Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fooling around with more screen printing

So this is the post where the previous two posts intersect. I was doing a little screen printing a couple weeks ago, then last week I was contemplating making saints and angels. “Hmmmm...” I thought. “What if I made a bunch of screen-printed faces that I could use for a series of saints/angels?” So I did 

My idea here is that I can add color using my permanent watercolor pencils. 

It occurred to me that a hand that could hold something might also be useful, so I made a little screen and printed a few.  So then I had a starting place and I began to build a new angel. I made her a redhead and chose some favorite graphic and colorful fabrics—that’s always my favorite part—to surround her with. I like it, but it seems a little flat. I might add some hand embroidery for some additional interest. 

Well, this is kind of fun! There is an element of coloring book, with a touch of designing clothes for a paper doll. I could hardly wait to start another one!

Laying out potential fabrics with pieces and parts. What should I put in her hand. Flowers? A trowel? (I think she’s a gardener...) Not sure the paisley hair is working...  

More to come. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

My saintly obsession

I’ve been cleaning out and organizing my studio, and came across this small piece I made a few years ago. It was a challenge to myself to try using embellishments, like beads and buttons in a thoughtful way, after rashly stating that I just didn’t like that kind of stuff on my artwork. I tried it. I liked it. Quite a lot. So I’ve never offered it for sale, preferring to keep it for myself. In fact I liked it so well that I made another similar piece that I also kept and have hanging in my studio. I think of her as my own little studio patron saint. 

Why, you may wonder, such “saintly” images? I’m not Catholic or even conventionally religious, but I am slightly obsessed with a particular type of religious art. Images of saints. 

It might have begun very early. When I was 4 years old my sister was born at the Catholic hospital in our town. In those days 4-year-olds were not allowed into the wards, so when my father was taken in to see my mother and newborn sister I had to remain in the waiting room. A kindly nun came to sit with me and asked my name, I replied that I was Terry Ann, but my real name was Teresa. She seemed very excited to tell me that Teresa was the name of her very most favorite saint! She selected a large children’s book from the bookcase and thumbed through it until she found a chapter about St. Teresa, the Little Flower, with a beautiful picture of a young girl with roses in her hair and a halo behind her head, looking heavenward, very sadly. Then she read me the sad story. When I left she told me to remember St. Teresa, who was my special saint because we had the same name. I remember this all so clearly, and mind you, I was only four years old. I did remember Teresa, and as an older child I sought out books about saints. I especially loved the sad ones, where they died young and suffered greatly, inspiring all they knew with their bravery and piety. But most of all, I loved the very similar pictures, of their sweet, uplifted faces. 

Is it any wonder that I fell in love with the Russian Orthodox icon paintings of saints?

I especially love the Greek icons, with their big eyes and long, straight noses. 

Years later when we began to travel in Latin America, I discovered “Santos” the sculptural equivalents. They have the same, otherworldly look. 

I simply love these images. I posted photos in a blog post of Santos we found in a hotel, that was a converted convent in Nicaragua here.  Another magical find was a workshop in Ecuador where Santos were repaired, posted here

So my little button embellished saint is now hanging in my hallway and I’m wondering if I need to make some more. Real saints or imagined? Like I said, it’s not a religious thing for me, but I am drawn to the idea of people being elevated, empowered and remembered simply for being good. The world can always use a little more goodness—right?