'Passage by Faith' features a collection of whimsical, thought-provoking art by James C. Christensen
But if he painted it now, after many years of marriage, what would it look like?
“She’d be in the back paddling,” James Christensen said.
For Christensen, art hasn’t been something he could do on demand.
“If I force it,” he said, “it fails.”
He would sketch — he’s up to Vol. 59 in sketchbooks — and from those ideas would come the paintings.
When he was an LDS bishop, he got a sketchbook that was black and formal-looking to use as he sat on the stand.
“Then I got busted,” Christensen said with a smile. “The next week on the back of the program was a box titled ‘Bishop’s Doodle Area.’ ”
There are times when the paintings help him work through an issue.
“I use these (paintings) to solve problems for myself,” he said. “They’ve been very personal pieces.”
One of his paintings, “Twilight,” shows a couple carrying a much-older couple on their backs. It was inspired by the time when he and his wife, Carole, cared for her parents for four years.
The painting shows the older man giving his wife a flower — symbolizing how love endures.
Not everything in his paintings is symbolic, like the fish on a string in “The Burden of the Responsible Man.”
“It’s not pondering the meaning of existence,” Christensen said. “But what is he going to do with it?”
Christensen’s “home art studio” has moved around from the dining room to the garage to an unfinished basement, which he shared with a gerbil.
Now he has a dedicated studio above their multicar garage.
“I hope at the end of my life,” Christensen said, “I’m not judged by a single painting, but by a body of work.”
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