Posts from the ‘art’ Category

The Art of the Retablo

I have a passion for old religious pieces – large gesso or chalkware saint sculptures, old wood santos, nichos or retablos that represent folklore … There is something romantic about those pieces. Religious art has evolved since human started making art, till’ this day, and will continue to do so. One thing that I notice is how the expression on the faces of sculptures have change over the years – from a reverent and languid appeal to a more “normal” or “joyful” state.  Here is a picture of an antique italian chalkware statue of the Holy Family dating from the early 1900’s versus a contemporary statue depicting the same characters.

Antique sculpture of the Holy Family Antique sculpture of the Holy Family

Contemporary statue

Contemporary statue

If you notice the facial expressions, on the later sculpture the characters are looking up, almost in a happy state or “hello” demeanor, while in the older statue, the figures seem more solemn, reverent, and almost sad, or peaceful. There are many differences between these two statues, including the lack of detail of the base, feet, and clothing … .

One of the items that I love to recreate is the old retablo, an art that almost disappeared at one time. Retablos are supposed to be made of wood, hand painted, and with a rustic appeal, almost as if the artist worked with the “few materials at hand” reminiscent of the traditions of the populace, the people of faith who made them. Here is one of my Retablos or Nichos (niche) of the Virgin of Guadalupe. I created this sculpture using a variety of mixed materials. I am working on a few other retablos, and designs (I know, I should be writing – but sometimes I need a little break to recharge my batteries). In each of my religious sculptures, I hide a small gemstone, in this case,  a tiny opal. Can you spot it? You might need to use the zoom feature. Here is the photo.

Virgin of Guadalupe Retablo

Virgin of Guadalupe Retablo

Here is a closer look.

Guadalupe Virgin by Maria Antonia Diaz

Guadalupe Virgin by Maria Antonia Diaz

I enjoy making these. You can find more information about this piece at my online store – where I let go and just create.

In addition to retablos, another lost art is the one of the “Wood Santos” or “Santos de Palo” that is part of many Latin America cultures, as well as European folklore. You can see the same old vs. contemporary features in these. The old santos had live detail, as if the artist or devoted revered the piece while crafting it. Today pieces lack that, almost looking faceless, with no expression, or a cold demeanor. But these are the pieces that are mass-marketed that look like that. I’ve  seen some European artists who sculpt santos, many life-size, and their art becomes almost alive, rich in detail, even the rustic pieces that are simpler. But these artists are very proud of what they do, and put much soul in each piece.  A mass-marketed piece is produced with the purpose of creating volume, not art. However, I have to say that some mass-marketed pieces, the very old ones, had much detail, the molds were carefully made. With the pass of time, the attention to detail in these molds became less important, I guess, giving way to quantity/volume.

Next time you come across an older sculpture, take a good look at it and see how each little crevice tells a story.

Watercolors Friday – Artistic Pirate

As part of today’s celebration, I have a treat for you, a visual treat that is.  We are celebrating the art of CGPirate, a blog that will blow your senses. There is something mesmerizing about the artist’s work, as well as captivating, intriguing, and well, awesome. The art that you will find here is full of the unexpected, and I love that.

One of my favorite pieces on the blog is this one called Where is the Boat, and you can see it here . Oddly, the absent of color dominates this one, compared to other work on the website that explodes with color. I love many of the artist’s pieces; his work is full of energy, color, and “suspended movement,” because I have no other phrase to describe it.

I invite you to check out CGPirate for a CG visual feast. It is truly wonderful. Enjoy!

Happy Watercolors Friday!

Celebrating Anne Rymer BOOCRAFT – Watercolors Friday

Hello!

Today I am very happy to dedicate our celebration to a very special Artist – Anne Rymer.  Anne is also the owner of BOOCRAFT, and she resides in Cornwall, UK.  I love her paintings and I have acquired some of them.  Her watercolors are full of magic, happy days, and I totally love the unexpected whimsical details in them, as well as the colors she uses.  One of the things I love about her paintings is that there is always movement in her subjects and landscapes – from cats and witches, to country folk, to seaside and rivers … Her inspiration is the rich history of the lovely Cornwall, a place that seems magical.  Her favorite poem is “Warning” by Jenny Joseph.  Instead of me telling you her story, I will share with you what she has to say,

“Cornwall is my inspiration. Through my artist’s eye I try to portray the magical atmosphere of this beautiful part of England.  A lady from America wrote to me that she wished she could live in one of my paintings!  I suppose that is how I feel when I’m being creative, I go into the picture completely and It is an alternative world!

My home is so high up the buzzards fly past level with my window! This is where I paint, in my studio that overlooks the beautiful Tamar valley.  There is an old church in the middle distance and patchworks of fields and ancient woodlands that stretch across the valley. Through this the River Tamar winds its way past Morwellham Quay, this is where the “Edwardian Farm” was filmed last year.

I am forever bringing home hurt little creatures.  I even once had a large raven with a damaged wing, which eventually flew away.  It stayed with me quite happily while it recovered.  I think they must know they can trust folk like us.” Anne Rymer

I want to share with you pictures of some of the paintings I acquired from the Artist.  If you want to see more of her work, you may visit her shop BOOCRAFT.

AR1

AR2

AR3

010

misty2a

I thank Anne Rymer for her time, and for being my guest today.

Happy Watercolors Friday everyone! I hope that you enjoyed today’s celebration, and please, take a little time to view more of her awesome art. – it is mesmerizing 🙂

Note: Anne’s shop will be shut from next Sunday May 5th until Monday May 13th.

Watercolors

I have been in the painting mood and decided to try art this morning.  The rule, to paint whatever came to mind.  One of the paintings is called “I want an iPhone”  and was probably inspired by today’s news.  The other painting, might have been as well.  Here are pictures of both.

“I want an iPhone”  watercolor

“Not a Paintball Game”  watercolor

 

Here are a few, which I painted at the beginning of the week.

 

“Moonlight Dreams”  another watercolor inspired by my companion of 20 years – Misty.

I think I was thinking of her when I painted these too – “Tis’ a Hallow Night” and “Sweet Dreams are Made of Mice” although I was looking at Piewackett when I painted the second one.

 

“Tis’ a Hallow Night”  watercolor and pen

 

 

“Sweet Dreams are Made of Mice”  watercolor and pen

 

This one just came to me, “The Grass is Greener”

“The Grass is Greener” watercolor and pen

 

I decided to paint the farmhouse as we discovered it, the first time – a dilapidated old giant with foliage growing all over, broken windows, doors, steps, concrete, and a no trespassing sign.  I will hang this painting in the living room once we complete the restoration.

“Old Giant” watercolor

 

And of course, I found the best way to stretch a watercolor painting.  Here it is.

How to stretch a watercolor “the cat method.”  Muni Mu doing her duties as painting stretcher.

  1. Slightly, wet the back of the dry painting.
  2. Place a towel underneath, a mat, and place a cat on top.  The weight and heat will do the job.

Some of my paintings are available at The Owl, Book and Candle