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"Although almond blossoms have long been used as a symbol of rebirth and renewal, I was actually drawing on Old Testament imagery. When the 12 princes of Israel were bickering over positions of power, Moses invited each to leave their staff overnight in the tent of Testimony. In the Morning Aaron's staff had sprouted almond blossoms, a clear symbol of where God's living power would reside. This painting is a celebration of the opportunity for that same power and beauty grow in our own homes and lives." — Mary Summerhays
I believe that art should have a redeeming effect in our lives, that beauty has a divine power to transform the harsh realities of this world to gainful experience. This transformation, found in story, is a reality our souls crave; it is a process idealized by one scholar in the words, "blessed are the sensemakers."
I am particularily fascinated by the unique and enlivening beliefs of the Restoration, and my inspiration tends to spring from the powerful messages found there. Because I grew up in Illinois, Nauvoo is particularly close to my heart, and I am constantly looking for excuses to return to the city of Joseph. I work as a member of the Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family Foundation and as a charter member of their educational outreach program. It is thrilling for me to support the family’s efforts to gather Joseph Smith’s descendants and restore family properties.
My husband Jim is a fascinating writer and philospher who works for BYU Studies, and is a source of constant and unpredictable insight. Since having a family is one of the crowning concepts of the Restoration, I delight in the idea that mothering is an abstract art form—what the elitists call "conceptual art"—with cosmic significance. My truest medium consists of chocolate chips, brownies and my 5 cuties. As a young kid I studied for years with Lorand Folland. I studied Art at BYU and apprenticed with J. Kirk Richards, received awards from Museums and competitions, and illustrated for documentaries on BYUTV, but no where does my art hang with more pleasure than as a backdrop for my little chocolate eaters. — Mary Summerhays
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