Rose Rose Datoc Dall is one of those brilliant women who seems to have it all figured out. She’s the proud mother of four great children. She’s a gifted musician. She’s beautiful and confident. She devotes free time to church callings and volunteer work at the local high school. She’s a fan of Segullah (and was the featured artist of our Fall 2006 issue!). And her latest success? A Purchase Award at the Church History Museum’s Eighth International Art Competition — a competition that received nearly 1,100 entries from 44 countries.

Here is a portion of Segullah’s recent conversation with Rose.

You’re a full-time mother and a part-time artist. Is this the career path you always envisioned for yourself?

I’ve always liked to draw and paint, but I originally went into filmmaking. I did end up getting my degree at Virginia Commonwealth University in art history and fine arts — I just kept getting rerouted to my original love, which is drawing and painting.

I joined the Church when I was 19, so that changed my career track. I got married during my senior year, then six months later I got pregnant and I was thrust into motherhood. I think in the back of my mind I knew I never wanted to be a career mom, but joining the church and getting married and having children so soon altered my expectations. But it was all good because it was all meant to be.

As a successful example of working while raising children, I’m sure you’re often asked how you balance it all.

I’ve had conversations with other LDS women artists about how to factor art into your life when you have young children — and I think I just fumble through it like everybody else does! After I had my first daughter, I backed off from working and tried to fit my art in whenever I could — and that wasn’t very often. Having a child in general is challenging. Nobody gave me a handbook on expectations. You’re exhausted just trying to be a mom. My husband was in grad school, and we were balancing that plus Church callings.

All my kids are in school now, so my time is used a little bit differently. But I still don’t do it full time. The time goes by just like that — you fill it with visiting teaching, household things, taking kids to appointments. The best way I can describe my life is a series of interruptions. Finding a big block of time for art is not always possible. It’s an hour here or a couple of stolen hours of energy at night. I used to think there was a magic formula to fit it in every day. But you can’t wear the artist’s smock all the time. There are periods when I just can’t get behind the canvas.

Adam and EveYou’ve had your work published in magazines like the Ensign and you’ve won major awards for your paintings. What are some of the religious subjects you devote your time to?

A lot of the pieces I do with the Church in mind take months and months of research. I started a study on the likeness of Joseph Smith years ago and it’s ongoing. That could mean reading about his life or listening to devotionals about him and his character, reading studies based on his familial resemblance — I even built a clay reconstruction bust of Joseph Smith. This series is in a lot of ways about me wanting to get to know the prophet. I have been unsatisfied with his likeness in most paintings. I want to take a scientific look and leave no stone unturned to get a likeness that is consistent. I think his likeness is elusive for a reason — it makes people want to explore the prophet

I also have a series on Adam and Eve that’s about mortality and the significance of the temples and reading between the lines. It’s about what Adam and Eve agreed to do.

FlightThe beautiful painting that was recently purchased by the Church came from your series on Mary, Joseph, and the boy Christ. What is this piece about?

It’s from a mother’s point of view in a way — it’s a commentary about parenting in a lot of ways. Yes, it’s about the boy Savior and his flight into Egypt, but I like to find more metaphors. I’m a parent of teenagers and I want so much to protect my kids. Sometimes you actually have to move them out of harm’s way and that’s what the flight to Egypt is all about. They literally moved the child and the family out of danger, so sometimes that’s what you have to do — you have to tell your kids, “Come ye out from the wicked.”

The painting is now part of the museum’s permanent collection. I don’t win awards that often and I was surprised when they called. I invested my soul into the painting and spent so much time preparing, and I didn’t really expect to get anything out of it. It’s the biggest award I’ve ever received.

24 Comments

  1. Leslie

    May 29, 2009

    Ashley, thank you for your interview and Rose, thank you for sharing with us. I have so appreciated your example to me as both a mother and an artist. Your pieces are exquisite, moving, and rich with purpose and meaning. Your talents are so inspiring. Best wishes for continuing creating~

  2. Reagan

    May 29, 2009

    Rose’s work is beautiful, and so is she — inside and out. Her testimony is apparent in her work and the gospel ties referenced in this interview gave me a lot to ponder. Thank you!

  3. jendoop

    May 29, 2009

    Thank you so much for giving us insight into your life. It shows me that small steps towards a giant goal do pay off! Congratulations on receiving recognition for all that work.

  4. Maralise

    May 29, 2009

    The Adam and Eve piece featured above is MY FAVORITE of Rose’s. I had the opportunity to see it ‘live’ a few years ago and fell into the kind of artistic stupor that plagues some of us…loving it so much that I ended up feeling spiteful that I hadn’t/couldn’t possibly create something so divine. Thanks Rose for sharing your art and yourself with us. I think of you every time I steal away to create something…anything.

  5. Jennie

    May 29, 2009

    What a wonderful artist and a great example of an LDS woman.

  6. Justine

    May 29, 2009

    What a beautiful talent. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  7. Melissa M.

    May 29, 2009

    I love Rose’s description of her life as being “a series of interruptions”–that’s exactly how I feel about mine. I thought that once all of my children were in school I’d have big blocks of time to write and be creative. Not so. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance mothering with writing and personal pursuits, so I appreciate this glimpse into another mother/artist’s life. And I love her paintings!

  8. QueenScarlett

    May 29, 2009

    This was truly beautiful and inspiring. Thank you.

  9. Kathryn Soper

    May 29, 2009

    amazing woman, amazing art!

  10. annie

    May 29, 2009

    Beautiful work. And I can completely relate to life being a “series of interruptions” (much better than thinking of it as “rotating neglect” as one of my advisors put it).

    I also loved the parenting parallel to the Flight into Egypt. I had never thought of it that way before.

  11. Darrell

    May 29, 2009

    We have a painting that Rose painted of my wife and I. It captures us perfectly. We are always inspired by her work and the way she lives her life.

  12. Shelah

    May 29, 2009

    Thanks so much for being willing to talk to us. Beautiful work!

  13. Kathryn P.

    May 29, 2009

    Thanks for introducing me to an amazing and inspiring artist! I would love to see the original painting from the church competition, so I checked out the details. It looks like the competition exhibit is in the conference center in SLC. Walk-in traffic hours are Monday-Saturday 10-7, Sunday 11-7. What a delightful way to spend a Sunday afternoon with your family! If you’re not in Utah, the entire exhibit is on-line:

    http://www.lds.org/ch/remembering/exhibit_2009.html

  14. Leslie

    May 29, 2009

    oh and ps see more of her amazing work on her blog- http://www.rosedatocdall.blogspot.com/
    Her Joseph and Emma piece is my favorite painting ever of the Prophet Joseph.

  15. Courtney

    May 29, 2009

    I am new to your work but it is beautiful! I look forward to seeing more.

  16. m&m

    May 29, 2009

    THANK YOU for this lovely glimpse into Rose’s life and work. I am so inspired by those who have artistic talent. And a warm congratulations for your recent recognition. I can’t wait to see it in the museum (on my list of things to do this summer).

  17. Selwyn

    May 30, 2009

    I can’t draw a smiley face, and am totally awed by anyone who can create such beauty (like Rose).

    Absolutely amazing.

  18. Page

    May 30, 2009

    Thank you for this beautiful article on an equally beautiful woman. Rose is an inspiration and an example to me.

  19. Proud Daughter of Eve

    May 30, 2009

    I can’t seem to leave this comment on her site.

    I was really struck by her painting of Adam and Eve. Looking through her gallery, I see it’s called “The Creation of Eve” but it looked to me like she was sitting up at night, thinking in the small quiet hours while Adam slept. Either way, I love it. Can we buy prints?

  20. m&m

    June 2, 2009

    I, too, have been savoring the Adam and Eve piece, thinking about it, pondering it.

    I have to say that a good friend of mine is a docent at the museum and your winning piece is one of her faves. And she loved this post.

  21. Rose

    June 10, 2009

    Wow, thank you to so many women whom I have not met but thought to comment. Thank you all! I am deeply touched that strangers would care to write. (I frankly did not know if it was okay with blog protocol to comment about an article written about you, but I guess I am finding that it is okay, so pardon my reticence and delay in responding).

    To the “proud mother of eve”, giclee prints for Creation of Eve are not as of yet available, but will be hopefully by the end of the summer or early fall when my web site is up. I guess I’ll be building the site sometime in between those “series of interruptions”……

    Again thank you to everyone again!

  22. Jackie Coleman

    August 18, 2009

    If you are interested in reading more about my best friend’s inspirational conversion story, visit my blog!

    Love you, Ro!! So proud of all you do for the Lord and for others. THANK YOU for being Wonderful!!

  23. Jackie Coleman

    August 18, 2009

    Btw, put more up!! 😉 (Particularly, Esther).

  24. diego robledo

    January 2, 2010

    hello rose,thi is diego robledo from argentina,I´v been looking at your blog and I congratulate you for your last painting that you won,you are a great artist,I hope to see you some day,by by

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