Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Patron Saints

It could be my Irish ancestors, my Irish DNA but I love the Catholic tradition of having a patron saint for any occasion. Along side your guardian angel, why not ask any of the saints for the grace of great things. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, one of the many delightful discoveries in my travels is the culture and traditions of New Mexico. This 'San Antonio', Saint Anthony, is interpreted from the santero painter Antonio Molleno, works from 1800-1830. Perhaps it is the triumph of 'charm' over 'perfection' that draws me into this style of painting. It reminds me of my time spent with young children, reading the parable of The Good Shepherd together,( see the Gospel of John, chapter 10 ff), and then seeing the expression of the child's joy in their art work. Here too there is no stress to draw a face perfectly, what is common is huge joy shown by mouths that are proportionally exaggerated, hearts like tattoos and always huge hands. 

San Antonio/ St. Anthony holding Christ Child
5 x 6
acrylic on wood

St. Francis, St. Patrick, St. Jude and St. Anthony
5 x 6 wood blocks
A Shrine I made to display my Patron Saints collection 

Monday, 29 July 2013

Photo cards of the Three Archangels

Both of these "Three Archangels", paintings were commissioned  for the front entrance of homes. They are acrylic on wood and what I have now have for sale are photocards.

               To the angels God has given command that they guard you in all your ways      Ps 91

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Archangel Gabriel The Annunciation

Annunciation #1
8 x 10
Acrylic on canvas
From my experience in 2006 with the first Icon I studied my teacher had an extensive library. One of her books: Ethiopia:Illuminated Manuscripts, from the UNESCO World Art series 1961, inspired this 'Annunciation'. You can see the Byzantine influence as Our Lady is holding the spindle of wool, the symbol read as 'she who spun God in her womb'.

Here we have Archangel Gabriel with the message:
Have no fear
God is with you
Annunciation #2
8 x 10
Acrylic on canvas

Thursday, 25 July 2013


I have been shopping around for multi 4 x 6 frames to mount photo's of my three Archangels. July is a season for weddings and I've been gifting the three Archangels of Blessing and protection for the homes of these new couples.

Archangels Gabriel, Michael and Raphael
4 x 6 photos framed

Archangel Raphael
"The shining one who heals"
4 x 6 photo

A framed photo of Archangel Raphael next to the bed of
a loved one who is in need of healing.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Archangel Gabriel/ San Gabriel

In my research I did not find any retablos of San Gabriel. Looking at the characteristics of the santero painters, I created this interpretation of San Gabriel, inserting the two symbols from the Annunciation, the lily and the Ave.
The Annunciation: Luke 1:26-38            

                                                                 Have no fear
                                                                God is with you

Archangel Gabriel San Gabriel
4 x 6
acrylic on Kozo, mat covered in Chiyogami
SOLD, photos available for framing

Monday, 22 July 2013

Archangel Raphael/ San Rafael

This is an interpretation of a retablo  from the Northern New Mexico tradition of the santero Pedro Antonio Fresquis, 1749-1831.
San Rafael is recognized by the symbols of the fish and the sack, the materials that carry the healing. The story of Archangel Raphael is found in the Old Testament in the book of Tobit.

Each of these Archangels have been assigned a day in the Catholic calendar and are Patrons of specific vocations or mediators of blessings. Archangel Raphael, whose name means
 "The shining one who heals", feast day is Sept 29 and is the Patron saint of Doctors and happy meetings. 

I am painting on Kozo, handmade Japanese paper and the mat is framed in Chiyogami, the silk screened Japanese paper. See post "A Tradition unique to Northern New Mexico" for first retablo in this series.

Archangel Raphael/ San Rafael
4 x 6
acrylic on Kozo, mat covered in Chiyogami
SOLD, photos available for framing

Saturday, 20 July 2013

A Tradition unique to Northern New Mexico

When I lived in the American Southwest I was immersed in the religious art and traditions of my Hispanic neighbors. I traveled into Northern New Mexico and in Santa Fe I visited the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art . On view are hundreds of retablos, images of saints/ santos painted on pine. I purchased the book: A Land So Remote, Vol 1, Religious Art of New Mexico 1780-1907. Larry Frank.  Each chapter introduces you to a Santero, or saint maker. This painting of San Miguel/ Saint Michael the Archangel is an interpretation of an Antonio Molleno, a santero who painted from 1800-1830s.  I am not painting on wood, I used Kozo, handmade Japanese paper, and the mat is covered in Chiyogami, the silk screened Japanese paper.

Archangel Michael/ San Miguel slaying the dragon
4 x 6
Acrylic on Kozo, framed in Chiyogami
SOLD, photos available for framing

Friday, 19 July 2013

Archangels and

For ten years I lived in Northern Arizona and traveled Hwy 66 West to the Pacific Coast and East into Santa Fe and the small towns of New Mexico. I love that heart centered universe, the shrine at Chimayo,,_New_Mexico and the high road to Tao's

                 But the secret treasure is the tradition of painting the Archangels and Patron Saints,

             This has inspired a whole collection for me and I will be sharing them in my next posts.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

small scaled works of art

to create a place for personal prayer

Bright New Day
4 x 6
Acrylic on wood

4 x 6
acrylic on silk sari on wood
A person wrote and asked me why I don't post my prices. I have posted my email and I would rather be in contact with you and what sacred art you are interested in. I am open to some negotiating, after all my desire is to get these pieces into your home.


Monday, 15 July 2013

India, Japan and the Far East

In my post, "Art to welcome blessings", I shared a Madonna and Child that was painted on an Indian Sari.
Here I am using materials from the Far East, the Batik fabric for the background and the handmade silk screened paper from Japan called 'Chiyogami', , for the Madonna and Child, with the faces and hands painted with acrylic.
Building a screen like this makes for a portable free standing shrine.
Contact me if you are interested in purchasing this piece:

The Embrace
center panel is 8 x 12
Batik cotton fabric with Japanese paper Madonna and acrylic

Saturday, 13 July 2013


  In this painting I am not using the prototype for the Icon that is known to the Roman Catholic church as Our Lady of Perpetual Help, but I looked up synonyms for the word 'perpetual' and I have painted this Madonna and Child over a litany of the promises that this word perpetual is for us. 
Our Lady of Perpetual...ceaseless....constant...
4  x 6
Acrylic on wood/ Framed
I think this Madonna has that permanent look of the seated one,she's here to stay with us. 
                                                                    Our Lady of  Perpetual
                                                                                               help, Pray for us.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Art to welcome blessings

When I traveled through the State of Bihar in India I was introduced to the Folk Art Paintings  known as Madhubani,

Images for madhubani

 - Report images 

I was told that traditionally women painted these images in the early morning to welcome the blessings, the visitation of God. They would decorate front entrances or the ground near the home. Today they are painted on paper and sold as distinct art pieces. There is not an empty space on these canvases. 
The colors, the handwork, the design flowing out of the Indian imagination continues to inspire me. I have an extensive collection of old  Indian sari's, some that are torn, but perfect for painting on. 

This piece offered me the perfect inspiration for this Madonna and Child sharing the dove of peace. And like the tradition of Madhubani art, there is not an empty space on the canvas.

A Blessing of Peace
8 x 12
Acrylic on Indian Silk Sari

Photocards available

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

What shall survive of us is love

Around my mother's name there was some confusion. She was known to her friends as "Betty", but when I came home in her last years and took over her bill paying, banking, I found out that her name on her official documents was Mary Elizabeth Ann, while other cards named Betty. One day I asked her, mom what name do you think God will call you? and with no hesitation she answered; "Sweetheart"

This absolute confidence that God not only knows our name, but this Good Shepard has a particular name for each of us is the greatest inheritance my mom passed onto  her family and all who knew her. It is her eternal word to us all.

Patti,  Mariann,  Marilou,  Teresa,   JoAnne,  Betty & Dave
Sweetheart's Family

Happy 90th Birthday Mom
pray for us from your eternal rest
Mary Elizabeth Ann Dunsmore
July 9,1923 - Dec. 25, 2012

Monday, 8 July 2013

"There is a crack in everything"


"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in"
Leonard Cohen 

I am thinking of these lines from our Canadian poet, Leonard Cohen, who is now in his seventies.  this link will take you to a long excerpt from a book of interviews with songwriters, here you get to read about the process for Leonard, the reality of being broken as he struggles to receive inspiration, to connect with the Divine.

My two 4 x 6 Madonna and Child paintings are framed in imperfect frames, beautiful but they have at their corners some cracks. My sister quickly responds, "ah but that how the light gets in"

Friday, 5 July 2013

the hour of the pearl

that interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself.           
                                                                                      "Cannery Row"  John Steinbeck 

Let my prayer rise
like incense
before you
12" x 36"
mixed media,acrylic on wood
Watch over us as we sleep
18" x 18"
acrylic on wood

  I love that transition time 
between day and night, 
 the light as it passes over my corners of prayer, 
 the hour of the pearl. 


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

It colors everything

We have this expression in English; "it colors everything".
Environment, circumstances, relationships,physical and emotional health, belief systems or spirituality, and perhaps something else I forgot to name, make up the "it" that colors everything.

In many Traditional Icon schools, color is considered to have the same substance as words: indeed each color has its own value and meaning. Reading "The Tree of Life" by the colors I chose: Brown is the color of the bare earth, and all that is transient and perishable. Green is the color of natural, living things. Blue indicates the infinity of the sky and is the symbol of another everlasting world. White is the symbol of the heavenly realm and God's divine light.

What is coloring your world these days?

The Tree of Life
18" x 24"
Acrylic and silk screened paper on wood

Monday, 1 July 2013

Canada Day

One of the great mysteries of life is what country we are born in. I am Canadian by birth and I have had the security of a family, food and shelter all my life. Extensive travels have shown me that this is not everyone's privilege. My mother, born in Canada into a family of Irish Catholic descent, passed on to me the Roman Catholic traditions and practices of Mass, the rosary, the Christmas manager set. patron saints, guardian angels, grace before meals,and prayers for every occasion.  My first years away from home I lived in Europe, the Middle East, India, and then the American Southwest of Arizona. This experience exposed me to the image of the Madonna in many forms-fresco,icons and the familiar plaster statues from my youth, but in a new setting I had never seen: the outdoor shrines, and the prayer corner or altar areas in the homes of my Hispanic neighbors. Although the settings for sacred art changed in each country I passed through, the practice of a daily ritual, the gesture of lighting a candle in gratitude and petition, was a repeated theme.
Today, on this anniversary of Canada's birth, I'd like to pause and say "Thank You".

one of my Photo cards framed where
I have wired and strung a Thank You
4 x 6