“Light Your Fire”
Age 16, Austria
Oil on canvas
“When I heard the art competition theme was from D&C 115:4–6 ‘Arise and shine forth,’ so that our ‘light may be a standard for the nations,’ it made me think about Lehi’s dream of the dense fog, in which so many lost their way” (see 1 Nephi 8) says 16-year-old Vivenne Meissner. Vivienne wanted to portray the story of Lehi’s vision in a personal way somehow. “I chose the theme of a young woman who is helping her little sister to find her way in the darkness,” she says.
“In my painting the older sister confidently holds up her shining torch. She is confident because she has total trust in her Heavenly Father. Protectively she holds her little sister close to her. The feeling I am trying to convey is a sense of safety, security, and love.”
“It is right that we let our light shine for others who need our guidance, especially for friends who are not members or for our younger siblings. If we let our light shine, as we stand up for our beliefs, we can be an example for others in the world.”
The expression on the face of the older sister captures the confidence of one who is strong in faith and firm in her conversion. “I have tried to draw the people as realistically as possible,” Vivienne explains. “This helps the viewer identify with the figures in the painting.” The face of the young girl is turned to look up to the light, but also she seems to sense that she can look up to her sister to guide her safely through the darkness.
“I’m the youngest of four children, so I have always had the benefit to be guarded and to be taught by my siblings, especially from my oldest sister,” Vivienne says. “In the last few years our family has faced some difficult challenges, and during that time my sister became a supportive part to my mother, my brothers, and to me. She has always been a role model for me, and in my darkest nights she was my brightest light.”
Vivienne says that now it is her turn to be a teacher and offer her light to help guide others who are looking up to her. “In our ward, I am the oldest in Young Women, so now I have the opportunity to pass on that what I learned from my siblings,” she says. “I want to show that it is essential to be loving and caring; these are some of the Christian virtues I want to share with my family and friends.”
Vivienne’s painting is rich in symbolism. “It was important to me to bring many symbols into the painting,” she says. “The red velvet cloak is to remind us of Jesus Christ. We should follow Him in word and deed. The heavy weight of the velvet it to remind us of the responsibility that we bear for our fellow men. This can often be a heavy burden. The bee-shaped brooch stands for diligence. The white of the blouse and the yellow-gold of the dress stand for purity and faith. The torch symbolizes the light of the torch bearer that not only lights the way, but also gives off warmth.”
“It is right that we let our light shine for others who need our guidance, especially for friends who are not members or for our younger siblings,” Vivienne says. “We live in a moral-less and deluded world, without boundaries and guidelines. If we let our light shine, as we stand up for our beliefs, we can be an example for others in the world.”
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