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Elder Richard G. Scott artwork goes on display

By Carole Mikita | Posted - Nov. 9, 2010 at 5:23 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Deseret Book has a new art exhibit in its downtown flagship store. The man who created the works is very well-known to Latter-day Saints, but not as an artist.

A campfire at sunset, the African plain; Latter-day Saint Apostle Elder Richard G. Scott is sharing his watercolors with the public.

Elder Richard G. Scott
Forty years ago, Elder Richard G. Scott became fascinated with a friend's ability to use brushes, watercolor, and paper to create beauty. Something inside of him said, "Try it," but his more rational self responded, "You've never had any artistic ability; all you will do is prove that you can't paint anything." Fortunately, the desire to try persisted. He got a few books on watercolor from the library, bought an inexpensive set of paints and a brush, and on a sheet of ordinary paper tried to paint a tree, then other objects. Later lessons enhanced his understanding and helped him grow, until now, many years later, his experiences with painting have brought great personal satisfaction.

"What's interesting is that even through his own busy schedule, he's done this as a way of kind of his own hobby, and yet documenting some of the places he's been and the messages he's picked up from them," said Deseret News Vice President Jeff Clark.

"It actually started with a presentation that Elder Scott did to a number of authors and artists in the spring," Clark continued, "He talked about the importance of creativity and stepping outside of our comfort zones a little bit and trying something new. One discussion led to another, and at one point Sheri Dew asked him -- she had seen some of his art -- and said, 'Is there any way we could share that?' She asked him, and he thought about it for awhile, and then one thing came to another and we were able to have these prints made of his originals so that we could share them with the public."

By profession, Elder Scott was a nuclear engineer. Forty years ago, he and his wife were visiting some friends, and he was amazed at how this other person had been able to take a blank piece of paper and watercolors and make something beautiful of it. So, eventually he began taking lessons.

Elder Scott writes: "Creativity can engender a spirit of gratitude for life and for what the Lord has woven into your being. Creativity gives a renewal, a spark of enthusiasm, a zest for life that we all need."

The exhibit is actually a walking tour through Deseret Book. You pick up a brochure, look at the number on the watercolor, and then find the story behind the artwork.

Richard G. Scott Art Exhibit
Downtown Salt Lake Deseret Book Store
45 W. South Temple
801-328-8191
Hours: Monday-Saturday
10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

One of the paintings is of a surfer off the coast of Brazil.

"You wouldn't think a member of the Twelve [Apostles] would paint something like that, and yet the story behind it is just a fascinating story on why it was important to him," Clark says.

Elder Scott says gigantic waves represent trials and temptations that we can be unaware of.

Elder Scott's favorite painting is of his beloved wife, Jeanene; the original hangs in his office. She died in 1995 and her portrait gives Elder Scott comfort.

The watercolors are copies of the originals, and they are not for sale. The "Elder Richard G. Scott Art Exhibit" will remain in Deseret Book's main store in Salt Lake through the holidays.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

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Carole Mikita

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