My name is Lauren Skinner and I’m 19 years old. I have been practicing realistic and classical art since I was 14 years old. My favorite medium is oil painting, although I also enjoy sketching and color pencil drawings. I’m entering my sophomore year at Laguna College of Art and Design, where I am pursuing a degree in fine arts. 

When I was 16 years old I began a three part series depicting the experience of entering heaven and seeing God for the first time. I chose three different aged women from Rwanda. I wanted to showcase the feelings of joy, unconditional love and overwhelming peace that accompany that moment when the trials and tribulations of life on earth fade away. The moment when all of life’s questions and mysteries have answers and everything suddenly makes sense. If you look closely into each of these women’s eyes, you will see the reflection of Jesus welcoming them with open arms.

The survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda have a different perspective on life. What surprised me the most was how joyful these women were, given how much pain they’ve encountered. They have so little, often barely enough to survive, but exude such great thankfulness and joy. Their faith and love inspired me to change my perspective regarding the hardships in my own life and to instead look towards what is eternally important. So I tried to paint each woman exactly as she appeared, every beautiful wrinkle and imperfection, to celebrate the hardships she has overcome.  The message behind these paintings is to perceive hardships as gifts from God which result in growth and wisdom. These women represent strength, beauty, and resilience. My depiction of them entering heaven shows the moment that their resilience is finally rewarded. The soft halo of light around their heads highlights their angelic, saintly presence as they ascend to heaven where they can finally rest in eternal love.

If you are able, please consider donating to Project Waterfall, to show support for Lauren and the cause she is creating for.


You can contact Lauren through Instagram: @al0halO



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