With its many attractions, displays, products, goods and services, Deseret Book's flagship store in downtown Salt Lake City has become a destination venue in and of itself. Among its many offerings, it provides entertainment, enlightenment and tasty treats.
One of its current attractions is a display of artwork by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve.
The display materialized after Sheri Dew, President and CEO of Deseret Book, was in Elder Scott's office one day and saw some of his artwork.
"Not only are his paintings beautiful but they are also a window into his life and his heart," she said. "In many respects, they're autobiographical and show some of the scenes and settings that have touched him enough to try to capture them on canvas."
Sister Dew persuaded Elder Scott to let Deseret Book host a display of 15 of his paintings, which will be in place through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. The paintings are for display only; they are not for sale.
"It is such a unique privilege, and truly an honor, for us to be able to display them for all to see in our downtown store," she said.
In an interview with the Church News, Elder Scott said that about 50 years ago he went with his wife, Jeanene, to visit a friend who was a commercial artist specializing in watercolors.
"It was fascinating to me," he said. "I decided I wanted to try that. I did, and I was not very successful. Then I heard of an art teacher who was coming to town. I took four lessons from him, which equipped me with greatly improved skills and understanding about art."
Elder Scott said that he discovered that becoming involved in creating art "opened my eyes to the beauty around me. There is so much in the world to see if you look with an inquisitive mind."
He learned another important lesson: "You don't have to be an expert to try something. One of the greatest blessings that come from trying something like painting is to appreciate the work of those who do it very well."
Elder Scott said that when he paints, he gets all kinds of ideas that have nothing to do with painting. "I've found that when you're doing something like painting, a creative part of your brain opens; you gain insight and perspective about many things. For me, painting clears my mind. I think we discover we're capable of things we've never dreamed of."
Elder Scott said he hopes that as people view his artwork they will be inspired to try something new. "Write a poem, paint a picture – try to do something you've never done before," he said.