Nephi and Laban

Oil on canvas, 24×30″, 1999, Personal illustration.
Merit Award Winner, Fifth International Art Competition, Museum of Church History and Art, Salt Lake City, Utah.
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Nephi and Laban
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Young Nephi ponders what to do with the man who has done so much harm to his family, whom he found drunk and helpless in an alley at night. From the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi chapter 4:5-19.

Background

The inspiration for this painting was circumstance, which is another word for the Lord choosing to work through someone. Nephi described himself as being “a man large in stature“. A missionary was assigned our ward who had what I imagined to be the right look. After securing permission from his mission president, I asked him to pose in one of Nephi’s most iconic moments, an Abraham and Isaac experience where the young prophet fully committing to doing The Lord’s will. The rest of the process was finding another model; getting appropriate reference material, props, and costumes; setting things up; lighting the scene; photographing it; painting it; and telling others.

This painting was the first of my string of successful submissions to the LDS Church’s international art competitions and my most ambitious project to that time. It won a merit award and was met with so many positive professional and audience comments that it grounded my confidence and helped pave the way for my other works.