~:: My Hubby, the Patriarch ::~

Anybody remember me? The woman who blogs once every six months unless she’s mad?  May I just say that I have scanned over 450 pages of family photographs since January 3rd?  Hmmm?  And that I’m going through one of my older books, Breaking Rank, word by word, comparing print version with manuscript so that I can stick that up on Amazon, too?  And in the cracks, sticking away Christmas – one holly leaf at a time?  Yes.  That woman.

Here is a fun thing: Deseret Book just published a gorgeous new book, an illustrated telling of a scriptural story: Lehi’s Dream.  And my dear husband is the STAR of the book.  I am going to tell you the story.

Deseret Book

Long ago and far away, when we were all just out of school, my G and his writing partner Marvin wrote a lovely little story-with-songs called The Planemaker.  They had a young up-and-coming artist friend of ours, James Christensen, do a cover for the album.  He did a couple of treatments.  The one that ended up on the album now belongs – to somebody. I don’t know who.  But the other one?  It languished in a corner of Jim’s studio till he re-discovered it one day, and when G said, “I want that,” Jim said, “You’ll have to model for me to get it.”

Years later, here came this book idea, and Jim called in the debt.  So he called us in and had G pose for Lehi.  And he let me hang around in Jerusalem robes too, even though I’m not young and glamorous anymore.  And even I ended up on the last pages of the book.

These are the pictures I shot of the photo session in Jim’s studio:

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The place has absolutely beautiful light.  I don’t know how to build houses and things so that the light that comes into them is perfect.  Leave it to Jim to do that right.

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Here is G, decked out in the basic costume.

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And here is Jim, walking G through the storyboard.  Let me just say that I was not convinced about this modeling business.  I’m the actress in the family, after-all.  Not that I could have pretended to be a middle aged ancient prophet.

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See what I mean about the light?  You see that sheety-looking drape back there on the back of the couch?  Even a plain old sheet looks like art in this place.

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Improving on the basic robe.  I wonder if Western Culture will ever go through a robe and accessory period?  It’d be comfortable.

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And there he is, lookin’ like a patriarch.

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In the story, Lehi stands beside the tree of life, aching with hope for his children, as he watches the people of the earth start to make their way to the tree – through hardships and sorrows.  The story is about wanting the right, most beautiful things and what getting to them may cost us.

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The tree of life is, as it is said in the story of Eden, hung with wonderful fruit.  Jim used an orange to model the fruit, which was just the right thing.  When he handed it to G, he had the same response to the orange that he always has to oranges: he held it up to his nose and breathed in the fresh, sharp sent of it.  The scent reminds him of everything home: his family, the tiny orange grove in the backyard, Christmas morning.  And so it was a very good stand-in for the fruit of the tree of life – the scent of love, family and happiness.

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Here, he calls to his family: come and have some of this lovely fruit.  Come and be happy.

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Here is Lehi as he dreams his dream.  I see this every night and every morning.

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Modeling is hard work.  G did it very well.  But while our backs were turned – after that last shot was set up – well – maybe he took his part just a little bit too seriously.

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52 Responses to ~:: My Hubby, the Patriarch ::~

  1. Chazi says:

    Dad is the perfect Lehi :) How amazing.

  2. Chelsea says:

    Guy really wears the robes well! I wish that sort of thing would come back into style, too…

    Also, I’ve told you that James’ daughter teaches in my school district, right? She is actually the district art coordinator or whatever. Which means she organizes the district-wide art meetings and that I’ve met her :) Small world, I think.

    • webmaster says:

      World: art + lds + educators + us = VERY small, indeed. I hoped you like her. I like all of them.

      • Chelsea says:

        I do like her, I’d like to get to know her better. She’s doing great things for the district, I think.

        • webmaster says:

          He has a couple of daughters. The one I know is an artist on her own, and I know her husband is a teacher. But I don’t think she’s the one you’re talking about. We’ll introduce you someday to her dad. But you can introduce us to her. Cultivate good friends, Chels – find people who fascinate you and are doing good. I like the way that rubs off on me, anyway.

  3. Cori says:

    I just love, love, love that Guy is Lehi, because he has that Patriarchal aura about him. And Jim loves to tell about the moment Guy lifted the orange to his nose, inhaling without an exhale. I think Guy captured Lehi well, and James captured Guy. So cool!

    • webmaster says:

      YAY!! That last sentence – hmmmm. You wouldn’t happen to be a brilliant writer, now, would you? Why – YES!! You would!! Jim should have used all of us on the last page. That’d been fun, huh?

  4. Ginna says:

    I love so much seeing the backstory on all this. I’ve been looking at and enjoying the book for a few weeks now, and I could really see the poses in your photos. I love the book, such a treasure. I wish I could get a print of that painting on the cover!

    • webmaster says:

      When I saw the original at the Mormon Arts retreat, I had a very hard time understanding why I wasn’t owning that thing. There were about three thousand reasons why, by the way.

  5. G-Force says:

    I am so very glad you shared the story and photos! I kept meaning to ask you … a few months ago, Brent sent me a text-pix with the cover for that book while he was at Deseret Book asking if that was Guy. Despite the tiny screen on my cell phone, I found the resemblance quite remarkable!

    When my (big) little brother was staying with us over the holidays, we toured Temple Square and the lights. Since parking was scarce, Brent pulled over and dropped us off right in front of Deseret Book. The gingerbread factory display in the window captivated our attention and imaginations. We had to go inside to check it out in its full grandeur! (Of course, the kids thought tasting a gingerbread cookie made it even more magical). As I browsed the shelves nearby, there was Guy as Lehi! Now that just had to be more than coincidence! Yet, I failed to remember to ask you once again! So thank you for reminding me I was supposed to ask! Any chance Guy would autograph it if I bought one???

    BTW: Dr. T’s wife and son were models for Ben Soward’s illustrations in the “Christmas Oranges” book. It’s so fun to go to a store that has some of my favorite people immortalized in art!

    • webmaster says:

      How fun = multiple illustrations in your life. Yep – it was certainly Guy. The first person who asked was my sister – the ad for the book came out while I was in Texas down there, and the first thing she said when I first saw her was: “IS THIS GUY????”

  6. Rachel says:

    That truly is one of the coolest things ever. Most definitely we will have to have a copy.

    I think Guy makes the perfect Lehi and you, the perfect Sariah…….. this was neat having you go through all of this. I didn’t know you’d done all of this!

    I would love to go back to a trend of robes……. until I got on a horse. I refuse to ride side saddle.

    • webmaster says:

      You wear pantaloons under them. Then you look like a sheik, riding across the desert –

      The painting of me is full cheeked and dark haired. But she’s smiling.

  7. Guy Randle says:

    …All must realize that I feel very humble to represent a great and ancient man. I’m definitely not the star. I just kind of slog along through the mists of darkness, hoping I don’t lose hold of the iron rod. Jim C. is a great guy to work with, and Kristen captured the feeling of the photo shoot very well

    • Ginna says:

      you don’t give yourself enough credit, that’s for sure. i love the book so much.

    • webmaster says:

      Sigh. Mists of darkness. Where I live. We are very lucky to know wonderful people.

      • Donna says:

        Hmmm. Don’t we all live in the mists of darkness? That is why we react with such joy and amazement when we find a spark, a ray of light to huddle with? To dance with? To fling light into the mist with?

        Yep. Having that kind of day.

        • webmaster says:

          Yes. I think that’s what Paul might have been trying to say – “through a glass, darkly.” It’s funny when you think about it. On this plane of reality, dark is the natural state. It takes work and will to create light. Or a powerful, natural light source. Thus, our days are thanks to the sun, as our life’s joy is thanks to the Christ. But without those sources, all is darkness – unless we hatch our own fire from our own flint and steel. And without the sun and son, it would be awfully hard going to have the kind of light we long for for as many hours as we long for it.

          Sometimes we just have to fling open our windows. Or find a friend who glows – I know those days.

  8. Dawn says:

    How cool is this! Seeing the cover of the book makes me want to see more. Your friend is an amazing artist. I haven’t heard this story before but I do think your husband makes a great model. And you, you’re in the book too? I want to see a picture!

  9. Ginger says:

    Sooo amazing! You certainly chum around with an elite crowd, Ms. K.

    I went onto the Deseret Book website and saw the YouTube interview with James C. and he said that he was PRAYING Guy hadn’t cut off his beard. Maybe you saw it. Anyhow, that was sweet. In fact, the whole interview was interesting.

    I hope you get one of those collector’s editions of the book. You (and Guy) should!

    • webmaster says:

      Naw. We can’t afford that edition. And we couldn’t afford the painting either. And really, it doesn’t matter – just another fragile thing to worry about if the river floods. But the fact that it happened at all was total fun. And spending any time at all with James is honestly a treat. He is one of the finest men I have ever known – deeply spiritual, completely alive, funny, kind, totally willing to serve the lord in whatever capacity he is needed, forgiving – able to organize, handle and keep amused very large groups of people, adorable when he’s face to face. I want to be him when I grow up. Which I probably don’t have time left to do. And lucky that he picks things to pray about that are pretty sure bets!

  10. How wonderful! I loved seeing how the cover photo evolved and how cool to have hubby immortalized in such a story. He certainly does look the part doesn’t he! I enjoyed his humble comment about how it was all the artist and not him….well I say it takes two to tango! I also loved your comment about this is what you see every night and every morning….such Love :-) I want you to scan the picture of you too please! PS I love the robe look but I won’t be riding side saddle either, I’m sure I would tip off the side!

    Beautiful book!

    • webmaster says:

      If we were girls in the middle east, we would sneak off in our robes and long pantaloons, steal fine horses and have terrible fast gallops all over every one of those countries. And then probably be thrown into some harem in chains for our cheek. I’ll try to remember to scan it today as I busily scan through another year of family life.

  11. Donna says:

    What a gift. I love knowing how things like illustrations in books come to be.
    I have never met Guy, but he has always seemed rather old world to me. His quiet, his beard, his hat, his glasses…his gentleness and sweet humor.
    I would love to be able to just go and buy my clothes from Omar the tentmaker and quit worrying about chubby thighs!

    • webmaster says:

      Oh – WHERE IS OMAR WHEN YOU NEED HIM????? That’s an interesting concept of G. He’s also very sure of his own opinion and VERY bossy. But also useful and strong. And presently sitting in front of the fire, very reluctant to move. If I asked him to go out into the frost and chilly cold to feed the horses this very minute, he’d go. And that’s why I won’t. So now I’ve got to bundle up like an eskimo and stoke horse-belly furnaces.

      • Donna says:

        It is freezing … no, sub freezing cold here today, too, with a little snow.
        Mr. G. sounds like a well rounded person. I am for sure the more bossy at our ranch…for sure. Luckily, I have a very even keeled and easy going little husband. I do try not to boss, but rather suggest…teehee.

        • webmaster says:

          Sadly, when G gets bossy, I turn into a badger. But maybe that’s lucky for him. Certainly, it has mellowed him somewhat, getting bitten every so often.

  12. Sharon Shinn says:

    Wow, back when I worked on art magazine DECOR, James Christensen was one of the most big-name artists who appeared regularly in our pages, even though his stuff was so different from all the wildlife art and poster reproductions that we ran so often. My boss at the time LOVED his stuff and bought several of his limited edition figurines. How delightful that you know him and that Guy posed for him! I love the cover art…I imagine I would love the interior art as well.

    This is like finding out that your best friend from high school met a guy whose sister was in your favorite movie. Or something. Remote but somehow special.

    • webmaster says:

      Funny, huh? Come on out here and I’ll introduce you. He’s just as wonderful as his art suggests he might be. I don’t think I probably quite grasp the extent of his fame, actually. He’s just a very precious friend. But then, duh, who am I writing to? A wildly popular writer whose fame I probably don’t actually grasp. Now I’m puzzled. How did I end up knowing people with so much brilliance and heart? That’s cool. Wow. That’s really cool. Well, I feel more awake now.

  13. Julie says:

    Wow, how exciting! That cover artwork is just stunning! Imagine being married to a male model – lucky you!

  14. Sammich says:

    That is pretty cool. James Christensen is one of those cream-of-the-crop artists too (not just in Mormondom), so this is definitely something to treasure.

  15. Marilyn says:

    Wow! As Sam said, so cool! We both love JC’s art—more of a distinction coming from Sam than from me, I’m afraid. I can’t wait to see the book! And I love Sharon Shinn’s books too, for what it’s worth. And of course you know, I hope, that I love yours too. You are ALL famous and amazing to me!

    • webmaster says:

      And here’s an odd coincidence: I think YOU are amazing. I love the way you use words, your quirky but entirely solid perspectives, your love for your children and the imagination you bring to bear in the raising of them, your eye for an image, your entire response to beauty and time and life. Yours is really a performance art – you can’t sell that. Or even sell tickets to it. But your audience – everyone who becomes aware of your presence – is enlarged by it.

      So there. (She nods with satisfaction and steps down from her soap box.)

  16. Kathy V says:

    I really don’t understand why I haven’t run out and bought that book yet. I’m really not in my right mind these days. I’ll have to learn more about G’s role in The Planemaker, which had a profound effect on Dirk back in that day. I envy your life – hobnobbing with artists of all types. I’ve had a taste of that and always yearn for more. Love, love, love seeing the rest of the story.

    • webmaster says:

      Guy and Marvin wrote the Planemaker. Part of it right in front of me. In fact, I think I helped with a lyric here and there. G wrote “Yellow” in the basement of his aunt’s house one Sunday when we were hanging out there. “Bright Morning Stars” was my contribution to the libretto – I wrote the last verse of it; the rest is folksong and I got it from the Penneywhistlers. Marvin always performed it, but G did all the sound support, and they have recorded it several times in our studio. We don’t really hobnob. Here’s the thing: we were there at the very foundation of both the music and fiction business in this region and in the LDS culture, and we went to school with a lot of the people you’ve heard of. We’ve had the studio since 1976 and we used to know everybody who played or sang or wrote anything. It was a small world back then. And my kids grew up knowing everybody who was on the EFY circuit, and a lot of people who showed up in the films that came out of the BYU studios. I was a theater major in my undergrad – which is a fact I don’t often admit; it was a rough time in that school, and stupid things went on. But back in the day, nobody was famous. We were all just trying to do what we did. And some of us grew up to be fairly significant, even outside this area. And some of us (me included) just grew up.

      We see the raw side of each other. You know, sometimes I think, there are people in the world who just go over to Madelaine L’Engle’s house for dinner. Or who call Sam Watterson “grandpa.” In whose lives people I perceive as famous or special are just the people in their family or neighborhood. Some of the people in this area who are “famous” are actually little butts. Some are wonderful. Some are horrible to do business with. Some work really hard. Some are amazing. Some think they are but aren’t. Most of the ones who have lasted are pretty wonderful people. But they all put their pants on one leg at a time. It’s just like knowing all the people in our ward – like family.

      Personally, there are people who read this blog who blow me away. They aren’t household names except in their own households – and MINE. People of staggering goodness and imagination and kindness and courage – and they are the ones you can envy me for knowing. And they live all over the globe. I envy my own self, knowing them. And bless their names all the time. I think you said it best: “artists of all types.” Thank heaven for them all.

      • Kathy V says:

        A big AMEN to your last paragraph. How do you say that? “The whole church says amen”?
        I was once telling a friend how blessed I was to live out here with the people here and how amazing they were, and he told something to the effect that I was well-qualified to be among these people. I think it is the most humbling comment I’ve ever received because as he said it I felt like I had been hit by a brick wall, struck to the core. I told him he had no idea what he was saying because he didn’t know how truly phenomenal my neighbors are.

        I’ve never really been “wow”-ed by fame. People are all just people. I love when I can say I’m close to a famous situation because of being able to share more deeply with something that is shared by all. I also just love being around creativity. Occasionally, I can even be a little bit creative.

        • webmaster says:

          I believe the proper phrase is: LET THE CHURCH AY AMEN. But you have to roar it from a high pulpit with a southern accent. At least, in my experience, that’s the way it’s been delivered. Have I said this: my dad taught me about fame when I was young. He pointed out that, in the aviation world, he was actually a very famous guy – having built the largest airport in the world (at the time). People flew him everywhere to consult with them; he was written up in the papers and was regularly on the news in the metro area. He went on to tell me that outside the world of aviation, nobody had a clue who he was, or that he had done anything worth being wowwed (i just made up that spelling) about. We think of fame as this big public thing, but it’s most often people in their own circles. Media fame. Redefining the concept. Used to be fame was based on how many countries you’d conquered and people you’d dispatched.

          I don’t really understand, I think, what being creative means.

  17. w-s w says:

    Um…WOW! A model husband. A work of art. All intertwined with words and light. Not every day that that happens.

    And I wanna haul my kids into that studio and take photos as long as there is daylight.

    • webmaster says:

      It’s great light, isn’t it? I mean, you live in great light, so you’re totally spoiled. But that room is just delicious.

      • w-s w says:

        We really are blessed to live in great light. Even the house is full of wonderful, wintry light, due to its many windows for passive solar (honest, I didn’t design it thinking of the photographic possibilities).

        But that studio, with all of the light FROM ABOVE. Well, that is simply magical.

        • webmaster says:

          You should see the rest of the house. Jim has done very well for his family. How amazing is that, to do very well using the talents you have doing the things you love? He’s a fantasy artist, mainly, painting in metaphors, telling stories. And he gets to use his great whimsey. So in his real life, when he builds things, that whimsey comes out. The house is beautiful and dignified, but it looks like a tiny castle sort of. All of the rooms are tall, and the great room is wide open, timber framed. So all of the rooms have very tall windows, and all of the light is lovely. In my cynical view of life, so many times it’s people who cheat and focus on money and are sort of ruthless and worldly that end up with the brass to do things with. But in this case, it’s a lily of the field – a man who has given his whole life to others who has ended up being able to create beauty in his own life on a moderately grand scale. The house is not huge, just amazing. But then, I think your house is amazing, too. And in a less stone and mortar way of building, you have done the same thing -

  18. Natalie says:

    Playing catch up here.
    I can’t wait to tell Richard about this! Because at Christmas time he brought me the Deseret Book catalog and said, “Doesn’t this picture look just like Brother Randle?”
    And, lo and behold, it is him!
    So very cool! Now I have to go buy it, so I can also see the picture of you.

    • webmaster says:

      It’s kinda fun, huh? We have to buy it, too. When I saw the original painting, I wanted it. But we’re talking a great number of bucks here. How weird to think that Guy is hanging on some rich person’s wall -

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