LDS Art Competition Entry

Oil painting of New Testament Scene at Galilee by Jameson Gardner Art

I found out in January that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (of which I am a member) was holding an international art competition. Submissions had been open since late Summer sometime, and the final deadline was February 27th. With the holidays and some other things I was working on, I didn’t get started ’til February. By which, I mean I didn’t even start sketching ideas until February.

The theme for the contest is “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus”. With a theme like that, your mind automatically goes to the New Testament. I didn’t want to rehash a scene that has already been done often and probably better. So, I was first thinking about doing the storm on Galilee before Jesus is awakened and title it something about faith before the miracle.

Brainstorm sketches for lds art competition by Jameson Gardner

I liked the idea, but wasn’t really feeling it at the time, so after a bit I moved on to something more figurative. I knew I didn’t have time to do something super detailed or extensive. I thought perhaps I could do a simple version of Christ with the Samaritan Woman at the well. The sketch below was for that concept, I just hadn’t drawn the woman.

Sketch of Jesus at Well by Jameson Gardner

After some discussion with my mother and sister, I abandoned that idea too. We discussed depicting scenes from other scripture or modern missionary work, but I finally settled in on a scene showing a woman inviting an acquaintance to come listen to Jesus who is disembarking from a boat in the background. It would embrace the theme without having to rehash any of the most popular bible stories.

This is the preliminary sketch:

Preliminary sketch for New Testament Painting by Jameson Gardner

With the composition decided, two of my sisters posed for reference photos. By that time, I was within a week and a half of the deadline. I went ahead and drew right on my gessoed panel, sealed that with matte medium and got painting.

Drawing on panel for oil painting by Jameson Gardner

I didn’t really have time for much more than a first pass at most of the painting. However, there were some areas where I had to come back and tweak—this girl’s face for one. I shared the in progress image on the left on Instagram and quickly realized I wanted to fix some things. Her eye was one of the main things bugging me—I’m glad I adjusted it.

Comparison of first pass with finished face by Jameson Gardner

The sequence below also shows how I pretty much had to paint one area and move on. This time constraint made it hard for me to build up the texture that I wanted since I didn’t have time for regular oils to dry before glazing. So, in the lower third I had to paint a blobby liquin mixture that mostly dried by the next day so that I could paint thinly over that and have enough time to glaze over that. Neither my usual nor my favorite way to work.

Four work in progress shots of New Testament Oil Painting by Jameson Gardner Art

In the end, I got it done for the deadline. I’m still kind of undecided on how I feel, though. Sometimes I look at it and think “you’re a failure” and other times I think “hey, not bad”. I hope some of you will enjoy it, and we will let the jurors of the competition be the ones to pass final judgment.