A man who had recently visited the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem came to me and described the personal feelings he had experienced while he was there. He said that as he stepped out of the darkness of the tomb and into the sunlight, he was overwhelmed as he though of Christ’s resurrection. He wanted me to recreate those feelings in a painting of the Savior stepping out of the tomb and into the early morning sun. He commissioned me to do this painting for him because he wanted Jesus to resemble the Red Robe painting (The Lord Jesus Christ), which was his favorite painting of the Savior.
I wanted this piece to be accurate and to capture the feelings he described to me, so I built a tomb door opening in my living room out of 2x4s to have a model step out of for the painting.
Many people have enjoyed this painting and some have commented to me that the placement of his hands is meaningful to them. One hand is behind Him, touching the opening of the tomb, and the other hand reaches forward. It is as if he is putting the tomb and death behind him and reaching ahead into eternity.
A couple years after I finished this painting, I was able to visit the tomb in Jerusalem. I thought about the man whose feelings for that place were so deep that he went to the effort to search me out and find me to paint it for him. I understood those feelings as I visited the tomb and felt what he had described for me. This was a sacred place, where one of the most significant events in all of history took place. I hope I have been able to capture that feeling with this painting.
About the Author
Del Parson grew up in Rexburg, Idaho where his father was an art professor at Ricks College and his mother taught second grade. His father often took his nine children on painting excursion campouts. He found his father’s love of art to be contagious, as did two of his brothers, who became artists as well.
After earning his MFA from BrighamYoung University, Parson became a gallery and portrait artist. In 1978, a tragedy changed his life. His wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. He felt the Spirit of God helping him through the tough times and began to paint religious subjects to give others the sense of hope that he found and to share with them his love of life.
Parson now lives in Utah with his wife and six children. His paintings of Christ evoke a strong emotional response from viewers, and both his religious and historical paintings have received numerous regional and national awards. Parson’s work has been exhibited at the Allied Artists of America, National Academy of Design, Knickerbocker Artist, American Artists Professional League, and the Amarillo Rotary Show.
“When you feel inspired,” says Parson, “a painting takes on a life of its own. When that happens, the experience is pure joy. It is moments like these that an artist loves best.”