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"Nearly all of his paintings are just very small," Dabell said. "When I asked President Eyring if he paints large, he mentioned that how he feels uncomfortable spending too much time painting because of his call to serve. He keeps his paintings small so that they won't take up too much of his time."

September 19, 2017
Writer: Sydney Jensen

BYU-Idaho is the latest stop for artwork created by President Henry J. Eyring, just ahead of his son's inauguration as president of Brigham Young University-Idaho.

President Henry B. Eyring is often best known for his service as one of the members of the First Presidency for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. but few know the extent of his artistic abilities, now on full display at the college he once oversaw. 

"Something like this exhibit is a chance to see a much more human and intimate side of one of the Lord's prophets," Kyoung Dabell, one of BYU-Idaho's art curators, told BYU-Idaho Radio. "This exhibit is a great example of an apostle trying to live the gospel just like us and develop his talents."

Dabell says what's perhaps most impressive about the exhibit is the breadth of President Henry B. Eyring's artistic capabilities.

"He's not just good at one theme or one particular area like, you know, some folks are known for portraits or landscape artists like that, but you will see in the exhibit, President Eyring touches everything," Dabell said. "He is an excellent draftsman, his sketches are just very skillful and just amazing and he also does landscapes, ship, skies, horses, people, village, you name it. He has created all these paintings throughout his church calling traveling."

The exhibit only contains a fraction of President Eyring's work. Dabell says she had to choose 150 pieces to feature out of 700.

"It wasn't easy," Dabell said. "I received 700 unframed five inches by seven inches watercolor paintings collected in several large binders. I was overwhelmed, as you can imagine, by the sheer number of works. We had a very difficult time narrowing down to 150 of them that you will find in the exhibit."

In addition to the paintings, Dabell says several the exhibit several wood carvings created by Eyring, but Dabell also says President Eyring does not want the exhibit to be about him.

"[He is] so humble that he didn't want to this exhibit to be about himself," Dabell said. "He's a man of faith, he has sacrificed a lot of his own dreams and service to the Lord, he is also a great example of what consecration means to me personally, setting aside many personal pursuits in order to meet the heavy demands of a general authority." 

A mindset that Dabell says is demonstrated in the very size of Eyring's works. 

"Nearly all of his paintings are just very small," Dabell said. "When I asked President Eyring if he paints large, he mentioned that how he feels uncomfortable spending too much time painting because of his call to serve. He keeps his paintings small so that they won't take up too much of his time."

The exhibit is free but does require tickets. Tickets are available here or at the door. 

You can listen to the full interview below.