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Rose Datoc Dall: An ARtist's Voice

Jesus approaching Mary at the tomb.

Filipina-American artist, Rose Datoc Dall, has inspired many both in the way of artistic talent as well as religious faith. Her art adorns the walls of homes, exhibitions, Latter-day Saint Temples, Temple Visitors Centers, universities, and even museums. 

We are honored to feature some of her work here at Altus and for this blog we wanted to focus on some of the behind-the-scenes of Rose’s stunning work. 

What inspires Rose?

For Rose Dall, it is the creative process itself that inspires creativity. 

“I have always just loved drawing and painting, the physical act of creating and bringing things to life from my imagination. It’s my happy, safe place where I can lose myself.”

As for artists that have brought Rose inspiration along the way, she cites the timeless works of Edgar Degas as one of the first. And then the colorful paintings of Wayne Thiebaud. If you study Rose’s art closely you can see traces of both timelessness and bright color in her own artwork. 

Additional inspirations include American artist John Singer Sargent, Czech painter and illustrator Alphonse Mucha, Australian symbolist artist Gustav Klimt, American illustrator N.C. Wyeth, muralist Dean Cornwell, and contemporary artist J. Kirk Richards.

Having studied so many masters of symbolism, illustration, and oil painting it is no wonder Rose’s artwork has such detail and expressive narrative to them, telling the story by conveying deep human emotion. 

Fishermen standing in the water.

Leave Your Nets by Rose Datoc Dall

Why Christ-centered artwork?

Drawing Study of Christ by Rose Datoc Dall

Rose’s testimony of Jesus Christ plays a role in everything she does, including her artwork. Her unique portrayal of scriptural scenes have inspired many, displayed in homes and temple visitor’s centers alike. 

“My testimony is core to all my imagery. They are very nearly all personal commentary on the scriptures.”

That is one of the amazing things about artwork. It can offer an entirely new insight into already familiar concepts or stories. It has a way of communicating things to the soul in a way that words cannot always convey. 

An Artist’s Voice

Rose says that she shies away from the word “style” when describing her art “because style sounds superficial. I prefer to use the term ’artist’s voice’, which describes an artist’s authentic and unique vision. Style is not the end goal, only the byproduct or evidence of your artist's voice. Finding your artist's voice is the end goal.”

Creating religious themed art has helped Rose to discover artist voice and she considers herself a contemporary figurative painter. 

“I don’t know what else to call myself. I think I first really found my artist voice when I painted ‘Flight,’ in 2008, which won a Purchase Award at the International Art Competition. I learned how to marry my contemporary sensibilities for the first time with religious imagery, and that set the course for the rest of my career.”

Mary looking up toward Heaven.

Behold the Handmaid by Rose Datoc Dall

Rose’s Creative Process

Mary weeping and holding the crucified Jesus.

Pieta by Rose Datoc Dall

Since so many of Rose’s pieces are her commentary on the scriptures, it is no surprise that many of them are inspired by her studying General Conference talks, reading the scriptures, or participating in Sunday lessons. 

“There’s always a personal element to my religious imagery. That’s where it begins. I usually can see the painting or composition in my head before I begin. Then I break down what I need to do to make that vision happen.”

Rose does extensive research to make sure the painting is not only beautiful, but accurate. Even if the image appears in her mind, she starts by studying costumes and locations as well as additional scripture references to take the original vision and create something meaningful and timeless. But her research doesn’t end there:

“I then either need to find models, or build 1:6 scale sculptural maquettes, obtain or make props, and sometimes build miniature sets to achieve my vision, like a miniature pool of Bethesda or Garden Tomb. Then I photograph and composite all those references together, trying to stay as close to my original vision. And then I paint from them.”

Rose’s (many) crowning moments as an artist

Rose has won numerous well-earned awards and honors for her artwork as it continues to draw so many closer to the Savior. You can see many of her pieces on display in museums and publications. So what is her crowning moment as an artist?

“I think my crowning moments have been winning a Purchase Award 3 times at the LDS International Art Competition (4 times since one didn’t occur at the Awards ceremony itself). I think I felt like I had arrived and built my career on that.”

Painting of the twelve wise virgins.

Five that were Wise by Rose Datoc Dall

Where does she go from here?

Joseph and Jesus carrying lumber.

Shouldering Burdens by Rose Datoc Dall

Rose is not about to stop painting anytime soon. It is her life’s passion; A talent she has magnified that blesses the lives of so many. 

“I can conceivably keep painting images from the life of Christ until I die, as those are the images that keep flooding my mind. I don’t think I will live long enough to paint all of the images on my list. There are too many.”

More by Rose

Jesus holding a dish of loaves and fishes, standing in front of a crowd.

Loaves and Fishes by Rose Datoc Dall

Mary holding baby Jesus.

Mary & Child by Rose Datoc Dall

Jesus kneeling in prayer in the wilderness.

Fasting in the Wilderness by Rose Datoc Dall

Here at Altus, we are so grateful for her willingness to share her extraordinary gift and look forward to seeing where her passion for painting takes her. Peruse our gallery to see more of her art!

For more featured Altus artists, you might also like:

Introducing Megan Rieker

Divine Redeemer and More Classics by Simon Dewey

Favorite Annie Henrie Nader Art

Introducing: Kendal Ray

Introducing : LDS Artist Haley Miller