Thursday, October 15, 2009

All the Roses

I painted this picture a few years ago for a silent auction at our parish's annual fundraiser. I didn't know what to give them at first, but thought that people may enjoy seeing something Catholic in the picture. I'm not a painter who uses symbolism or other overtly literary devices in my work, so I really didn't know how to paint a "religious" picture. The only true devotional art, in my opinion, is the practice of iconography. I have come to love the radiant icons of both the Western and Eastern traditions, but the awe I feel toward them almost forbids me to even think about approaching it with my profane mind and hand.

Whisper: Yes, that IS a Crown Royal bottle you're seeing to the right of, behind the statue.

Make a long story short, I did what I knew to do: I painted a still life. My husband and I had bought a marble figurine of Mary and the Baby Jesus not long before. We both fell in love with it at first sight: the sculpture is entirely white with a matte finish. Mary looks true to her age according to Tradition: a fourteen or fifteen year old girl in her chaste youthfulness. The intimacy between Mother and Son is palpable but not in the least sentimental. It became a focal point when we prayed the rosary in the mornings.

I clipped all the healthy looking roses, buds and all, from our little flower and herb garden, brought them in, planted them in vases and bottles at hand, set them up around the Mary statue on the dinning table, and started painting. I didn't push any emotions, because the only emotion I felt was joy. I may be embellishing memory, but I think I even hummed a off-key (what else?) hum.

As far as I'm concerned, it's not a "religious" artwork, it's not even devotional. It's a little still life, made in joyous colors and brushwork.


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