Meet Katie Garner
I’m so excited to welcome Katie Garner to The Gift of Giving Life podcast today.
I have known Katie for a eight or nine years.
When I first met Katie, she was starting to work on some Adam and Eve paintings.
She has gone on to do a lot of pregnancy, birth themed painting.
I’m so excited to have her here today to talk to her.
Let’s just start with those, Adam and Eve ones, because that’s where you were at when I first met you.
What inspired you to do that?
Adam and Eve Series of Paintings
All I know is I felt strongly prompted to do it. and it was interesting because I was just getting back into art.
I hadn’t been painting for, oh, I don’t know, 10 or 12 years because I had just been so busy momming it. I had five children in eight years and, my youngest at the time was three. And I knew I wanted to paint, but it just didn’t, I didn’t feel like I could until they were older. And then I was strongly prompted that now was the time to start painting.
And God needed me to be serious about it. And I was like, hallelujah. Yes, I can do that. That’s an awesome prompting. And the first thing that came to my mind to start working on as a project was Eve I had been focusing a lot on. On Eve and thinking a lot about her because she was the first mother, here on earth, our first mother.
And I was in the midst of, drowning in motherhood is what I often refer to it as, because I just had all these little children. And so I was thinking a lot about what it might have been like for her.
Why is Eve never pregnant in paintings??
When we see depictions of her, in art or otherwise, I started noticing that she was never pregnant and it started bothering me, like, why do I never see a depiction of even pregnant for heaven’s sake?
She was probably pregnant for most of her life, . And, and so I just had this idea that. Maybe I should paint that. And so, I thought, okay. Yeah. In five years or so, when I’ve had some more practice and I’m really feeling better about my skills, I’ll paint Eve and the prompting came, no. Now. so that’s why I started painting Eve.
Let me ask you this. You felt that prompting to start right away. How did that go? I guess looking back, are you happy with how those turned out?
I think they’re beautiful, but I’m curious.
“God Blessed me.”
I think I could do them better now. but they were good. and I think I was definitely blessed with my. My skills, I had never done anything so ambitious and with such a serious, subject matter and, I do feel like God definitely blessed me. in my efforts and made something better out of it than I would have made had I done it without his hope. . The first painting that I did, which was the mother of all living, ended up being accepted into the spiritual and religious show at the Springville Museum of Art, which is a really big deal.
That’s actually the only piece I’ve ever had accepted to that show . And so I felt like it was, God giving me a. a sign, as a reward for being obedient in that instance and saying, look, you’re on the right track.
They are not “distant” relatives.
What I ended up focusing on a lot when I was painting Adam and Eve was I had this strong desire to try to connect us with our first parents because I learned through the spirit that this idea of, distant relatives is a complete myth that phrase was probably contracted by Satan, honestly, distant relatives.
Because there’s no such thing. There’s no such thing. They may have lived on Earth a long time ago, but they’re still alive and helping us now, and they’re very close to us. And I had the spirit, impress upon my heart multiple times as I was painting Adam and Eve that. . yes. we are, living in a time period that on Earth is far away from the time period that they lived.
And we are theirs, however many greats, between us and them grandchildren, but they love us as if we were their immediate children. and they feel that close to us, and we would feel that close to them if the veil were removed. And so I wanted to make them relatable and bring them to life in a way that they never had been before.
And I painted them in, scenes that were similar to. Scenes that any of us who are parents may have experienced in our lives.
That They Might Have Joy
The second painting I did, was that they might have joy and it was a depiction of Eve. That’s my favorite one, honestly, of Eve sitting on a large rock and, leaning back and Adam is feeling her belly and feeling the baby kick.
He’s kneeling down next to her with his hand on her belly, and his head is thrown back in laughter because he’s feeling that new life in her belly. And just the joy and wonder and excitement of that, expecting their first child and just us, trying to ponder on what that may have been like for them, but then also think how that was for us, and how beautiful. And it’s the same. It’s the same. And, they’re just like us. Those were the messages really, of those paintings.
I love that. I really appreciate that insight. And I remember you talking about how there were probably angels there with Eve when she gave birth.
Like she was alone. Yes. I mean, well she had Adam
But she didn’t have a midwife.
Or a woman that had ever even done it before. So just the thought of angels there supporting her was powerful.
Painting Eve and Mary Together
So that one just came over time of, different ideas gradually, coming to my mind and building up into this concept of Eve Mary together. I had seen a couple pieces of artwork, little drawings and illustrations of even Mary together, and didn’t love how they were presented, and wanted to present it in a way that, was in line with our beliefs as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Saints and Eve’s role.
Because I think Eve is one of, if not the most misunderstood character , in scripture . and it is so foundational to our understanding of who we are as women, and it’s shaped the world’s perception of women throughout time at this misunderstanding of Eve. And so I really wanted to, help depict Eve in a more glorious and appreciative, and honoring setting and position that, that we know is the reality of who she is , and her role, in, bringing to pass mortality. Mm-hmm. Um, and so that one was so fun to do because as I was planning it morphed and changed so many times. And, I probably planned that one for, I don’t know, six months to a year, just continuing to sketch different ideas and change it.
And feeling it’s not quite there yet.
And I had all these different symbols that came to my mind to include in , that painting, and then some of the symbols, or at least one of the symbols, didn’t occur to me until after I was done with the painting. I realized why, I had been impressed to add a certain element to the painting.
Two Women with the Most Pivotal Roles
But, these two women they had the most, pivotal roles, and life changing roles for all of us collectively, more than any other women in the history of the world, because Eve, like I said, she was the one who chose to partake the fruit and brought about mortality and made it possible for us even to be born and received bodies.
And then Mary, who was willing to submit to God’s will and become the mother of our savior, who ended up being the one who made it possible for us to live again and have eternal life and come back into the presence. of our father and mother. And these two women I, I loved ,putting them together in a painting and thinking about them maybe now in the spirit world with the veil removed completely knowing and understanding and loving each other for their roles that they each played, and that mutual respect and honor and love that they must have for each other.
I depicted them facing each other. They’re both pregnant, they’re holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes with just a slight smile and a knowing. And then, in the background, behind Eve, I have the tree of knowledge and behind Mary, the tree of life. We partake of the one fruit come into mortality, and then we partake of the next fruit, as we are able to come back into the presence of the Father and enjoy the blessings of eternal life and exaltation. So those two, symbols there with the two women, among several other symbols,
I love that one so much. I have that hanging in my house, so it’s one of my favorites also. great.
Mother to Mother
Okay, so then I think there’s one you’re probably most well known for. Would you agree? Okay. Okay. So, tell me about that one, and it can symbolize so many different things. So, I’m curious what inspired you to do it and then how it’s helped people.
Yeah, so the painting that I am by far most well-known for is called Mother to Mother, and it is a depiction of a baby being born through the veil and it’s being passed from one mother’s hands to the next. And this was for me, a depiction of Heavenly Mother passing a baby, one of her children to earth, to its earthly mother, and entrusting the care of that child into a new mother’s hands for a time.
And, the idea came to me as I was pregnant with my sixth child. I have seven children now. and I was doing a lot of seeking and studying and pondering and praying on about Heavenly mother and trying to. Learn more about who she is and who I am because of who she is and our role as women in this life and in eternities.
And it occurred to me, that there’s really one very specific and distinct thing that only women could ever possibly do here in this life. And that’s their children. and it’s not something that a man could ever dream of doing, no matter how much he may want to, it just doesn’t work. . it’s only for women, right? And I just, I, it made sense to me that if that is a role or an ordinance that only women can perform, that Heavenly mother would be very involved on the other side of the veil as well. as a glorified, goddess. And, and so I, I tried to put that message into one still image that would represent it all.
and that’s what I came up with. And it, and this idea that during the birth process, a woman, whether she is aware of it consciously or not, is parting the veil and is connecting with the Heavenly realm, in a very special and intimate way. and so I chose to have their hands, just barely touching as this child is born, to show that connection and that experience that a mother has as the veil is parted as she gives birth. Mm-hmm. So, but it’s become, it didn’t even occur to me when I painted it that it could be a depiction of the baby being passed back to heaven, back into its Heavenly Mother’s care for a time.
Which has been one of the, probably the second largest meaning, most common meaning that people have derived from it and used it,, to help comfort grieving hearts. Parents who have had to , let go, who have had to let go for a season.
And others have seen it as a depiction of adoption.
And it’s been very meaningful and healing to them in that regard as well. So it’s been really neat to see how the spirit uses this image to touch, different people’s hearts and help them find healing and peace, which is the beauty of symbols. Symbols always, have multiple meanings and they’re all correct, right?
The power of God using Katie as a tool.
Yes. I love that. I love how your inspiration could create one beautiful image and then the spirit can help other people see different things in it. That as you say, brings feeling to them, and that’s powerful. That’s the power you can have as an artist, which is awesome.
It’s the power of God using me as a tool.
And I had nothing to do with that . But it’s so cool to sit back and watch and to be a witness of, because, you know, all I was doing was painting something for myself. I didn’t, I was almost scared to even show anybody what I’d painted. I didn’t know how it would be accepted but I was very shocked by how it was received.
Are there any other specific of your art pieces, that you want to talk about your inspiration of?
Oh, there’s so many but I think. Two of my favorites. I’m looking on my website right now, I can’t do just one.
One of them is called Mother’s Embrace, and this is a symbolic depiction of Heavenly Mother, though we have no idea or I have no idea what she looks like. So that was, it was intimidating to think of trying to actually put a face to her and to know that it wasn’t going to be the right face , but I wanted something that could help us feel closer to her and help us feel her love. And if that is able to happen for anyone through viewing it, then I feel like it was a success. but I was actually asked to participate in an art show. it was called A Certain Women art show, and they do it I think every other year up at Anthony’s fine Art antiques in Salt Lake.
And the theme that they gave us was Reflections on a Mother in Heaven. And so I knew , that I was to paint a depiction of Heavenly Mother. And that’s what kind of, pushed me into actually doing it. But I was trying to seek inspiration about how I would depict her, what would she be doing, what would be the overall feeling and composition of the painting.
And I had sketched out several ideas. Nothing was feeling right. But as I was sitting on my bed sketching, my nine year old daughter at the time came bursting into my room crying and so upset. And I had no idea what was wrong, but I just. Instinctively grabbed her and hugged her to my chest, and I put my hand on the top of her head as she was laying it on my chest.
And I just comforted her for as long as she needed. And as I was holding her like that, I felt the spirit say, this is it, this, this pose, this position. This is how if you came crying to your Heavenly Mother, this is how she would hold you. and I felt like we as women have that instinctual desire to pull someone to our chest, from her.
We get that from her. And, and so that’s how I painted it. It’s a, it’s got Heavenly Mother and. A young mom holding a baby. and the young mom was leaning into Heavenly Mother. And Heavenly Mother has her hand on top of her head, and you can see her love in encircling this mother and child pair, and visually that painting, I love the golden halo design I put on Heavenly Mother and the Purple and just, I still just really love that painting when I look at it, it’s one of my favorites..
And then the other one, which I finished a little bit more recently is titled Surrender.
And this is a depiction of Jochebed, who was the mother of Moses. So it’s Jochebed with Baby Moses, and she’s about to place him down into the basket. And you can see the Now River behind them. and her face is just full of emotion.
And this inspiration actually, came to me at a time when I had a child who was really struggling and I felt completely powerless and terrified about what the future, may hold for this child with the path that they were heading down.
And the scripture story that got impressed upon my mind to comfort me was this experience of oved in just surrendering her child and trusting, trusting her child to the river and trusting that God controlled the river. .
And so the phrase, whenever I would get into anxiety and fear about my child, I would say to myself, I put my baby in a basket. God controls the river. And I would just say that over and over again until the anxiety left.
And, that’s why I created this painting as a visual reminder of that and to share that message with other mothers. really anyone we get to have the opportunity to surrender things to God and trust that he’s in control over and over again, throughout our lives.
Katie’s Experience with The Gift of Giving Life
Before we end, I would just love to hear what your experience has been with The Gift of Giving Life book.
So I actually read that book before I ever met you. Okay. And when I met you, I didn’t know that you were one of the authors. I think for quite a while. I was, I found out, wait, what? you all tried that book?
I had no idea. And then it was even more special to me. but I loved the perspective that book brought to me. I read it, when I was in the midst of having all of those first five children. And it changed my perspective on birth and on my body and how, the symbolism that, and the lessons we can learn, about God through the things that happened within a woman’s body.
And it was just so beautiful to me. In fact, I don’t have it anymore because I lent it to my cousin, who was, I mailed it to her a few states away to, because I just knew she needed to read it when she was pregnant. And I just loved it. I learned so much from it.
Where to find Katie
Katie’s website is katiegarnerart.com
Instagram and Facebook as KatieGarnerArt as well.
Yeah. Oh, and you share such fun videos like sped up of you, like making art.
Yeah. And it’s amazing. I love it. Thank you. so yes, I will definitely put that in the show notes and everyone listening should go check out Katie’s Amazing Art and purchase it for your home. I have a few of your pieces and I just love them. They make me so happy. So, thank you for, for trusting God when he told you to start painting again.
I’m grateful every day that I did.