Yesterday I attended our Stake Women's Conference, and since I have been away for the month of February, I had no idea what was on the program. When I walked in and saw the poster in the doorway I stopped in my tracks. The guest speaker was Michael Albrechtsen, the artist who painted the mural for the Kansas City Temple, to be dedicated on May 6. Then I had the moment of relief--What if I had not come? He could not tell us too much about the mural itself, because it would have hit the blogosphere before the afternoon, and, understandably, guests need to experience it first at the open house. The two things that most impressed me from his presentation are,
1. After he got the commission to do the mural, Bro. Albrechtsen thought that the church would keep close tabs on him and his work to see that he was meeting expectations, but that was not the case. He was told to pray about what should go in the painting and follow the inspiration that came. They never checked up on him. I learned that spiritual preparation and devotion bring freedom.
2. He showed us some other landscapes he has done and how he puts religious symbolism in them. One in particular, The Heaven's Three Degrees of Glory, (You can see it on his website under "Religious Paintings.") uses snow to represent the Degrees of Glory. That painting hangs in the Finland Temple. As I read scriptures, I'm going to start paying close attention to the use of nature to represent spiritual things.