This golden painting captures a tender scene of the Good Shepherd retrieving a lamb from an environment full of treacherous cliffs and rugged mountains. The lamb now rests safely in the strong, yet gentle hands of the Savior.
Sometimes in life, we make unwise decisions and ignore the guidelines given by Heavenly Father. Like a lamb that has gone astray, we find ourselves lost and surrounded by unpleasant circumstances. It is during these times we must turn to the Savior.
The Lost Lamb expresses the importance of the individual. We must remember that the Savior loves and cares for each one of us. When we have faith and repent, he will search for us. The Good Shepherd will find us and carry us back to the fold.
I wanted to paint Lost Lamb because it depicts Christ’s love for each of us. I found a model in my art class at Dixie College. I watched him during a couple of class periods. He was taller than average and seemed to have a wonderful disposition. He agreed to pose.
We drove to a lambing shed to pick up a newborn lamb. As we traveled, I wanted to get to know him better. He told me that he liked to play sports. He had been the quarterback on Dixie’s football team that year and was now a pitcher on the baseball team. He said that he was having a phenomenal year and had been offered a contract to play professional baseball. I thought that was fantastic and asked him when he would start. He said he wasn’t going to accept the contract. His reply surprised me. I asked him, “Don’t you like baseball?” “I love baseball,” came his answer. “But I’m going to serve a mission.”
That conversation told me a lot about this young man. I thought about his willingness to give up a huge salary and something he loved so much to serve his Heavenly Father. His attitude of love and devotion kept coming back to me while I painted this picture, and it was manifest even more in how this painting developed.
I originally had a different pose in mind for this painting. I wanted to show the Savior carrying this lost lamb on His shoulders. But the little lamb we had picked to photograph was small and sick. We tried several times to photograph the pose I wanted, but the little lamb’s head would droop down. I would help the lamb, hold its head how I wanted it, but before I could take a picture, the head would droop again. It was starting to get dark and I felt like this wasn’t going to work. It was time to go home. I gathered my equipment and the young man followed me back to the car with the lamb. When I looked back and saw the model cradling the lamb and comforting it in his arms, I told him not to move — that was the painting. That was how the Savior should be shown loving and caring for the lamb.
The painting is much more personal than I had originally envisioned. It not only depicts the lamb’s rescue, but the tender comfort and love that the Lord extends to us all when we lose our way and are too weak and frail to return on our own.