For the 2015 Pioneer Day message, I had the privilege of painting this illustration. Margaret Judd, who was 17 when she trekked across the plains as a pioneer in the 1800s, said, "Our journey was like all such journeys--it had its pleasant side, and its unpleasant side. When the sun was shining and the roads were good, we trotted along feeling that we would soon be at our destination, but when the rain poured down and the roads were so bad that we could not travel--then that was the other side." However, they found ways to lift their spirits. Catherine Adams, who turned 12 during her pioneer trek, described it this way: "It was terribly tiring and tedious in the hot and rainy weather. . . We had many good times, though. In the evenings after the horses were tethered the men would light a big bonfire, clear off a level piece of ground, dampen it down to pack it a bit, and have a dance. There were some fine musicians along who played the fiddle, [harmonica], and accordion, and we used to e enjoy sitting around the fire listening to them or having a sing-song."
I used several pictures of modern-day teenagers on trek for this one. It was a trick to get the lighting right, with several pictures with different lighting to start, but I think it turned out OK in the end. I really wanted a dramatic bonfire, and some nice glowing contrast to the pioneers. I enjoyed painting the flickering lights along the water-soaked ground.