‘The Chosen’: Artist Liz Lemon Swindle paints inspiring scenes of Jesus


There was a time when Liz Lemon Swindle wasn’t interested in seeing “The Chosen.”

The artist’s son made several attempts to get her to watch a faith-based television series featuring the life of Jesus Christ, but she always found an excuse to soothe him.

“‘Sure,'” Swindle told him, “I didn’t mean to see it.”

Finally, after a lot of tenacity by her son, Swindle agreed to see the first episode. A powerful scene touched her heart and suddenly she fell in love with her.

Less than two years later, Swindle’s studio in Provo, Utah, displays an original 30-inch x 40-inch painting with a decorative frame that gently and heartily embraces Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Titled “You Are Mine”, it is the first of some moving moments in the series Swindle portrays as a new partner in “The Chosen”.

“I think what I’m doing now is some of the best work I’ve ever done,” said the 69-year-old. “Everything has changed since I started You Are Mine. It seems that my career has changed a lot. I keep thinking that I spent 35 years preparing for what I’m doing now. I was actually thinking about retirement, but above all, I’ve invested in it and feel connected. ”

Liz Lemon Swindle poses for a portrait in her painting “You Are Mine” at Pro Bono’s studio office on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.
Christine Murphy, Dezalet News

Who is Liz Lemon Swindle?

According to a biography on her website, Swindle is widely recognized in the art world for her paintings depicting religious and religious themes.

  • She studied art at Utah State University and was taught by wildlife artist Nancy Grazier.
  • She started her career as a set designer and painter for Osmond Studio Television Productions in the early 1980s.
  • Her early work focused on wildlife, but moved to faith and religion in the early 1990s.
  • Her paintings by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are on display at visitor centers and historic sites throughout the United States. Her work on Jesus Christ has appeared in various parts of the United States and around the world. And since partnering with “The Chosen”, her paintings have entered the larger international market.
  • Swindle’s paintings are hung on the walls of the White House, published in magazines and books, and featured prominently in art collections around the world.
  • One of Swindle’s Christian paintings was received by the retired Pope Benedict XVI, who responded in gratitude for his artistic contribution to Rome.

“Her talent is amazing,” said Susan Easton Black, a biographer and friend of Swindle. “Liz lives very humble. Her time and means go to her family and her art. She is a wonderful person with the talent to send a visual message of the Savior to a large number of people. “

Discover “you are mine”

Swindle initially rejected his son’s recommendation to see “chosen” because of her artwork, busy schedule, and other reasons.

“I thought,’Oh, I draw Christ all day. I don’t want to go home and watch TV shows,” she said. “It was a strange reaction, because he also told me what I needed to do, and I couldn’t do it well.”

Her son relentlessly calmed down for months, and the text that her grandchildren were watching the show finally persuaded Swindle to give him a chance to be “chosen.”

“Okay, I see one episode, and that’s it,” she said.

Episode 1 was “good” —Swindle knew the general story — she said until some near the end was “breathtaking”.

Mary Magdalene, played by Elizabeth Tabish, is trying to drink her problem at the bar as Jesus, played by Jonathan Roumie, appears and puts her hand to stop her. She tells him to leave her her alone and rushes out of her, but he chases her outside her. He called her her by her name, quoted her scriptures from her Isaiah 43, and told her, “You are my It’s a thing. ”

Swindle said she stuck to the screen.

“She has fought the devil,” said the artist. “Oh my god, that’s me. I’ve been there many times. I mean, I wasn’t dealing with the devil, but we all have.” This is amazing. ” While rewinding, I kept watching.

Roomy hadn’t been on the screen for too long, but the episode of Swindle changed when he appeared.

“He was an incredible Jesus,” she said. “I’ve been drawing him for 20 years and it’s a bit weird about the model that plays Jesus …. but he really resonated. I thought,’This is great. OK, another one. Watch one episode. “

Liz Lemon Swindle is working on a

Liz Lemon Swindle is working on a “chosen” -inspired painting at her studio in Pro Bono on Wednesday, February 8, 2022.
Christine Murphy, Dezalet News

“I have to paint it”

Swindle decided to watch another episode. Then another, and another. She finished her first season around 3 am. Other scenes also caught her heart.

“Nothing felt like a show,” she said. “I felt like you were there.”

In one episode Jesus spent time with his children. Swindle was taking part in a photo shoot with a model of the Savior and children and knew it was tricky. She was impressed with how the actor and the scene were performed.

In another episode, fishermen James and John run along the edge of the shore with their father, splashing water. She also liked the scene where Jesus filled the fishing nets. The artist suddenly wanted to go to the studio.

“I have to paint it,” Swindle said. “I don’t know what to do with these pictures, but I have to draw them.”

Following her feelings, Swindle worked with his son Stephen Lemon and others to connect with the show’s creator, writer, director, and executive producer Dallas Jenkins. She was interested in using her artistic talent to help raise money for the show.

“One of the things I really wanted to do was, above all, to help raise money because I’ve worked on TV before, so I know the cost of producing a show.” She said. “Dallas was open to completing some of these paintings. His instruction was to” draw something that really impresses you. ”

Jenkins also demanded that Swindle paint the “You Are Mine” scene in Episode 1. He wanted it to be the first scene to be released.

The paints were painted in Liz Lemon Swindle's studio and inspired by

The paints were painted in Liz Lemon Swindle’s studio and were inspired by the “chosen” at Provo on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.
Christine Murphy, Dezalet News

From movie to canvas

Swindle can study and draw high quality images obtained from “chosen” producers to paint every detail. One second of footage is equivalent to 24 static frames.

“It’s amazing, because every frame you may have cramps in your fingers or your eyes may not be fully open,” she said. “You want to have the exact moment when your emotions connect, so everything around it is working towards that one frame. Sometimes I go through thousands of frames to get it. “

Swindle was also able to meet Rumi, take pictures and spend time.

“What really fascinates you at Jonathan is that he does that,” Swindle said. “You don’t have to adjust anything, like skin color. Jonathan shows what Jesus really looks like … and he’s not just an actor who plays his role, he really has a heart and expression. I’m waiting.”

The process of creating Swindle begins with drawing a sketch. Once you’re used to the one or two frames you’re using, the next step is to map it to the canvas and finally add the values ​​and colors. This process can take up to 6 months.

As of this month, Swindle estimates that he has watched the “The Chosen” series 30 times and identified seven scenes that he wanted to turn into art.

“When I focus in a blink of an eye, I see it many times to make sure I have everything so that it’s the best it can do in that particular scenario,” she said. Said.

Liz Lemon Swindle teaches art classes to Pat Stephenson on the left and Cheryl Raleigh on the right at her studio in Provo, Utah.

Liz Lemon Swindle teaches art classes to Pat Stevenson (left), Himac Norton and Sheryl Nome (right) at her studio in Provo on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.
Christine Murphy, Dezalet News

“Most important moment” of “chosen”

Swindle admitted that he was more nervous about meeting Jenkins than Roomy. What would she do if he didn’t like her painting? She asked Jenkins to come in with a smile and she would hug her, and her worries quickly disappeared.

The two met last fall when the author of “The Chosen” came to see the original “You Are Mine” that was completed. The meeting was recorded in a video released on YouTube last November.

“You Are Mine” is the only Swindle painting in the series released so far. The “chosen person” determines when others will be released.

While they were talking, Jenkins explained the importance of the “You are mine” scene in Episode 1.

“This moment here isn’t just a moment, but it’s the most important moment of the whole show … the whole gospel is encapsulated at this moment,” Jenkins said in the video. “Thank you for capturing it in a very beautiful way. I think this is the only way to be captured in the long run because of the truth at that moment.”

Jenkins also said he loves show ideas, like Swindle, that encourage viewers to do something creative.

Swindle receives “small” royalties from prints, but much of what paintings earn will help fund future seasons of the show.

One of the tallest media projects in crowdfunding history, The Chosen has secured funding for Season 3 and plans to produce seven seasons.

“Most of the time I just hand them over. To keep this going, I’d like to give as much money as I can to this money. I don’t want to stop this in Season 3,” she said.

“I can’t wait to come here in the morning and I hate to leave when I have to go. This was such a blessing. Usually you finish some work and do something else. I retire when I want to, but I can’t think of anything else I want to do in my life right now. “


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