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Nativity scenes depicted by LDS artists

Published: Thursday, Dec. 20 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

"We all wanted this to happen and we all needed this to happen, so we all would have had an interest to see him," Kershisnik said. "Maybe we did see him. Maybe we got to be in the crowd of angels because we depended on his work."

"Angels of Christmas" by Greg Olsen

In 1993, Greg Olsen painted the Nativity in a different perspective by using children setting up a Nativity scene in their home. He used oil paint on canvas to create his artwork.

Olsen mentioned on his website that he has "always been fascinated by paintings that create mood, emotion and atmosphere." He hopes his paintings will resonate and remind us what is truly important in our own lives.

To describe the story of his art piece, Olsen created a poem:

Nativity figures from their box are retrieved,

Near a crackling fire on a Christmas Eve.

Each is unwrapped with excited haste,

Then slowly, carefully, thoughtfully placed.

The scenes come to life when viewed by a child,

The babe seems to stir, and the mother just smiled.

Safeguarded here and kept far from danger,

The baby is kissed and laid in a manger.

The night is for children,

and their spirits can lift us,

They are the magic, the guardians,

the "Angels of Christmas."

"Behold the Lamb of God" by Walter Rane

For his painting "Behold the Lamb of God," Walter Rane used oil paint and painted on a board instead of canvas. It was completed around 10 years ago.

Rane wanted to create a deep feeling of family intimacy through this painting. He made the painting as realistic as possible in terms of how the scene might have looked after the birth of baby Jesus.

Compared to other Nativity paintings, Rane said his differs by the way he depicts Mary.

"Mary isn't sitting there glowing like you see in other paintings," Rane said. "Mary's experience here on Earth was just like any other human's, so I feel this painting elevates her even more to know she went through an actual human experience of giving birth."

"Holy Infant So Tender" by J. Kirk Richards

Artist J. Kirk Richards used many mixed medias in his piece "Holy Infant So Tender" as well as in his other pieces found in his recently released book, "The Nativity." Some of them include acrylic paint, gold leaf, oil paint and even the texture of paper towels for the shepherd's clothing.

Even though the scenery and clothing is not historically accurate, Richards focused more on his own personal interpretation of the story.

"The textural, warm, soft feeling is what I imagine when I think about the Nativity. Many people have felt those feelings for centuries in remembering Christ's birth, so I hope this painting adds onto the feelings we already feel."

"Silent Night" by Liz Lemon Swindle

In 2007, Liz Lemon Swindle produced her painting "Silent Night," which was created with oil paints on a linen canvas. She has produced other pieces that revolve around the Nativity, as well.

In this particular painting, Swindle wanted the manger to reflect the actual place Jesus was born in, a cave. She also wanted to include animals but not have them be the main focus.

After going to Africa and having a reality check, this particular painting has special meaning to Swindle.

"I have always been intrigued by the Nativity, but that trip made me realize how important it is for us to get our perspectives in order," said Swindle.

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