Monthly Archives: November 2015

Jordan Daines: Impasto Protein


Jordan Daines is an adept painter primarily working with oil on wood panel or canvas. It has been written that, “Her thick painterly style and love of color lends itself to bold renderings within a gradient of semi to overtly representational work.” Daines and her husband recently moved from Los Angeles to Utah.

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Tell us about your evolution as an artist. I have wanted to be an artist since I was in 3rd grade when I made a ceramic pig. I was so proud of that pig–I immediately knew my calling! I earned my first ‘art set’ in fifth grade by practicing the piano (which I somehow don’t know how to play anymore) and I would paint in my spare time as a hobby. As a teenager I won the National Art Education Association Student award and was also chosen to show in the Congressional Art Competition in Washington, D.C. That positive reinforcement kept me dialed in and kept me dedicated to work and stress with my art. I went on to receive my BFA in painting at Utah State University. I learned a lot about the craft of painting in school, but I have continued to try and involve myself with theory and develop my content more and more in the decade or so since graduation. I actually credit my husband for a lot of my evolution. He is an architect and a keen observer of contemporary art. He is my #1 critic; no painting is finished until we are both happy with it. His input is invaluable to me. Every artist needs a trusted cohort to honestly critique their work.

Some of your work is like a more protein-rich Wayne Thiebaud. I’ll accept the comparison to Thiebaud! His work is definitely a significant precedent for me. He was known as a ‘happy artist’, which I feel an attachment to as well. I find great pleasure in coming up with new color combinations and interesting subjects. I have a large range of content that I paint, but the meat does stand out. It’s not that I’m a huge carnivore, and there is really no significant critique attached. It’s color, texture and organic nature is quite abstract, but it is also recognizable as a banal item of life, which I suppose Thiebaud concerned himself with as well. My impasto application of paint also lends itself very nicely to meat. I use oil paint only. No thinners or mediums. Over the last 10 years I have transitioned from brushes to knives. Brushes frustrate me. Knives are so much more candid in their application. I used to mix with a knife and paint with a brush, however, over time I decided to just cut out the middleman… or the end man rather.

What’s next for you? Right now I am working on a series of large abstracts for a solo show in May 2016 at the Wall Gallery in Dallas, TX. Getting ready for this show has been a great experiment for testing my painting efficiency and brain power in regard to the scale of my work. With the nature of my process of mostly wet on wet paint, I have to work fast and focused. If the paint dries just a little it gets tacky and disrupts the whole feel of the painting.

Visit Jordan Daines’ website.

Follow Jordan Daines on Instagram.


Brian Olson: Rendering Angel Moroni


Brian Olson has spent more than 10,000 hours modeling, digitizing, and photographing Mormon temples with an extensive YouTube channel to show for his efforts. His photographs, models, and videos are an ever-expanding virtual library of temple design. From the San Diego California (above) to the Provo City Utah, Meridian Idaho, and Philadelphia Pennsylvania (below) his models show an excruciating amount of detail and dedication.

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Olson’s work on the history of the Angel Moroni statues has been documented in part here at The Krakens including a rendering (below) of the difference in scale (yes, these are to scale) and the design of the Los Angeles Moroni (left) and the Salt Lake City Moroni (right).

Rendering Moroni

Where did you grow up and how did you get started working on the temples? I grew up in a little town in Utah on the south side of Utah Lake named Santaquin and then moved to Pleasant Grove, Utah for a few years prior to serving an LDS Mission in Macon, Georgia. My fascination with the temple goes back a long way. There was a point in my life where I was struggling. I was in a bad relationship I was afraid to leave, and a bad job that I also could see no way out of. I was not, at that point, able to enter the temple. The temple became a representation of what my life should be, but was not. So I used temples as my North Star, my fixed point to work towards. At the same time, one of my duties at work was working in a photo lab, which got me into photography. As a reminder of where I wanted to be, I decided to make the temples one of my photography subjects, with a plan to take photos of as many temples as possible. This was back when there were only 50 temples. It would be my luck that a few months later President Hinckley would announce the new small temples, making that plan farther out of reach than I had previously guessed. I have kept up with the temple photography, having now visited 79 temples (some under construction.) In December 2005 I downloaded the open source software Blender. Someone had suggested I check it out, so I picked it up and decided to see what I could do with it. I did this:


I was so impressed with what I was able to accomplish, I decided to see how detailed I could make it:


I moved on from one temple to another, redoing temples over and over with newly learned techniques.


(It’s hard to believe, even for me, that those are the same model, ten years apart.) I realized early on that I would never be able to photograph every temple, but I can model it. In the end, this is one way for me to visit them all. Here are three images of the Rome Temple, a work in progress. The first is a wire-frame, showing the basic structure that makes the model up. Second is the basic material layout. Third is a sample render.

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What software do you use to do the work? Most of my work is done in Blender. It is an open source modeler, but can also be used for video editing and game creation. It has a very difficult interface to learn (though it is better than it used to be,) but is very capable with features similar to pay programs that have wider industry acceptance. I have also used most of the Adobe Products, especially Photoshop and Premiere, and trained on Maya (industry standard 3D software) in college. Most of the software I use is open source, like X-normal (texture generator) or GIMP (Photoshop alternative.) This is not always because the software is good; so much as it is free!

What is your day job? What success have you experienced with this project? I am a stay at home dad for a living. I am both enjoying it and working the hardest I have ever worked. I do get enough time to work on this project most days, which is nice. The project has led me some places I never expected. I have had the chance to talk to people involved in Temple Design and Construction, have had portions of one of my Provo City Center Temple videos broadcast on TV, and have learned more about Temple Architecture than I thought there was to learn. That’s what led to me writing the Moroni Book. I’m also working on 3D printing, cake toppers, statuettes, and so on.

This month we are featuring a four-part series on the Angel Moroni sculptures atop most of the Mormon temples around the world. Olson’s free PDF entitled Know Your Moroni can be found at  Part One profiled Creating an Icon, Part Two profiled Sculpting Angel Moroni, and Part Three profiled the Legacy of Sculpture.

Visit Brian Olson’s website.

Visit Brian Olson’s YouTube Channel.


Richard G. Scott: Walking Toward the Light


Richard G. Scott served for 38 years as a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He may be more well known for his work in nuclear engineering, but he was avid painter and liked to work in watercolors. He was born in Idaho, grew up in Washington, D.C., and also lived in Tennessee and Utah. He passed away in September of this year.


Jeanene Walking Toward the Light (above) is based on a photograph taken at Adam-ondi-Ahman, Missouri. He painted the scene after his wife, Jeanene, died in 1995. Scott told the Deseret News that it is a reminder to him that she was ahead of him on the path walking toward the light.

Scott’s son explained, “My father loved painting. We would be driving down a road and he would stop, pull over and say, ‘Look at that; that would be a great painting.’ Then he would take three or four photos. He saw the physical world through the eye of an artist, always looking for light, shadow and interesting themes. He loved painting.”

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Images courtesy Richard G. Scott, Deseret News, and

Rose Datoc Dall: A Color Universe

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Rose Datoc Dall is one of our truly world-class artists. Her touching subject matter, the creative compositions, the sheer quantity of work, and the colors–the colors! Dall, a Filipina-American, was born in Washington, D.C. and received a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Dall lives with her husband in Virginia.

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Your expert use of color is often breathtaking. Thank you so much. My art really is all about color. I had someone ask me if I would ever reproduce and sell prints of my art in sepia tones or in black and white. The answer is unequivocally, “NO!” My art without color loses its purpose. It would take away the thing which gave it any life. The genesis for every image revolved around color and if I could get away with some figures in some crazy color scheme. I heartily accept the challenge each time.

Using color to transform something ordinary into extraordinary is what excites me. I’ve had people ask me if there is a formula that I use, and the answer is “no,” not a formula per se, but a principle of visual balance. I love using complimentary colors, subtly, and boldly, consciously and unconsciously. I often let color become its own thing and just let the magic happen. A painting starts usually very carefully planned, a general vision of shapes, color relationships, and composition, but then I let it go, and hopefully it becomes an intuitive process. I am constantly nudging these color relationships as I lay down my strokes making sure as I go that everything jives correctly in the same ‘color universe’. Can I coin that phrase? I often use that term because my color universe does not necessarily relate to the natural world, but yet, I hope that the color universe created in each painting still manages to work. Moreover, it is really all about balance.

For example, a cool bluish skin tone can be balanced off by introducing a red or pinkish tone along an edge, or in the cheeks, the nose, or fingertips to give it warmth. I pay particular attention to lighting, throwing a cool temperature light on a subject, and then maybe balancing it out with a warm light coming from somewhere else if it needs it. That may be as close to formulaic as I get, but then I like to alter it, and maybe do things a little differently so as not to become old hat.

Surprisingly to some, my palette is kind of limited to a handful of dominant colors. That palette dominance may shift slightly from painting to painting, depending on the overall color scheme (for instance some paintings may be a mustard/pale blue scheme, or an orange/turquoise scheme, or maybe a crazy green/blush pink scheme) but largely I have my go-to colors. Remember, that all my color relationships MUST sit in the same color universe and let’s say introducing a color at random, that I haven’t introduced early in the process (just for the sake of riotous color) just doesn’t make sense. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. Keep with basics of form and color and shape. Keep your values, intensity and relationships of these tones in balance.

People have asked me if my pieces are watercolors. No, they are oil. But I often incorporate R&F Pigment Sticks (a buttery oil stick) because I love the color intensity in their pale tones, which can be hard to achieve when lightening up a color with titanium white or Permalba white which tend to gray or dull the intensity. Using R&F Pigment Sticks has the immediacy and effect of drawing with pastels, but rather it’s oil paint. Yummy, buttery oil. Think drawing with a tube of lipstick. (Okay, if you want to be technical, they are really encaustic pigments, but they blend will with oil paint.) There’s my nod to Edgar Degas, my first major art crush when I was age seventeen. The immediacy of which he laid down his strokes in his pastel work, his use of colors, his masterful rendering of figures, and his brilliant compositions, completely lit my fire and fueled my imagination. Henri De Toulouse Lautrec took this effect even further, and I have heartily embraced this approach to color.

What’s next for you? I guess I am always working on several series at a time, in a continuum fashion. I will continue to paint images of Christ. Having painted multiple paintings from the ‘Early Years of the Savior’ (painted over a decade, from the viewpoint of a mother, Mary), I have moved onto ‘Christ’s Ministry Years’. At least twenty new images immediately come to mind. Who knows if I will live long enough to paint them.

I also, of course paint women. Being a female artist, I relate to women. I am currently painting a series called ‘Girls in White Dresses’. These are girls and women of all ages and races. The series is about the purity of womanhood and girlhood, undiminished by stereotypes, removed from their association as sexual objects. These are real women, dressed in blinding white, in all their glory, and indomitable in spirit. With all that white, instead of exploring tonal values, I chose to use texture in a field of white on white, much like the effect of bas relief.

So what is next? What you will most likely see will have evolved from a continuum of images, and I hope new strains will emerge. And of course…. there will be LOTS… and LOTS… of color.

Visit Rose Datoc Dall’s website.

Follow Rose Datoc Dall on Instagram.

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Images courtesy Rose Datoc Dall and

Angel Moroni: Legacy of Sculpture


Guest Post: Brian Olson

Cyrus Dallin’s creation of the iconic Angel Moroni statue for the Salt Lake Temple did not begin the practice of placing a statue on every temple. Five temples would be built and dedicated as well as sixty-two and a half years would pass before another Angel Moroni Statue would be placed on a temple. This second statue, while keeping the horn and the upright position of Dallin’s Statue, would be as distinct from the Salt Lake Statue as that statue was from the Nauvoo weathervane. As construction commenced on the Los Angeles California Temple in 1951, Millard F. Malin was contacted by the Church about creating a new statue to go atop the new temple in a prominent California neighborhood.

Creating the Second Angel Moroni

Millard F Malin (1891-1975) studied sculpture at the National Academy of Design in New York City, chiefly under Herman MacNeil. Prior to that, he was a medical student at the University of Utah from 1914 to 1915 studying human anatomy. While a student in New York, Malin was hired by Gutzon Borglum to assist in sculpting the Confederate Memorial Carving at Stone Mountain in Georgia. Gutzon, who is best known for carving Mount Rushmore, was born in Idaho to LDS parents who soon after left the Church and moved to the Midwest. Malin opened his own art studio in the mid 1920’s in Salt Lake with the assistance of his closest friend, Edward O. Anderson. Anderson eventually became the chief architect for the Church and would call on Millard Malin to create the Baptismal Font Oxen and additional sculptures for the London England, Bern Switzerland, and Hamilton New Zealand Temples.

Malin’s Moroni, Angel in the City of Angels


Designed specifically for the Los Angeles California Temple, Malin’s Angel (above) has not been used anywhere else. This Moroni was, according to the sculptor, heavily influenced by the Book of Mormon paintings of Arnold Freiberg, especially in regards to clothing and muscle tone. Besides the clothing, often described as Mayan in style, this statue has two other features not used on any other Moroni Temple statue to date. First is the manner that the right hand holds the trumpet, with the palm upturned and the trumpet resting in the hand. All other versions of the statue currently in use have the left hand palm down with a firm grip on the trumpet. Also, unlike all the other versions of the statue which feature bare feet, this statue wears sandals. This is also the first of two statues to be created for use on top of temples where the statue is holding gold plates in the crook of his left arm.

The Third Statue

The Los Angeles Temple Moroni was still not the start of the tradition of angels on the temples. The third temple to have an angel statue was the large new temple built in the U.S. Capital, Washington D.C. In the 18 years between the Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Temple dedications, the Church returned to the practice of building temples without statues. Five temples would be built and dedicated without an angel statue atop them. For this new temple, the Church would contact multiple artists to invite them to submit designs for a new statue to go atop the temple. Of the eight submissions the church received, they would choose the design of Avard Fairbanks.

Avard T. Fairbanks (1897-1987) was born in Provo, Utah to John B. Fairbanks, an artist famous for having painted murals in some of the early temples and a professor of art at the Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Avard T. Fairbanks comes from a family of artists. His brother, J. Leo Fairbanks was an artist like their father. Fairbanks’ son, Jonathan Leo Fairbanks is a sculptor in his own right and was curator of the Boston Museum of Fine arts in the early 90’s. Fairbanks’ nephew Ortho Fairbanks was also a prolific sculptor, creating many works as well. Fairbanks was a lifelong student and teacher. He studied sculpture at the Art Students League of New York, at the National School of Fine Arts under Jean Antoine Injalbert in Paris, and the Guggenheim Fellowship in Italy. He earned a degree from Yale University, a master’s degree from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in anatomy from the University of Michigan. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon, a teacher at the Seattle Institute of Art, an Associate Professor of Sculpture at the University of Michigan, and was the first Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah. Fairbanks sculpted the friezes around the crown of the Laie Hawaii Temple, some of the sculptures on the temple grounds, and the oxen for the baptistry font. He also sculpted many works for Temple Square including busts of some of the prophets, the Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood monument, the Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood Monument, and the Three Witnesses Monument .

Fairbanks’s Moroni, An Ensign to the Nations


A new statue, a new style. Avard T. Fairbanks’s Angel Moroni is the only temple statue that has the trumpet pointing the same direction as the feet. All other statues have the trumpet and head turned at a right angle to the chest and feet. Like Malin’s Moroni, this angel holds a reproduction of the gold plates that the Book of Mormon was translated from nestled in the crook of his left arm. The robes on Fairbanks’ Moroni are long–longer than on any other Moroni. They cover part of the feet, well below the ankles. Most Moroni Statues have the robes end about or above the ankles. Originally, this was just an 18-foot statue (from feet to crown) for the Washington D.C. Temple. Later, three 15-foot versions were made to be used on other temples. The Washington D.C. statue is still the tallest Angel Moroni when measured from feet to crown.

The Fourth Moroni

Four temples would be built and dedicated in the time between the first use of the Fairbanks Statue until the first use of the fourth. Of those four temples, two used replicas of Fairbanks’ statue. By this point, there had been 20 temples built and dedicated. And of those 20, only a quarter of them had Angel Moroni statues. With the dedication of the Atlanta Temple in 1983 the statue came into regular use. And by regular use, I mean that 127 temples have been built and dedicated since then, and of those 127, only two did not receive a Moroni. Those two were both designed to have a statue, but due to legal issues, would wait to receive their statue until just short of one year after the dedication.

Additionally, since the construction of the Atlanta Temple, statues have been added to seven of the 15 original statue-less temples. In the foreseeable future, this trend will continue. As of writing, there are an additional 13 temples under construction, and two temples for which the Church has released the design. All of these 15 temples but one has been designed with an Angel Moroni statue. That one exception is the Paris France Temple, where a design choice is being considered to have neither spire nor angel. This would break a tradition running 30 years and including over 130 temples.

Torleif S Knaphus (1881-1965) studied under Harriet Backer at her Oslo school, under Lats Utne at the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry, at the Académie Julian in Paris, and the Art Students League in New York.

His other works for the Church include assisting Avard T. Fairbanks with the oxen and sculptures at Laie Temple. He sculpted both the oxen in the Cardston Alberta Temple baptistery as well as a frieze titled Christ the Fountainhead. It stood outside the temple and was later moved inside the temple waiting room during a remodel and expansion. Copies of the frieze can be found in the waiting room at the Provo Utah Temple, on the exterior of the Edgehill Ward meetinghouse in Sugarhouse Utah, and various LDS chapels throughout the world. He carved the oxen for the baptismal font at the Mesa Arizona Temple as well as the eight terracotta friezes that run around the outside of the upper portion of the temple. He sculpted the oxen for the baptismal font at the Idaho Falls Temple and assisted with the oxen for the font of the Oakland Temple and the Moroni statue at the Los Angeles Temple.


The work that Torleif is most famous for is the Hill Cumorah Monument (above), which was proposed by and entirely designed by Torlief Knaphus due to his great love for the restoration of the Gospel through the Angel Moroni.

Knaphus Moroni

Torlief Knaphus was asked to create a replica of the Dallin Moroni for use on the Washington D.C. Chapel in 1930. The statue is a foot shorter than Dallin’s original, and in regards to it, Knaphus said that while it looks the same from a distance the arms and shoulders are ‘beefier’ than the original. The statue was removed from the chapel in the 1970’s. A few years later an artist named LaVar Wallgren would recast the statue in fiberglass to be used on the Idaho Falls temple and a second recast to be used on the Atlanta Temple. The Idaho Falls statue remains, but the Atlanta Statue was removed, replaced with another model, then refurbished. It now sits on the Boston Temple. This Boston Statue, a recreation of the Dallin Statue, is on the temple closest to the Massachusetts home where Dallin lived for most of his life.

The Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Moroni’s

While the Moroni tradition started mostly with the fourth statue, it was these later statues that made it possible.

Karl Quilter (1929-2013) studied art and industrial design at the University of Utah and was mentored by Avard T. Fairbanks, sculptor of the third version of the Angel Moroni. While there, he and LaVar Wallgren experimented with casting sculptures in fiberglass instead of the more traditional metal. The effort was noticed by the Church, which would lead to the Church commissioning two statues for temples in the late 1970’s and eventually a third in the late 1990’s. Karl Quilter’s statues were lighter, easier to transport to locations around the globe, cost less to make, and could be lifted into place by smaller cranes or even helicopters. Additionally, they did not require the heavy structural reinforcement earlier statues required due to being cast from metals. This allowed for statues to be placed on smaller temples and narrower spires, including temples that had not been originally designed to have the statue. Later in life, Quilter would serve another mission for the Church, during which he sculpted the nativity scenes that are now seen on many temple grounds during the holiday season. Quilter’s three statues are often mistaken for one statue, or at best, three different sizes of one statue. But each statue is different with a unique pose. Here are the features of each statue that are unique.

Quilter’s 1982 Moroni. The quickest way to identify the first statue is to look at it from the front (below left). The hem of the robe on this statue is windswept and blows out and away from the feet to the viewer’s left. The statue’s left hand is held away from the body at a greater angle than the other two Quilter statues. The left wrist is bent down slightly. The robe on the left sleeve is smoother, devoid of defined wrinkles, and the cuff hangs round and loose on that arm. The left leg comes straight down from the waist and bends back at the knee, projecting forward slightly in front of the chest. Seen from the side, the left arm is bent forward at the elbow. The left hand is clenched in a fist. Close up, the right hand the fingers holding the trumpet are spaced apart, except the thumb which overlaps the pointer finger and touches the middle finger. This statue is 7 feet in height, foot to crown.

Quilter’s 1985 Moroni. Quilter’s second statue is 10’6″ feet tall (below middle). When viewed from the front, the hem of the robe hangs straight down from the waist, not being blown to either side. The left arm is closer to the body. The wrist on the left arm has no bend to it. The left hand is clenched in a fist in this statue as well. The left leg bends forward at the knee like the previous statue, but also bends slightly to the outside, emphasizing the left ankle being behind the right foot. When viewed from the side, there is no bend in the elbow. The cuff is tightly windswept and blown out behind the arm. On close inspection of the right hand, the fingers touch together and the thumb touches the side of the pointer finger without overlapping it.

Quilter’s 1997 Moroni. Standing at just 6’10” tall, this third statue of Quilter’s was sculpted primarily for the Nauvoo Temple (below right). The truly unique feature of this statue is the left hand. It falls down at the statue’s side like the two preceding statues, but unlike any other Moroni in use, the hand is relaxed and open. Another identifying feature of this statue is the robes. They have a heavier, more layered look, and appear far more disorderly and windswept than Quilter’s previous statues.


The Eighth Moroni

LaVar Wallgren (1932-2004), though not classically trained as an artist or sculptor, was asked to come up with a life-size Angel Moroni for the smaller temples, one that would be smaller than the other molds already in use. He knew upon being asked that it would have a scroll, like the angel mentioned in Revelation 14:6-7. He sketched then sculpted the new statue, which was approved by the First Presidency. The new statue was 5’ 11” with the face of a much younger man than the other statues. Originally intended to be white rather than gold leafed, the only white statue placed on the Monticello Utah Temple proved to be too difficult to see against the clouds. The Monticello Temple statue was then replaced with the 7 foot Quilter Statue. The subsequent statues were given gold leaf before being placed on temples. As a highly skilled craftsman who specialized in the casting of fiberglass, a skill he learned with Karl Quilter, Wallgren cast all of the Karl Quilter Angel Moroni statues in his Kearns, Utah studio.

Wallgren Moroni


The Wallgren Moroni was designed specifically to use on the smaller temples and stands at 5’ 11 inches tall. It has two features that make it very unique. First and most obvious is the scroll the statue holds in its left hand. The second identifying feature is that the Moroni Wallgren created is far younger than any other Moroni statue. The face is clearly that of a younger more youthful prophet, rather than an older and wiser one.

This month we are featuring a four-part series on the Angel Moroni sculptures atop most of the Mormon temples around the world. These guest posts come from Brian Olson who has spent more than 10,000 hours modeling, digitizing, and photographing Mormon temples. His free PDF entitled Know Your Moroni can be found at  Part One profiled Creating an Icon, Part Two profiled Sculpting Angel Moroni, and Part Four will look at Rendering Angel Moroni.

Images courtesy and Brian Olson.