Posts Tagged ‘Spanish Market’


Reflecting on Spanish Market 2011

August 11, 2011

Jason & Sean at Spanish Market 2011

Well, Jason and I just experienced our first Spanish Market as a collaborative team and it was a ride!  I actually got to speak on the Spanish Colonial Arts Society promotional video and one of the questions was “what makes this year’s Market special to you?”  I said that although it was my first Market, I was most excited to be publicly showing the works that my brother and I have created together.  On Friday night, each artist has the opportunity to show three favorite items for award consideration.   For our collaborative piece, we showed our Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe piece.  At first, it was a bit of an empty feeling to not receive any recognition for our work.  It’s not like we were expecting to win an award, but it was strange to put your best work out there and not get any commentary back.  But, the magic of Preview night is that you get to display your best work, stand with it, answer questions  and hear from the public.  We had the opportunity to hear directly from patrons, fellow artists and admirers.  They loved hearing our stories on the collaborative process and artistic vision.  They were genuinely impressed by our first major work together and encouraged us to continue on.  It was a perfect culmination to a year of hard work.  Of course, being able to peruse the amazing works of the other Market artists was very exciting as well.

Me & Alcario OteroBut, my favorite Preview moment had to be when senior retablo artist Alcario Otero recognized me from my show, New Mexican Santera!  He shook my hand and complimented me on the show.  I was just so flattered that he watched and really excited that he was supportive of the message of the show.  He commended me on creating the show.  We talked about show ideas.  And, he even asked me tips to minimize bubbles in the gesso.

Byron Martinez with his award winning piece

I also got a chance to share some Preview night jitters with some of my other first year artists, who I now count among my friends.  I was especially proud of my freshmen classmates, Byron Martinez (bulto carver) and Gene Gurule (tinsmith) who both took awards for their work.  Byron created a beautiful unpainted bulto of La Conquistadora.  He really captured her hands.

Gene Gurule with JasonJason and I spent some time with Gene, who explained to us that the reason he was there that night was because he was inspired after having my Grandmother, Angeline Delgado Martinez demonstrate in his classroom more than 30 years ago.  He was moved by her work and recalls many details of the encounter.  He continued to practice tin after the demonstration, but it took him nearly three decades to feel his work was worthy of Spanish Market.

Me & EricI was also inspired by the strength of returning bulto artist Eric Gonzales who had just lost his mother the Monday before Market.  He dedicated this Market to her.  He was very grateful to be at Market after a long stint away and reminds us all of the deeper meaning behind all of our work.

Then, during Market, the following Saturday and Sunday, we had dozens of people who recognized the Guadalupana from preview night.  It was nice that she was memorable among so many fine works.

But, I was pleasantly surprised to get a lot of positive feedback on a piece that I had done at the 11th hour.  I decided I wanted to submit one more piece to Preview for consideration in the small retablo category.  I had a small board on hand and had been working on an image of Doña Sebastiana.

Doña Sebastiana copyright © 2011 Sean Wells

(She is a fascinating figure—I will do a separate write up on her.   You can read more about my execution of her image in that article).  It was that image that garnered the most interest in my work at our booth over market weekend.  I would never have imagined that we would have collectors lining up at 7:30AM (you cannot start officially selling at Market until 8AM).  But, we did!  We made a quick hand-scribbled sign-up sheet and soon had several names.  The first couple had admired my Doña Sebastiana and La Conquistadora (the one I use for all of my marketing) and bought both!  It was  wonderful way to start Market.  Better yet, they allowed me to display the purchased items throughout the day while they enjoyed Market.  I was able to take several custom orders off the small retablo.  That little image ended up making a good Market into a great Market!  Jason just laughed—“Didn’t you just whip that up on Tuesday?”

Jason and I were so swamped the first day just talking with people about our work that we rarely got a chance to demonstrate.  On the second day, we did get to do a bit of demonstration and we really didn’t get a chance to do any visiting with fellow artist as we normally would.  But, that was certainly a good problem.  We saw many distant relatives, old school chums , family and friends.  We made some new friends of patrons and admirers.  You can view our gallery on our Facebook page, “Dos Artisanos.”  People were very excited to see a brother-sister doing collaborative work together and many actually said it was imperative that we continue our work.  They were also verbally thankful that we made such an effort to demonstrate the techniques, share history and invite questions.

I’ve helped Jason in the demonstration booth for many years.  In doing so, I have always tried to incorporate some graphics that tell some of our family history in tin.

Jason goofing in Angelina's crown

This year, since our grandmother, Angelina wasn’t up to attending Market with us (she’s 91), I told her I would bring her in spirit and made a giant banner of a photo I found of her posing with the 1944 Fiesta Court.  She was one of the princesses that year along with Peaches (the queen, we believe) and Viola. But, the best part about the presentation was that when she found out about the banner, she allowed me to  display the original crown she wore that she had designed and constructed from tin and accented with rhinestones.  People loved the banner, but nearly applauded when I would show the crown, often donning it or allowing people I thought might truly appreciate the experience to wear it themselves.  It was funny how many times I had to remind the husband or Dad that this was a real photo op!  I think every girl wants to wear a crown, especially a real one worn by a real princess!  Some shy visitors would turn me down, but most were tickled.  Several women said they had never worn a crown before.  Most broke into an impromptu regal wave.  Anyway, I love giving people ways to connect to the history, so it was a great vehicle to bring them into the story.

Martha Varoz Ewing implored me to attend the Sunday Morning Market Mass at the Saint Francis Basilica.  I dragged my feet thinking logistically, we would not have anyone to watch the booth.  Jas and I decided to go with it and left the booth unattended and went to Mass.  I’m so glad we did–It was the highlight of Market!  The artists are invited to bring a piece in to have it blessed.  Jason insisted I bring our giant Our Lady of Guadalupe collaborative.  He said it looked like Our Lady was walking around with legs because it was so big, no one could see me!  And, there was Jason with his delicate hollow tin cross which weighed about 2 ounces.  I teared up as we entered the Church in procession with the other artists and artworks.  We placed the art at the front altar.  I managed to sneak in my Grandmother’s crown to be blessed as well.  I thought she would appreciate that (and she was).   We listened to the bilingual mass.  It was just so moving.  The priest talked about how we were using our gifts to honor the Lord. Then, after the blessings, we gathered our pieces and processed out of the church and around the plaza.  I saw Martha and thanked her for encouraging me to attend.  She confessed to tearing up every time she attends.  Our Dad was filming for the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, so we made it a point to turn our artworks and walk slowly whenever we saw his camera!

Jason and I had an excellent Market.  Although it would have been icing on the cake to have sold our two large pieces (currently available at Tintero Workshop & Gallery), we had a great showing.  We are feeding on the energy you all gave us and are fired up to get started for next year.  We will be working on ways to find other avenues and outlets for our work in the meantime.

Jason demonstrates to on-lookersThank you to all the patrons, friends and family that came to show your support!  It is somewhat a labor of love, so to get encouragement for us to continue this work  means a lot to both of us.  We will look forward to Spanish Market 2012 and may even try entering some new categories this year!


60th Annual Spanish Market July 30-31

July 27, 2011

Come join nearly 200 Spanish Colonial artisans on the historic Santa Fe Plaza July 30-31 for Spanish Market!  Jason and I will be in booth 164 near the southwest corner of the Plaza, across from the 5 & Dime.  To get the word out, we have created a somewhat elaborate mini-marketing campaign.

New Mexican Ad 2011We will have an ad in the Santa Fe New Mexican official Market newspaper insert.  I designed the ad myself.  It’s kind of wacky, but I really wanted to do something fun and festive and get away from the gallery feel.  The design is inspired by the old Sideshow posters.  The ad in the paper is black and white due to budget restrictions.

We’ve also created a video invitation that will serve as a landing page for anyone who visits our new website,  Technically, “artisanos” should read “artesanos.”  But, the ‘artesanos’ URL was not available and the misspelled ‘artisano’ is widely accepted around here and we really liked the wunderkin siblings idea–it suits our “let’s have some fun” attitude.

The promotional video was shot by our Dad and the landing page includes a link to the outtakes which is highly entertaining.

Dos Artisanos Video Landing Pageclick on image above to view our video invitation or see outtake reel.

Dos Artisanos websiteclick on image above to visit our new website.

The new website is just really a front door to our individual sites that promotes us as siblings and 5th generation artisans.  The left column is all Sean links and the right is Jason links.  You will find links to our online storefronts, a page on our videos and DVDs and links to our personal art blogs.  If you click on the stamp, you can send us an email  Or click on the Tintero images to get more information on Jason’s workshop and gallery.  I’ve also just added links to our professional Facebook pages where you can get snapshots of works in progress and event reminders.  Enjoy poking around!

click on image above to download the official Spanish Market brochure

The brochure includes artist name sand booth numbers along with some other goodies.  I hesitate to say “I designed it” since I completed it so quickly.  But, I’m proud to say I conceptualized and assembled it.

One of our family members, the talented oil painter Damian Gonzales will be showing at the Contemporary Market which happens simultaneously with Traditional Market and runs up Lincoln Street.

Click here for more logistical information on Spanish Market from the new Spanish Colonial Arts Society website (which I also designed).

Well, we hope to see you there!  And, remember to support your local artisans!


Good News!

February 15, 2011

After having a bit of a cranky day, I came home to the best Valentine’s Day Card ever…a note from the Spanish Colonial Arts Society welcoming me as a NEW ARTIST FOR SPANISH MARKET 2011!  My husband actually debated whether to present it to me on V-Day or not.  He watched me check the mailbox every day since the jury.  And, he admitted to preparing a pep-speech should it be a disappointing note.  That was the best gift from him, knowing he is with me on this ride.  The letter came on a beautiful letterhead with a nice watermark of the SCAS logo.  It said the committee wanted to pass on some feedback on my work.  I’m not sure it’s something I should share, but it was generally positive with some constructive criticism that I will contemplate.  My husband and I had fun discussing our interpretations of the meaning of their comments.  I am just so pleased and I look forward to making plans with my brother  (he’s already juried in from a previous year in the tinwork category).  I am both relieved and exhilarated!

Our Lady of Guadalupe 001To keep my mind busy during the week, I worked on an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It is not for Market, since it is on a reclaimed board.  It was a tacky board I picked up at a yard sale for a quarter that had an attempt at Tole painting on the front.  It looked like someone had abandoned the painting before completion.  So, I adopted the board and sanded off the old image.  I knew I wanted to paint the Lady of Guadalupe image on it, but it wasn’t until I decided to put the cherub below the votive shelf that the work really got interesting.  I used the imagery of the crescent moon  and the falling of the fabric of her gown to tie the top to the bottom.  I adore the face of the angel.  In the original Guadalupe, the angel is noted for a cherubic presence, but an adult face.

Our Lady of Guadalupe cherub detail

Since I knew it was not for Market, I also used a watercolor ultramarine blue to imitate the natural Lapis color of her gown.  I haven’t really been using blue to date, but wanted a brighter palette for this Guadalupana image.  I’m working on a formula to extract the color from lapis lazuli stones, but the color is still not satisfactory and the process is both expensive and labor intensive.

Our Lady of Guadalupe sgrafitto detailI’ve attached some close-ups of the sgrafitto work on the dress pattern that I’m especially fond of.  I asked my brother to add one of his sweet little leaf votives and it was the perfect compliment for her.  We decided to attach it at a 45 degree rotation so the leaves would frame her dress instead of competing with it.  It was fun to collaborate together, even on such a small element.  Most of the time, we’re just handing pieces off to one another.

The Guadalupana story is compelling and beautiful.  The symbolism of this iconic image is rich.  I made a conscious effort to avoid painting her while I got comfortable with my painting style.  I doubt there is a more recognized retablo image and I was afraid it would be too easy to slip into the kitschy niche she seems to attract.  But, I will save my full write up on her when I release the Guadalupana episode of New Mexican Santera (assuming we secure some underwriting for season two).

Jason installing tin votive This retablo is currently available at Tintero Gallery or in my online store.  She’s quite tall, measuring somewhere  around 15″ tall and maybe 8″-10″ wide.  Well, I suppose I should try to get some sleep.  Lots to dream about!

Oh, New Mexican Santera will be airing Wed Feb 15 at 9PM.
Albuquerque Comcast Ch 26 The final episode of Saint Rita
Santa Fe Comcast Ch 6 The first episode of Saint Rita

Followed by New Mexican Tinsmith!


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!


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.