Portrait
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First pass on the darks on my latest painting. I will enter this portrait into the next Portrait Society of America international competition. You should enter your work, too. Oil on canvas, 16 x 20″.

Four New Paintings

Today I released four new paintings. I unveiled them at a conference for women in Annapolis where I spoke about my illustration process, inspiration and techniques. They have been in development since early 2014.

Touching Faith
TOUCHING FAITH: A woman reaches for healing from The Savior in faith, hope, and last-chance desperation. Click for more information.


OFFERING: The Savior blesses the sacramental bread. Click for more information.


EMMAUS: Two disciples suddenly recognize the resurrected Lord at he breaks bread with them. Click for more information.


Looking Toward Bethlehem Oil Painting Progress Shot
APPROACHING BETHLEHEM: Mary and Joseph view the last few steps in their journey toward bringing The Savior into the world. Click for more information.

In the Garden

In the Garden
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Oil on Gessobord
18×36 inches
February 2014
Accepted into the Tenth International Art Competition, Museum of Church History and Art, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Purchase Prints

This painting shows the Son of God bearing the sins of all mankind, the supreme example of His love for us. In the Garden of Gethsemane he “fell on his face, and prayed”. Mark describes him falling on the ground and Luke describes him as kneeling, but whatever the position we know that he prayed in agony. In my view, no position says surrender, pleading, and pain like flattening oneself to the earth, face down in total humiliation. The strain he is under is reflected in his face, darkened by the stress-related rush of blood.

This Atonement began in the Garden of Gethsemane, as told in Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, and Luke 22:39-46. It ended on the cross when he paid the ultimate price for our sins.

The Easter Paintings
Why does this Christ have short hair?

Next in the 2014 Easter series: “Comforted”   >>


A Christmas Song for Fathers: “The Hero of Christmas”

This story was submitted by a friend who was affected by the painting “While Mary Sleeps”. You can read other comments on the painting’s web page.

Jim McFerson felt strongly enough about my painting While Mary Sleeps to write a song about it. Below I included the story behind the song, edited from an email he sent me on 30 December 2013, and the lyrics. Jim also sent me the lead sheet for the song, which is still in development. I played it and love it. When it is finished I will try to feature it here.

I also included my response to his story below.

-Lester Yocum

First Message

Hi, Lester,

The first time I saw your painting “While Mary Sleeps” in a painting contest, I was very touched. I am the father of five children and have ten grandchildren plus one more due in January. I love babies! I appreciated the way you depicted Joseph just like any other father doing his fatherly duties. I believe that Joseph has never received the proper credit he deserves for his major role in the birth and upbringing of Jesus. Being an amateur song writer with about ten church songs to my credit, I decided to write a song about Joseph entitled “The Hero of Christmas.” In my opinion, although Jesus is the meaning of Christmas, Joseph is the hero of Christmas because of his active role in the Savior’s birth and as his teacher, mentor, and foster parent.

The lyrics tell the story:

The Hero of Christmas

by Jim McFerson (2013)

What if Mary were alone
When it came time to give birth?
To the king who needs no throne
To the sacred Savior of the earth

Mary was the perfect choice
To be mother of God’s son
Joseph kept a silent voice
Knowing nothing of what had begun

When his Mary showed with child
Joseph suffered shame and scorn
But his fears were reconciled
When an angel told him who’d be born

Who was the hero of Christmas?
Who played a prominent role?
Who was the shepherd of Mary?
Who was this sensitive soul?
Who was the hero of Christmas?

Joseph helped her on the way
Found her shelter at the inn
Where the ancient prophets say
Jesus’ mortal mission would begin

Joseph loved the precious lad
Treating Him as if his own
Serving as His faithful dad
Raising Him ‘til He was fully grown

Who was the hero of Christmas?
Who played a prominent role?
Who was the teacher of Jesus?
Who was this generous soul?
Joseph, the parent of Jesus

Joseph’s royal pedigree
Might have made him Judah’s king
But his love of family
Was by far the most important thing

Joseph was the chosen one
To be mentor to the Lord
The great service he has done
Will one day earn him a great reward

He is the hero of Christmas
He played a prominent role
He adored Mary and Jesus
He is a glorious soul
Joseph, the hero of Christmas

Lyrics copyright © 2013 James McFerson,

My Response


I am honored. I would never have imagined that someone would create a song based on one of my paintings. I am continually amazed at the impact it has.

I love the concept. When you come down to it, Joseph was the one chosen by God to protect and raise The Son, so he would definitely qualify as the hero of Christmas. Marvelous thought; well done.



Positive Stories

Sharing uplifting stories is how we spread joy, gratitude and hope around the world and combat the tide of hopelessness and fear. I’ve received several messages about the positive impact the painting “While Mary Sleeps” has had. I have compiled them for you. I hope you enjoy them and can share your own. Thanks for reading.

-Lester Yocum

On the Cross

Oil on Gessobord
18×36 inches
December 2013

On the Cross
On the Cross. Click to enlarge.
Painted over three days in 2013, this image depicts the Son of God bearing the weight of the world as he endures the most humiliating and painful death that man can inflict, and much more, all out of His love for us.

I created this piece to inspire contemplation and gratitude, telling the story through suggestion rather than focusing on the gore and ugliness so natural in such a brutal experience. While flagellation and crucifixion are monstrous, I believe that thoughtfulness changes lives more effectively than shock. The viewer can take it from there.

This is the first in a series of paintings depicting the death and resurrection of the Savior. The second is “In the Garden”.

The Easter Series of Paintings
Why does this Christ have short hair?

Next in the 2014 Easter series: “Triumphant”   >>