“Images of Christ,” New Era, Dec. 2002, 20
We each have a mental picture of what we think the Savior looks like. But if we painted pictures of Him, they would all be different. We don’t really know what He looks like, but we can come to know His perfect love for us and draw closer to Him as we celebrate His birth.
Some of the paintings of the Savior in this article will be familiar to you. Others will be new. These Latter-day Saint artists have used paintbrushes to express their testimonies and love for the Savior. Although you might not be able to paint beautiful pictures of the Savior, you can resolve to have His image in your countenances (see Alma 5:14).
I have always felt that the art is a reflection of what the artist believes. My testimony has been personally strengthened as I have had the opportunity to portray events in the life of the Savior and the history of the Restoration. I know that He lives and that His work is divine.
How do I embody my feelings about that? You have to find a way to get the feelings of your heart out on your canvas.
I can boldly bear my witness to the truth as the Spirit has borne witness to me. I know that Jesus lives and is my Redeemer. I know that His Father is mine also and hears me when I call upon Him, with gratitude for daily help and with a penitent heart. Some have asked whether I have had a vision or similar spiritual manifestation that forms the basis for my depiction of the Son of God. My eyes have never seen, nor my ears heard, yet in my heart I know, and it is enough.
I don’t remember ever not having a testimony of Jesus Christ, but it wasn’t until I arrived in the mission field that I began a serious study of His life, especially in the Book of Mormon. At that time, I truly began to feel the burning in my heart that comes from a sure knowledge that Jesus is the Savior of the world and the Son of God.
All of my life I have wanted to give as much of my time and talent as possible to sharing my testimony through art. I sincerely hope my love for the Savior is evident in my art and that it will somehow strengthen the testimonies of those who view it.
I feel no better peace than when I am bearing witness of Christ through a paintbrush. The ability to speak my feelings is not one of my strong points. But a gracious Heavenly Father has blessed me with the ability to bear a witness of my Savior. In reflecting on my testimony and the effects of the arts in my life, I hope to have shown all brothers and sisters of Christ that I know Jesus is the Christ and that He lives.
Just as a light set up on a hill serves as a beacon to weary travelers, so Jesus Christ stands as a shining example to all the world, showing us a better way to peace and happiness. His light illuminates the path of life, leading us along the straight and narrow way.
Those who press on, with their gaze fixed upon the light of Christ, have their own lights kindled within. He is real, and yes, He lives!
I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and my Lord. I know He is the Son of our Heavenly Father. I think of Him as the one who gave His life and sacrificed Himself for my sins so that I might be resurrected and live with God and my family after I die. The most ever-present thing about my testimony now is that I feel His presence in my life daily. I can never deny His existence and His supreme love for me. I love Him with all of my heart.
I do not know what He looks like, of course, so I do not attempt to make Him look the same each time I paint Him. Every painting portrays a different event in Christ’s life and is an attempt to express a different aspect of the Savior’s personality.
I know my efforts are very inadequate, but it is nevertheless an honor to try and capture, in some small way, some of the greatness of our Savior, and to express, perhaps, a glimmer of His personality and express a feeling that may touch someone.
Christ is my hero. I love to read about Him and His life. It is humbling to try to portray Him in art.
My art has been greatly influenced by the guidance given in my patriarchal blessing. It gave direction for my work. Early in my career, my wife and young daughter were in a car accident. At that time I felt as if the Holy Ghost showered me with comfort and God’s love. This love is what I try to express in my paintings of the Savior.
My mother instilled within me a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ at an early age. When I heard the gospel and joined the Church at age 25, it was like finding the missing piece of a puzzle. Today, I still carry with me that faith I had as a boy. But now with wisdom, maturity, and experience that faith takes on a deeper and more profound understanding of our Savior’s life and mission.
Minerva Teichert (1888–1976)
“I have a testimony of the gospel. Goodness, it’s the first thing in my life” (Interview by Robert Conrad and Frederick Teichert, Feb. 6, 1974).
The Lord does open doors when we knock. Sometimes the door we had been seeking isn’t the one that’s opened, but the right door is usually the one that swings wide before us, even tho’ we may not recognize it until afterward (Letter to her daughter Laurie Teichert Eastwood).