Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL — Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in south Davis County recognize the covenant between the Bountiful Tabernacle and Bountiful Temple, artist Roger Cushing believes.
And his oil painting of the tabernacle with the temple in the background, conveys “the whole statement’ about members’ covenants with the past and present.
“Whoever would have thought we’d have a temple standing in the shadow of the tabernacle, so to speak,” Cushing said.
Cushing painted the tabernacle, showing the building in the spring, for a buyer and the painting was posted on the Internet.
When Lloyd Carr, owner of Carr Publishing, saw the painting on the Internet, he wanted to print it in the company’s calendar, Cushing said. However the buyer stipulated there would be no prints.
“So I told Lloyd I’d paint him another,” for the calendar, Cushing said.
The painting, showing the tabernacle with the temple in the upper right-hand corner, shows the grounds in the fall, just as the colors are starting to change, “to add color,” Cushing said.
Prints of the painting are available for $20 for an 8x10, $30 for an 11x14 and $100 for an 18x24. Those interested in purchasing a print may contact Cushing at 801-292-1346, 801-910-5827 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cushing, a Bountiful native, feels a reverence and love for the tabernacle. He grew up nearby and the LDS ward his family attended met in the tabernacle.
He has many fond memories of the building, including one when he was 12 years old.
That was 1957, when then-LDS President David O. McKay dedicated an addition to the tabernacle. Following the dedication, members lined up to shake McKay’s hand.
“As we shook hands, he looked down and smiled,” Cushing said. He had an aura about him. That was a personal witness to me.”
Another memory isn’t quite as spiritual. Cushing’s brother decided they should find out if there were bats, as rumored, in the steeple. The boys climbed up to see and found no bats, but a lot of pigeons, along with their droppings. Those droppings contributed to the collapse of the roof in 1983, Cushing said.
A career in painting wasn’t on Cushing’s radar as a kid. He was an athlete at Bountiful High School, he said. One day he found himself doodling in biology class. Instead of reprimanding him, Cushing’s teacher introduced him to the school’s art teacher, Don Jardine. Jardine encouraged him to take art classes the following year.
“That four minute encounter changed my life,” Cushing said. He became Bountiful’s Sterling Scholar in art his senior year and took first runner-up. At Weber State College, he won the Best of Show and the Purchase Award in a student art competition.
Cushing became an art teacher, and for a time an LDS seminary instructor, and between the two teaching careers, taught at five Davis County schools, including Viewmont, Davis and Clearfield High Schools. He also has taught at the Bountiful/Davis Art Center at the University of Utah, Brigham Young University and Weber State University.
Those who may not know his work by name probably have seen some of it.
“I painted all the portraits in the Viewmont auditorium and have painted the symbols on many of the gym floors at the high schools and at the South Davis Recreation Center,” he said. He has also had exhibits in galleries throughout the state.