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Christ and the Fishermen (Lovest Thou Me More Than These?)

March 12, 2012

The title of this post is also the title of the painting pictured below. The painting depicts this scene from the New Testament, particularly verses 15-17.

Christ and the Fishermen (Lovest Thou Me More Than These?) by J. Kirk Richards

Christ and the Fishermen (Lovest Thou Me More Than These?) by J. Kirk Richards

The painting depicts the fishermen tending to their nets. The resurrected Christ urges them to leave their focus on worldly pursuits in favor of a spiritual ministry.

The sunrise in the background reflects off the water and is reminiscent of a sunset. As the sun sets on Christ’s mortal ministry, it rises on the ministry of his apostles, who will take on the challenge of growing His fledgling church. Their future service will reflect Christ’s past service.

The painting will be on display at the Church Museum of History and Art through October. Every three years, the museum hosts a competition, inviting artists all over the world to submit spiritually-themed artwork. This painting is my submission. There will be an opening reception this Friday, March 16th, from 6pm to 9pm at the museum. If you’re extra-interested, the event begins at 6pm with an awards ceremony in the Assembly Hall. It usually lasts about 45 minutes, after which the crowd in the hall moves over to the museum to view the artwork. The event makes a great date night if you like to people-watch and see some really great spiritually-themed art pieces.

I’ve included images of my painting in various stages of progress for those who are interested. The photography and lighting differs for each of these images, so a direct comparison is not easily made.

Working sketch for Christ and the Fishermen (Lovest Thou Me More Than These?) by J. Kirk Richards

Working sketch for Christ and the Fishermen (Lovest Thou Me More Than These?) by J. Kirk Richards

You can see in the working sketch how many different figures were drawn and re-drawn–looking for ideal gestures and positioning within the compositional rectangle.

Color sketch for Christ and the Fishermen (Lovest Thou Me More Than These?) by J. Kirk Richards

Color sketch for Christ and the Fishermen (Lovest Thou Me More Than These?) by J. Kirk Richards

Here’s the color sketch. I wanted to base the composition on a gradient of color–a smooth horizontal bands of color.

Work in progress.

An early version of the painting shows the addition of bright red fire coals and a man on the right hand side. If I remember correctly, those were added to bring the viewer’s eye into the lower part of the composition and up around the right side, as well as to tell more of the scriptural story.

Work in progress.

The bold red of the fire in the previous version was too strong–particularly when the painting is seen in person. This version punches up the contrast and saturation in the sun and sky while playing down the intensity of the fire. Unfortunately, I felt like those changes went to far. I also missed the nice flatness of color from the previous version.

Christ and the Fishermen (Lovest Thou Me More Than These?) by J. Kirk Richards

Final version

In the final version I tried to bring back some of the flatness and boldness of the coals, emphasize a few things, and make other things more subtle.

In the end, none of these images are quite representative of the original. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit the museum and see the painting in person.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Jed permalink
    March 12, 2012 4:08 pm

    You win.

  2. March 12, 2012 4:13 pm

    It’s beautiful, Kirk! I wish I could be there.

  3. Eva Syphus permalink
    March 12, 2012 5:40 pm

    very beautiful! I wish I could be there too.

  4. bill permalink
    March 12, 2012 8:01 pm

    Within seconds of seeing it, Kelsey looked around the house to see where it would fit šŸ˜‰

  5. Carole Smith permalink
    March 12, 2012 9:07 pm

    Kirk, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing your progression in developing this painting and cannot wait to see the original. I won’t be in SLC to visit with you later this week at the Church History Museum, but will be happily viewing your pieces in St. George. I do appreciate your blog!


  6. Greg Newbold permalink
    March 13, 2012 2:20 pm

    I’ll see you there! I got a piece in the show too.

  7. Felicia Barnes permalink
    March 13, 2012 8:55 pm

    I am not sure how to say this, but here goes: I love your work because it delivers a spiritual uplift using true principles of art — it is truly beautiful — color, composition, gesture, it all works together. I hope that made sense. I hope that you will have prints of this available to buy, for those of us who can’t yet afford the real thing.

  8. Annalea permalink
    March 14, 2012 10:59 pm

    Do you ever offer prints of you work? I know this one could (in all probability) never be in my home, but this work really speaks to me. The composition, especially. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  9. Connie permalink
    March 20, 2012 3:28 pm

    I now have a reason to drive up to SLC (from the southern end of Utah County)! I love how the fire looks inviting yet the attention is given to Christ and how the importance/urgency of the event emphasized with the setting sun.

  10. Richard Oman permalink
    March 26, 2012 10:25 pm

    You could say Christ was going to come. He came. He died on the cross. He was resurrected. He will come again. Or one could absorb Handel’s Messiah. It is about matching the message and the vessel.
    Kirk, you are a significant artistic and spiritual asset for our time. Thanks for developing your talents and being who you are.

  11. Linda Nelson permalink
    April 3, 2013 6:44 pm

    I’m looking for art for my church’s Stations of the Light and wondered if you have prints of this work for sale? It’s really beautiful!

  12. February 20, 2014 2:21 am

    Reblogged this on maranathayoga and commented:
    Beautiful painting!

  13. Kathy Dummer permalink
    May 3, 2015 2:48 pm

    This picture depicts my pastors’ favorite bible verse. Do you sell prints of this…I have been looking for an image to frame and give to him.
    Thank you

  14. Kathy Dummer permalink
    August 9, 2015 9:20 pm

    Not trying to bug you, but are you any closer to having a print of this painting?
    Thank you

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