Monthly Archives: March 2016

Rose Datoc Dall: A Conscious Choice of Consecration


Rose Datoc Dall is a talented painter and creative mind. She was born in Washington, D.C. and received a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. She raised four children and lives with her husband in Virginia. Dall will be participating in ‘Meet the Artists’ at Deseret Book in downtown Salt Lake City this Saturday, April 2, at noon and again at 5:30 p.m. MDT.

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You once wrote, ‘Everyone’s path is different. You have to embrace that with which he blesses you, even if it is not exactly what you expect.’ Explain. I guess I can only speak from my own experience. Therefore this statement applies mostly to my circumstances as a mom and an artist. I cannot say that this path is for everyone, as everyone is in a different stage of life, but this path for me became what it is, shaped by circumstances which I could not fight, and therefore embraced. Maybe some mom artists out there can relate. My point is that life and plans do not always turn out the way you want or expect, but just embrace what comes your way. Well, okay, maybe everyone at some level can relate. Everyone at some point has to make hard choices.

To explain my statement, I graduated with a BFA from the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University with honors and with every hope and intention of being an artist that jet sets to New York. Being a contemporary artist in every worldly sense of the word. And I had NO plans to paint art of a devotional nature. To be honest, I never took current religious art seriously, a lot of it being overly sentimental or just poorly done, and therefore dismissed the genre altogether.

However, every time I tried to divorce my artistic self from my Mormon self, I got conflicted. A man (or woman) cannot follow two masters. When I tried to paint for purely secular reasons, I hit a wall. Zero vision. There was no inspiration. In fact, dismayed at this lack of direction right out of school and a newlywed, I almost gave up painting when my life became full of small children and diapers and kids’ activities and… well, family. I did not realize at the time how the Lord has His own timetable, and that I had to wait for a season to be more fully engaged in art, and to wait for success. Little did I know that years of motherhood, sacrifice, years of activity in the church, my deep religious convictions as a convert, are that which came to inform my art and give it depth. My life is no longer full of diapers, as three of my four children are grown: one married with a baby, one a senior at BYU, one on a mission and the youngest in high school. Where secular purposes for art lost its relevance to me, all of my imagery became spiritual, some pieces more outwardly so than others. They are statements about motherhood, family, children, relationships. Even my paintings of Christ and Adam and Eve come from that same place.

In short, there had to be a choice, a prayerful and conscious choice of consecration. Either go one way, the way of the world (and in my case, go nowhere, even though it was my desire at the time to be out there in the world), or conversely, embrace that place from where the inspiration comes, a spiritual place. I chose the latter and ironically, the art world opened up to me in a way I could have never authored for myself, in addition to having success of which I could have never dreamed up on my own. It was not what I expected, but I chose to embrace that path which Heavenly Father carved out for me. As he barred one way, a window was opened elsewhere, and purely on His timetable. I just had to choose not to fight it.

Visit Rose Datoc Dall’s website.

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Scott Streadbeck: Personal Meaning

Close to Heaven

Scott Streadbeck is a sculptor and comes from a family of sculptors and artists. Streadbeck explains about his relationship to the art, “The bronze foundry itself has had a tremendous influence on me. My first glimpse of the glowing furnace and its overwhelming heat are still vivid in my mind.” His works are often emotional like the commission (above) for the Lehi, Utah Infant Cemetery. He lives in Utah.

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Sculpture is the family business. Tell us about your evolution as an artist. I grew up around the sculpture industry. I always admired my uncle’s sculptures of Native American Dancers that we had around the house. My father was my uncle’s agent for a number of years. My father is also partners with another uncle in the bronze casting business. As a child we had clay around the house but I never did much with it. My first real interest in art started in junior and senior high. I loved my art elective classes and always took as many as I could. My high school had great ceramics classes where you could work in wet clay and throw pots. Another favorite were my photography classes. It was in the days of film so we would walk through campus snapping photos and return to the dark room to develop what we had shot. These classes gave me a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I am often asked when I fell in love with sculpture and knew that was my career path. It wasn’t really just sculpture I fell in love with. My true love is the creative process. I love taking a medium, in any unorganized form, and giving it shape, form, color, and—ultimately—personal meaning. This is where my heart truly belongs.

I took my first real sculpture class in college. I seemed to have some natural ability with it and knew that with my family’s involvement in the bronze sculpture world I would have a foot in the door into a viable art career path. I decided to make sculpture my medium of choice and graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts. Since graduation I have worked full-time as a freelance sculptor. My work has focused on the human figure. I feel it is one of the most difficult subjects to master. I know that I am far from mastering it anytime soon. The human figure is so complex and beautiful. So much narrative can be found with careful gesture choices and subtly sculpted expressions.

Tell us about the process for creating a new commission. The key to a successful commission for me is working on multiple sizes. I start very small and work in wax and do simple gesture sketches. I do not worry about detail of any sort and just focus on movement, design and balance. This may be the most important step. If the gesture does not work in small scale it will not work big. From there I work up a medium sized maquette, usually less than 24 inches. This is where I finalize the design and general details. The armature and sculpture are easy to manipulate at that size and make adjustments and refinements easier to accomplish than if I were working life-size. From there I start the life-size version. If I did the first two steps well the life-size version is mostly focusing on refining the small details of the piece.

The Church has some sculpture at Temple Square and a few other places, but it is not as prominent in chapels and temples. How would you like to see sculpture in the Church? I would love to see more of it!  I was part of the team that helped get the new sculpture in front of the Provo City Center Temple (below). I think that sculpture, by Dennis Smith, will hopefully be a positive catalyst to have more sculpture at chapels and temples.


What is next for you and your career? I am fortunate to be working on a life-size pioneer family sculpture commissioned by the city of Lehi, Utah. I am one of many Latter-day Saints with pioneer heritage so it’s an honor to be working on this project. I will also be working on a sculpture for the new Family Search headquarters of the church. The design hasn’t been finalized yet but it will be of a modern Latter-day Saint family. I am also working on a few private commissions of various children at play. I am so fortunate to have so much work to do. Luckily it is a problem you always hope to have as an artist.

Visit Scott Streadbeck’s website.

Visit Scott Streadbeck on Facebook.


E. Denney Neville: Wyoming Painter


E. Denney Neville is an accomplished painter who has made a career of painting the majestic landscapes of Wyoming. He has also worked as an illustrator, cartoonist, and in the animation industry. He earned a BFA from the Art Center College of Design. NeVille also assisted Stan Lynde for six years producing the cartoon strip Hipshot and Rick O’Shay. NeVille lives with his wife in Byron, Wyoming.

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Describe yourself as a painter. I would like to be described as a creative painter. Just to be technically good would be totally boring. The real joy in painting is to explore, invent, find and to even make the unnoticed and unconsidered a work of art that gives a sense of deep satisfaction. Without the knowledge of creative editing, a painting is flawed and lowered in its potential to fully achieve a perfect art. Being flawed ourselves, as we work and learn we should grow in our understanding toward being a better artist. As we paint sincerely over a period of time our work should become more perfect, though would still be less than perfect. The lofty concept of perfection will and should always annoy us. Thus annoyed there will always be opportunity to strive toward being better. I find myself on a soap box preaching. Possibly to no avail except to insert a cartoon (below).


Some artist said, I don’t know who, “We must paint at least four full days a week to keep from getting worse.” That artist was profoundly correct. Practice is an absolute necessity. A knowledge of art history is an absolute necessity and should not be narrow. We should understand something about all the schools of art and note that traditional academic training is in some way fundamental to all of them. If I were asked to list the two most important issues in good art and correct training it would be drawing and design, and in a curious way, to me, they are one in the same.

You have experimented with different styles. You will notice in the samples of my work that I have explored painting in several different styles. They have all helped in my development as a painter. Not all were successful. Some were to a certain extent. The less successful are buried beneath another painting, hopefully more successful. I like painting over old paintings and leaving some of that surface as part of the later painting. The unexpected, unplanned and the accidental things, if noticed, are some of the creative surprises that make painting fun for the way I like to work.

How do you approach a new landscape? Do you work en plein air, from pictures, from memory? I really like painting from memory, but feel it a necessity to paint plein air and use photos as a reference, but only as a reference. If you copy a photo, per se, you will paint design mistakes and that can totally ruin a work of art. Cameras can, and have become, the most dangerous crutch in art if their use is abused and misunderstood. All developed technology can be of benefit in creating good art, but can also be a huge deficit if used without knowledge of a few certain things, mostly in the manner of distortion and alignments. I often hear people in workshops lamenting that they don’t like a certain painting they or someone else did. My answer is always, “That is a good sign that you are learning to determine the successful from the unsuccessful, the disaster-pieces from the masterpieces.” Two steps forward and only one back is still progress. The step backward can be the one most important when we recognize it was and is the wrong direction. My approach to a landscape painting starts as a design. From there I start loose then tighten the detail, but only to a point where I feel why I wanted to paint the scene in the first place.

Visit E. Denney NeVille’s website.


John Berry: Nature


John Berry is an artist and naturalist. Berry grew up in the desert areas around Sparks, Nevada and the influence of the outdoors and the Western landscape are apparent in his work. As he explains, “I used to list my accomplishments, or I should say, accomplishments of my work…I’ve come to realize that that matters little. What awards, collections or museums hold my work matters not at all. What matters is the work. What matters is how the work connects or speaks to each individual. So with that said, I’ll let you, dear art lover decide for yourself, what you think/feel about my work. Enjoy.”

Tell us about your evolution as an artist. That’s a hard question to answer. It has run the gamut and continues to change. I studied Illustration at BYU, then proceeded to work as a freelance conceptual illustrator for over a decade. This was a fun and challenging career, but over time it began to wear me down. Always having to meet deadlines, having to satisfy the vision of someone else. I realized that I could not continue to do this. I quit advertising; quit actively seeking illustration jobs, I just began to paint for myself. That in and of itself was hard. Paint what? Paint how? It took a lot of introspection to figure that out. Initially I painted wildlife, then on to pure landscapes, all this in an academic approach. What I began to see was that the land, especially the desert was a constant source of inspiration. As I delved into that more fully, I realized it wasn’t the land itself (the locations or scenes) that pulled on me, it was the emotions, moods I felt while on location, while hiking or backpacking in this landscape. That really changed the direction of my work. it became more abstract, relying more on shapes, patterns and color to express those emotions. Quite the evolution from conceptual illustration to where my work is now. Though it seems once I’ve said what I want to say with one voice or style, it all begins to evolve again.

You list Maynard Dixon, The Group of Seven and Victor Higgins as your influences. Whose work today gives inspiration? Yes, those artists were a great springboard for my work. Mainly based upon their subject matter being the Southwest. The Group of Seven for their abstraction and paint quality they used on the land. Today? I find myself drawn to the work of the Post Impressionists, the Abstract Expressionists and several of the Fauves. The actual “who” fluctuates based upon my mood or my actual work in progress.

Your colors are wonderful. How do you approach colors in new paintings? Thank you. Color is what usually draws people to my work. I have never considered myself a “colorist” or even someone that knows much about color. I think it’s more instinctual for me. I rarely set out to create a work based upon a certain color palette. Obviously color has a lot of power. It can dictate mood and emotions; it’s a very important tool for me. When I begin to paint or have an idea for a painting I start laying in color fields, usually quite randomly. This type of approach is very experimental and dangerous, but I feel it feeds my next move. Then I see what certain colors will do next to others, what mood it evokes and so forth. If it doesn’t create the effect I desire, I’ll start over. Piece of cake, right?

Visit John Berry’s website.

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Karl Hale: One Eternal Round

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Karl Hale is an innovative sculptor working on kinetic marble runs made of wood and other projects. One Eternal Round was his first major sculpture. Hale was profiled previously on The Krakens for his piece Stories of Jesus. He lives in Mapleton, Utah with his wife and three kids.

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What has been the reception to your pieces? Much better than I expected. When I began this journey, I was not looking to make art. I wanted to make something pretty, but I wasn’t thinking of it as art. I’d never thought of myself as an artist. Then my good friend, veteran sculptor and art teacher, Robert Fitt reviewed my first significant attempt and, looking me squarely in the eyes, said, “Karl, you are a true artist.” I was thrilled but sincerely surprised. I felt like that kid who grew up an orphan on the streets, and then one day discovered he was a member of the royal family. I felt like I’d come home to a place I never dreamed I’d have a right to call home.

So with that and similar encouragement from other artistically inclined friends, I pushed it further. I’ve since been honored with Best in my division and People’s Choice awards at two regional woodcarving shows, have had two pieces accepted into juried exhibits at the Springville Museum of Art and have another piece currently at the LDS Church History Museum.. But most satisfying is the attention my art receives from significantly divergent groups. I’ll always remember walking into my living room to find my 70+ year-old dad and my 4 year-old son both mesmerized by one of my pieces.

What’s next? I have several dozen sketches for sculptures, some of which are more complex and some of which are less. I’d really like my art to find its way into homes but because it doesn’t lend itself to reproduction (can’t make prints or casts of it) I need to make sure I have pieces that are affordable for families, which means simpler in design and fabrication. But, on the other end of the spectrum, I’m talking to a museum about a permanent installation that (if it moves forward) would be around 10 feet tall and at least as complex as Stories of Jesus. I’m also working on a line of kinetic, interactive art targeting board rooms and waiting rooms. Not very romantic, but even executives could use an aesthetic lift every once in a while … right?

Visit Karl Hale’s website.

Follow Karl Hale on Instagram.