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Mormon apostle: 'Open eyes to beauty'

Elder Scott's art is a window into his life and heart

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.

Elder Scott's wife was the model for "Jeanene in Pioneer Dress."
Elder Scott's wife was the model for "Jeanene in Pioneer Dress." Photo: Image courtesy of Elder Richard G. Scott

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."

Linda Howard, art concierge for Deseret Book, helps a customer with the self-guided tour of paintings by Elder Richard G. Scott. A display of 15 of his paintings will be in the downtown store  throughout the holiday season.
Linda Howard, art concierge for Deseret Book, helps a customer with the self-guided tour of paintings by Elder Richard G. Scott. A display of 15 of his paintings will be in the downtown store throughout the holiday season. Photo: Tom Smart, Deseret News

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."

Elder Richard G. Scott stands by painting he did of his wife, Jeanene, who passed away in 1995.
Elder Richard G. Scott stands by painting he did of his wife, Jeanene, who passed away in 1995. Photo: Gerry Avant, Church News

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."

"Chinese Man" was painted for President Gordon B. Hinckley because of his love for Asian people.
"Chinese Man" was painted for President Gordon B. Hinckley because of his love for Asian people. Photo: Image courtesy of Elder Richard G. Scott

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.

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The model for "Little Daisy Girl" is the daughter of Elder John B. Dickson of the Seventy and his wife, Delores J. Dickson.
The model for "Little Daisy Girl" is the daughter of Elder John B. Dickson of the Seventy and his wife, Delores J. Dickson. Photo: Image courtesy of Elder Richard G. Scott
"Panama" preserves a memory from a visit to that country.
"Panama" preserves a memory from a visit to that country. Photo: Image courtesy of Elder Richard G. Scott
"Bolivian Boy at the Fence" is based on a boy Elder and Sister Scott met while traveling in Bolivia. The boy had a severe skin disease with sores all over his face; his eyes were painfully closed. Elder Scott gave the boy his sunglasses to help ease the pain.
"Bolivian Boy at the Fence" is based on a boy Elder and Sister Scott met while traveling in Bolivia. The boy had a severe skin disease with sores all over his face; his eyes were painfully closed. Elder Scott gave the boy his sunglasses to help ease the pain. Photo: Image courtesy of Elder Richard G. Scott
Elder and Sister Scott met "The Bread Lady" in Morocco.
Elder and Sister Scott met "The Bread Lady" in Morocco. Photo: Image courtesy of Elder Richard G. Scott
"African Plain" conveys the presence of beauty even in desolation.
"African Plain" conveys the presence of beauty even in desolation. Photo: Image courtesy of Elder Richard G. Scott
Painting titled "Barns," captures a setting in rural Maryland.
Painting titled "Barns," captures a setting in rural Maryland. Photo: Image courtesy of Elder Richard G. Scott
"Campfire at Sunset" conveys peace and comfort through obedience to the teachings of the Savior.
"Campfire at Sunset" conveys peace and comfort through obedience to the teachings of the Savior. Photo: Image courtesy of Elder Richard G. Scott
"Surfer" conveys the need to be aware of surrounding circumstance. The gigantic wave represents trials and temptations.
"Surfer" conveys the need to be aware of surrounding circumstance. The gigantic wave represents trials and temptations. Photo: Image courtesy of Elder Richard G. Scott
"Huntington Parkway" is one of 15 paintings by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve on display at Deseret Book's flagship store in downtown Salt Lake City.  "Huntington Parkway" is of the street on which Elder Scott lived in Bethesda, Md.  His collection of paintings will be displayed at Deseret Book through the holidays.
"Huntington Parkway" is one of 15 paintings by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve on display at Deseret Book's flagship store in downtown Salt Lake City. "Huntington Parkway" is of the street on which Elder Scott lived in Bethesda, Md. His collection of paintings will be displayed at Deseret Book through the holidays. Photo: Image courtesy of Elder Richard G. Scott

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