Book review: 'Passage by Faith: Exploring the Art of James C. Christensen'

Published: Saturday, Dec. 1 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

"Passage by Faith" features the art of James C. Christensen and his experiences as he created each painting.

Deseret Book

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"PASSAGE BY FAITH: Exploring the Inspirational Art of James C. Christensen," by James C. Christensen, Deseret Book, $34.99, 125 pages (nf)

James C. Christensen’s art varies from religious to scenic to ones that are obviously symbolic that might not have just one meaning to the beholders. And he’s done a self-portrait, too.

Each has a starting point, and many elements of each painting are intentional.

“I am more interested in the feelings of the moment than I am in the narrative of the action of the story,” Christensen writes in the introduction his new book. “I want to communicate the meaning of the event, what I feel when I read or hear or ponder that story.”

In “Passage by Faith: Exploring the Inspirational Art of James C. Christensen,” he shares more than 60 of his creations and explains the paintings, what inspired them and a few of his feelings as he captured the moment in art.

Some feature his hunch-backed Everyman who could be anyone at any point, including the title painting “Passage by Faith” and “The Burden of the Responsible Man.” Others represent biblical scenes like “The Rich Young Ruler,” “Gethsemane” and “The Widow’s Mite,” images and people. Others are from difference series he has done, including “Winged Words” and “The Enclosed Garden Series.”

And there are others from the broad range of his experiences, travels and talent, including “Allegory at Algarve” about noticing the big pictures for smaller pursuits, “Twilight” about caring for older relatives and “Madonna with Guys” about raising boys.

Christensen, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has served in a variety of assignments and callings in the church, and his experiences, including successes and inadequacies as he fulfilled those callings, are part of the background of several paintings. Others come from his life’s experiences and are deeply personal.

Quotes from the scriptures, general authorities and others are interspersed throughout.

It’s a book that is not only for his fans, but for those who appreciate art or want to understand the stories behind his art. It’s also a thoughtful and thought-provoking compilation of personal experiences shown through words and art.

Email: rappleye@desnews.com

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