Looking at his work, one would expect a bold and slightly brash person. But Walter is a wonderful living contradiction. Dramatic and larger-than-life creations emerge from a soft spoken and admittedly shy creator. He has been compared to such masters as Rembrandt and Caravaggio. Though he would shy away from such comparisons, the similarities are unmistakable. "I never decided I would be an artist. Like most kids, I was just fascinated with art, but for me the fascination never left. There weren’t any artists in my family so becoming an artist was not a planned thing, my parents just saw my love and encouraged me to follow it. I remember someone gave me a paint-by-numbers set. I threw away the “numbers” and started using the paints. I was nine years old and have been painting ever since." "Growing up I admired the old masters like Rembrandt and Caravaggio who painted spiritual subjects and I wanted to paint like them. On my mission the Mission President wanted to do a traveling exhibit of original works to appeal to the French people. I thought of it as a Visitors Center in the back of a VW Bus. I spent a couple of months in the mission home painting religious pieces and loved it." "I definitely feel my life has been guided; I think every step has been part of this process. From becoming an illustrator to living in New York, from the woman I married to living in Paris. Everything has built and brought me to this point. I find it gratifying that I am able to speak to people all over the world through art." "I hope that I spend the rest of my life painting scriptural paintings. I am not much of a long-range planner. When I look back I can see everything working as it should have, but I didn’t plan it that way." "I hope that I spend the rest of my life painting scriptural paintings. I am not much of a long-range planner. When I look back I can see everything working as it should have, but I didn’t plan it that way."
The Savior's childhood remains largely a mystery. We know that He was taught by His earthly father Joseph, as well as His Heavenly father. We are told that He received "grace for grace," and that he was found in the temple "going about His father's work." This effort to follow our Father's will is always the prevalent theme throughout His life.
God gave his gift to the world by sending His Only Begotten Son as our Savior. This catalyst in the plan of salvation caused great jubilation; the scriptures tell us the hosts of heaven "shouted for joy!" We must be ever mindful of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made by coming to Earth, and of the love that He has for each of us.
The crowning event of the Book of Mormon is portrayed in this painting as Christ visits the people on the America n continents. The descent of Christ is portrayed as vibrant and dynamic as He comes down to the earth, reaching towards His people who anticipate His arrival.
President Spencer W. Kimball's book, Faith Preceded the Miracle, states: "Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures—each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payments of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions, marriage in the covenant for eternity—these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps."
This work captures the awe of the shepherds as they learned the glad tidings of Christ's birth from an angel. The light of the angel illuminates the painting with a flame-like radiance, much as the news he brought must have filled the souls of the shepherds with joy and hope. At the same time, the angel, while brilliant in color, points towards Christ, a greater source of light and truth.
In this painting, Rane emphasizes the actual healing process rather than who is performing the miracle. The focus is upon the two sets of hands: Christ's lovingly stretched forth in tenderness, the blind man's twisted and anxious while being healed, thereby capturing the blind man's hope of being released from a pitiable condition. Rane used sandpaper to scrub out the background to eliminate distractions so the viewer focuses on the two main figures.