The painting came from a deep desire to portray the most historically authentic, touching piece on Noah’s Ark that Elfred Lee could create. This Adventist artist’s newest painting, “Don’t Miss the Boat,” presents Noah’s Ark in a way that those who view it may “wonder at reality.”
Lee was commissioned by New York-based Bibleland Studios to create the Noah’s Ark painting, which, after three years of research and work, was unveiled at the church’s world headquarters Oct. 7. According to John Adolfi, president of Bibleland Studios, and his wife, Christen, secretary/treasurer of the organization, the goal for Bibleland Studios is to “establish the credibility of Biblical concepts, reaching people through various modern methods of media.”
“One of the catch phrases for Bibleland Studios is ‘reaching the heart through the imagination,’ and ‘the wonder of reality,’” John Adolfi told the audience gathered at the unveiling. “We’ve been presented with much fantasy. Now let’s wonder at reality.”
When Adolfi approached Lee about the idea, Lee said, “I’ve been waiting 35 years to do this.” As preparation work for creating the painting, Lee, who has been involved with the search for Noah’s Ark since the 1960s at Mt. Ararat, researched the topic extensively.
“I’ve gotten to know live witnesses who have been there, seen it, walked on it, touched it, and lived to describe it to me personally. I spent years working on this project and when John Adolfi called, it was a match made in heaven,” he told the audience.
“We had input from our scientists at Loma Linda University… geologists, archeologists, theologians, historians… they all had a place in this,” Lee explained.
Lee points to the shadow of the cross behind Noah in the painting. “Jesus also built a way to salvation. He built the ark of safety for us. And He is giving the invitation,” he said to attendees. “Don’t miss the boat.”
He highlights the people in the foreground of the painting, some who are scoffing Noah. With their various dress and multiple ethnicities, they are symbolic of the world today, Lee said.
Just before the flood, “Only eight of the remnant, only eight people accepted the message of God. And Noah is saying to us [in the painting], just like Christ is, ‘please come into the ark.’”
The painting will be on display at the church’s world session in July 2005 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Other well-known works by Lee include “The Truth as it is in Jesus,” “Victory in Jesus,” and “From Paradise Lost to Paradise Restored.” Some of his original work, including the mural, “The Christ of the Narrow Way,” can be seen at the Adventist Church’s world headquarters. Lee also presented a painting to the late United States President Ronald Reagan.
Lee has lectured and exhibited artwork around the world and has been interviewed on several radio and television networks in the United States, including the Voice of America, and ABC News programs “Nightline” and “20/20.”