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Al Young Studios Newsroom
Costume and props Articles


Many firsts

By Al R. Young
Today commemorates the 160th anniversary of the event this painting depicts.  The two courageous young women represented in this image saved stacks of precious pages of sacred text from a bloodthirsty mob hundreds strong.  In honor of the day (and with Pioneer Day coming shortly), we thought readers might enjoy just a few highlighted entries from Elspeth's extensive painting log kept during the painting process in 2011:
 9 August. 

I had a very successful photo shoot with the models for the Book of Commandments painting... Read more »

Tags: I Will Uphold Thee, 2012, Costume and props, Pioneer Art Collection


What am I looking at?

By Al R. Young
Several years ago, a good friend visited the studio and gallery. At one point during our visit, we stood a while in the loft above the studio. Four large tonal landscape paintings, after the style of the Hudson River School, filled three of the walls like picture windows.
My guest looked from painting to painting, and, whether moved by the sheer size of the artworks or influenced by something in the treatment of the subject matter, exclaimed with evident anxiety: "I wish I knew what I was looking at!"

Like so many artists, I thought, but did not say:  "I wish you did, too!"

For the first 40 years or so of my journey as an artist, I worked primarily in pencil and spent a few years on lithographs... Read more »

Tags: In the Clearing, In The High Valley, I Shall Be Whole, 2012, Costume and props, Inspiration and creativity, Tips and techniques


Period costuming and document facsimiles

By Elspeth C. Young
Since early February of this year, Elspeth has been working on a painting of Mary Elizabeth and Caroline Rollins—two pioneer sisters who bravely saved what they could from a violent mob who destroyed the early Church's printing press July 20, 1833.  The painting depicts both teenage girls with the precious galley pages of The Book of Commandments which they salvaged while they were pursued by armed members of the mob. In desperation they sought refuge in a nearby cornfield--an occurrence Mary movingly described in her published autobiography... Read more »

Tags: I Will Uphold Thee, 2011, Costume and props, Pioneer Art Collection, Project commentaries, Tools supplies and operations


A painting is not finished when it's done

By Elspeth C. Young One thing I've learned over recent years is that no painting is finished when it's done. The subject matter and the symbolism a painting contains never ceases, as long as there are real people looking at it. In fact, the essays accompanying our paintings don't even begin to really tell the "story in the painting," since that "story" adapts to meet the gaze of those who bring new perspectives, experiences, and insights to that image day by day... Read more »

Tags: For This Child I Prayed, 2011, Costume and props, Tools supplies and operations, Women of the Bible Art Collection


Ancient Roman wax tablets

By Al R. Young Elspeth is working on a painting of Pilate's wife. Within the composition, the wife of Pilate will be depicted writing the hasty warning she "sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him" (Matthew 27:19).

In Roman times, it was typical to write messages on wax tablets using a stylus. In preparation for the painting, we have built and decorated a wax tablet of our own, pictured here. We inscribed the wax with a Latin translation of her words (translation courtesy of T... Read more »

Tags: Upon Awakening, 2010, Costume and props, Tools supplies and operations