Posts Tagged ‘Saint Francis’

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Saint Francis Episode

February 23, 2011

The new episode 1 of 2 on Saint Francis will air Albuquerque on February 23 9PM Comcast Channel 26 Encantada TV. It was a fun shoot, although I was a little slow to get going.  The first episode takes you through most of the main painting and the second will focus on the border.  I talk about the imagery and symbols of Saint Francis.  I also have lots of fun, interesting and touching stories about Saint Francis that I cover as well.  I find his story especially compelling.  Here is the text I include on all my gift tags with my retablos of Saint Francis:

ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI [SAN FRANCISCO]

1181-1226AD | Feast Day Oct 4

Patron Saint of the city of Santa Fe, the environment, families & animals

The son of a wealthy cloth merchant, Francis searched for meaning in his life and was moved by the goodness of the Church.  He surrendered all of his worldly possessions and vowed a life of poverty in devotion to God, unknowingly founding the Franciscan order of monks.  He received the marks of Stigmata, appearing only on the most devout of followers.  He is often shown with the marks.  He may be shown with skull, cross, animals.  He will have three knots on his rope belt signifying the three vows of his order:  poverty, chastity, obedience.

Retablo Saint Francis 004In the episode, I mention watching a few videos on Saint Francis.  The two films I can recommend are:

“Francesco” 1989 starring Mickey Rourke and Helena Bonham Carter.  It’s gritty, rough and honest.  Although physically, Mickey does not allow you to enter an authentic view, I think he did a fantastic job capturing the essence of humility, peace and compassion that Saint Francis represents.

“The Flowers of Saint Francis” 1950 directed by Roberto Rossellini.  This is a beautiful portrayal through vignettes of his life in black and white.  The director employed local monks to play the roles of the Franciscan disciples.  It feels like you are watching actual footage as it has an aged quality and everyone is speaking Italian throughout.  It is so sweet and gentle, like Saint Francis might be.  Even the “violent” scenes are done with a quietness.

I painted this board with my sister-in-law in mind.  She told me that as a child, she used to play with a Saint Francis image at her Grandparent’s house that had removable birds.  She had fond memories and still plays with it from time to time.  I had my brother create these pajaritos based on some Christmas ornaments he made for my sons this year.  It is a pattern from my Grandmother.  I tapped some upholstery tacks into the wood and glued magnets onto the back of the birds so they could be removed, rearranged or rotated!  I’m sending the board to my sister in-law for her birthday 😉

I’ve asked my brother to add the bird ornaments to his online store.  If they are not available yet, they should be by tomorrow.  Just visit the Tintero Online Store.

I’m also adding a simplified version of this image of Saint Francis for your personal use in the Patterns link on the right under PAGES.  I’ve left out all the symbols so you can add your own.

I am very moved by Saint Francis’ strength of character.  I especially like his prayer, which I believe is recited in all of the movies I saw.  I want to include it here for you.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

 

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Final Jury Piece #3 Complete!

February 4, 2011

 

SCAS jury review 2011

copyright ©2011 Sean Wells y Delgado

It was a disastrously unproductive 2 weeks with sick kids, sick Gramma babysitter and snow days that turned into snow week.  But with a bit of support from family watching kids, I was able to wrap up my 3rd piece to submit for SCAS final jury!  I will head up to Santa Fe tomorrow with pieces in hand and stay over for an early morning delivery.  I was so excited when I finished it and saw the three pieces adjacent to one another.  It looked like the work produced by a single artist (my goal for this year) and I was very pleased with the trio as a set.

St Francis Retablo

copyright ©2011 Sean Wells y Delgado

SAINT FRANCIS  |  SAN FRANCISCO  For the final piece, I created a companion board to the La Conquistadora board and chose the Saint Francis imagery.  It is a large 12″ x 18″ board, so I was able to get into some entertaining details and textures.

I added some birds and framed him in trees to symbolize the tale of Saint Francis being swarmed by a variety of birds as he walked through the woods with his companions.  I included an owl to recall the giant owl my brother just encountered on a hike with my son. I typically include a stylized deer wrapping his legs, but decided to convert my deer into a wolf, after having heard tale of  how he saved a village from a killing wolf.  He befriended the wolf and convinced the town to feed the wolf.  In exchange, he asked the wolf not to harm the villagers or their livestock.

I sketched several iterations of the wolf, trying to capture ‘wolf’ and get away from ‘dog.’  I asked my two year old son if he liked the doggie in the painting.  I was so happy when he said (completely unprompted), “that not dog Mom, it wolf!”

The pattern in the leaves of the trees were inspired by illustrations from one of my kid’s vintage sleepy time books.  I had so much fun painting the leaves, I will surely be introducing more pattern fill and texture in future boards.

I chose to wrap the imagery of the leaves and tree trunk around the edge of the board.  I like the effect, but it is a more modern look, I believe.  And, it is not very enjoyable to paint on a curve!

Retablo St Francis detail

copyright ©2011 Sean Wells y Delgado

I feel myself getting more comfortable with predicting how the pigments and board will react to one another.  My brush strokes are getting more confident and I am loosening up.  I’m sorry I forgot to get a progress shot.  It was very cool at the color blocking stage.  I will be sure to get those shots in the future.

Anyway, no matter what happens with jury at this point, I feel I am putting my best foot forward and have represented my family’s name with honor.

TV EPISODE UPDATES:  Well, the weather started getting rough and the all the stations had some technical issues.  In short, both Santa Fe and Albuquerque will be rerunning this weeks episodes next week. I have updated the episode list to reflect the new air schedule.  Also, just a note, after we finish the Saint Rita episodes, we will start a Saint Francis board that will be based on this board!  We haven’t shot it yet, so if you have any thoughts on whether to put in a wolf or a deer, drop me a comment!

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SCAS Jury Piece #2 Complete!

February 2, 2011

SCAS Entry Sketch

I thought some people might be interested in the Spanish Market jury process.  I have passed the first screening which is a paper portfolio submission and now I’ll be submitting three physical pieces for final jury this weekend!  Although I could submit the same pieces I submitted for preliminary review, I wanted to include some fresh pieces.  I will be resubmitting La Conquistadora 01, the one that now appears on all my marketing.

Saint Peter Detail

I’ll also include the new Saint Peter I just finished this evening and I have started a large Saint Francis that I hope to use as my third piece.   I sketched out a little plan to make sure I was designing 3 compatible, cohesive pieces and the sketch was so cute, I thought I ‘d attach it here.  I wanted to make sure the boards, designs and colors complimented one another.  I painted myself into a pickle when all of the backgrounds ended up migrating to yellow.  I’m not sure if that will hurt me, but it was the right choice for the individual boards, so I had to go with it.

copyright ©2011 Sean Wells y Delgado

I just finished this new Saint Peter board and wanted to share it.  I based it on the Saint Peter I painted a couple of months ago (see “Saint Peter” article), but with some small changes and a simple board shape, very classic.  I’m including some detail shots of the face.  I like the softness of his eyes and I think it captures the same solemn gaze of La Conquistadora.   I’m also including a progress shot so you could see it during the color blocking phase.  You’ll note in that shot I painted some exquisite yellow feather highlights on floral carving that I end up painting over.  I was just testing the brush technique in yellow and hated to paint over them, but they couldn’t be saved.  I was happy to bring them back in red at the end.  Anyway, I thought you’d enjoy seeing a progress shot.  It’s so fun to see it come alive.  I’ve also started introducing some architectural elements.  This is something I’ve been wanting to bring into my work.

I showed Daryl (my husband) and he gave me some very constructive criticism.  One thing he mentioned,  I thought I should share.  He noted that the vast majority of retablos I’ve been studying have the icon perfectly centered on the board.  I tend to let my figures drift to the right to give them some space in front of them (too much formal art training).  It was a simple observation, but I think it will improve my work to center up and would have improved this piece.  I have to constantly remind myself I’m not painting a picture or a portrait.  I’m creating an icon.

Saint Peter progress shot

You may notice that I have been reusing the same saints.  Whenever I paint a new saint, I read about it and collect contemporary and historical imagery.  I sketch out some ideas for my own icon and then design a board for it.  It’s a lot of time and work and I really wanted to familiarize myself with the saints beyond my previous superficial understanding.  The extra time invested has greatly improved the results of my retablos, but I have only a few that I feel comfortable with thus far.  I think it will be a great way to look back on my work when I am gray–to see that each year I add a handful of saints to my repertoire.  As I finish each new saint, I create a hang tag for that saint.  So far, I have 4 (Saint Francis, La Conquistadora, Saint Peter, Saint Rita).  But, the TV show is moving my education along much faster since I have to learn about the saint I will be presenting for each episode.  So, it’s been a bit of a crash course.  By the end of filming, I should have at least 5 new saints to add to my tag collection.  Anyway, I plan to finish up Saint Francis by Thursday and hope the weather improves so I can drop off my boards on Saturday for review!

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First Phase Screening for Spanish Market Passed!

November 4, 2010
La Conquistadora detail

©copyright 2010 Sean Wells y Delgado

I just received notice today that I have PASSED the first phase of screening for Spanish Market Artists 2011!  I am so excited to share my news.  Spanish Market is the annual show of premiere Spanish Colonial Artisans of the Southwest presented by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society held on the Plaza in Santa Fe, NM.  They maintain the highest standards of quality, craftsmanship and tradition and it is a true honor to have opportunity to participate in this show.  My brother has been a participant for many years now as a tinsmith.  His work is impeccable.  And we have always aspired to do this show together.

The Screening Process

There are two phases.  The first consists of submitting photos of three sample pieces.  The letter states “to ensure that your materials, techniques and subject matter fall within the general Guidelines for Spanish Market and that your work meets the minimum standards  for craftsmanship and artistry.”  I have passed this part of the review.  In the letter, they include some juror responses to guide the development of the work and I received some thoughtful positive comments that made me feel like they really spent some time reviewing the work.  One I particularly liked read, “Nice linear details.”

Alma de Maria (The Soul of Mary)

©copyright 2010 Sean Wells y Delgado

The second phase, which takes place sometime after the new year, requires submittals of actual examples of finished pieces.  As I understand it, this gives them an opportunity to inspect for craftsmanship and execution.

As the letter states, the the three pieces I submitted were juried anonymously.  I included the Alma de Maria retablo I completed at Juanito Jimenez’ retablo workshop, a Saint Francis that includes some simple carving and my first La Conquistadora (which became part of the banner image for this blog).  It is a larger retablo measuring 12″x18″.  I plan to do a whole series on her and will blog about them in a future post, I’m sure.  All three of these pieces were done using traditional techniques and earth clays or natural pigments, with the exception of the outlining.  I use a sepia watercolor.  I would like to replace it with a natural pigment, but have not found a suitable one yet and I like the softness and warmth of the brown over a harsher lamp black.

Saint Francis

©copyright 2010 Sean Wells y Delgado

I applied last year in a scramble and, although I liked the pieces I had submitted individually, I did not feel all that good about how I had represented myself, showing much older pieces with my newer work.  Disappointed, but not surprised at a rejection, I committed this past year to developing my style.  I thought finding a style would come from painting in large volumes.  Well, being a mother of two toddlers precludes quantity work.  I found that my confidence grew simply in developing my knowledge base.  I studied with two retablo artists. I read about the history of the Spanish Colonial arts as well as the traditions of the retablo artist (Santero).  I have familiarized myself with the work of other retablo artists.  I have been reading diligently about the lives of the Saints.  And, I have taken an active interest in the exhibits of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts.  I can feel all of this information coming through me when I sit down now to produce.  But, there is so much more to learn.

La Conquistadora

©copyright 2010 Sean Wells y Delgado

Well, thank you all so much for your prayers and positive thoughts as I awaited the good news.  As I told a few of you, although I wanted to jury in for many reasons, I trusted there is a very exciting plan set in motion for me this year whether I get in or not.  I don’t know if this blog is the right forum to mention this, but last night I had a wonderful dream that my brother and I collaborated on a large image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  The challenge in collaborating on a Guadalupe is that her image is traditionally oval and her flames want to be unbounded.  In the dream, I carve her flames and as they taper out, they become vines that swirl into flowers in the corners of the image.  The organic forms of the vines and flowers flow and fill the shape of the rectangle.  This allows my brother an inviting form to frame with a traditional classic frame.  His rosette stamp work reflects the corner flowers of the retablo.  It was a wonderfully satisfying dream.  I plan to make the board just as I have dreamt it.  I think the image in the dream is a gift from La Conquistadora, who has been shining on me lately.  Thank you, my Lady.