These are watercolor/gouache studies for a large scale oil painting designed for St. Thomas Aquinas in Zanesville, Ohio. Mary Magdalen is finished in oil so far, John the Baptist is still in progress. The pastor had the idea for the project–to create a reredos in the sanctuary picturing all dominican saints. The two closest to the tabernacle were St. John and St. Mary Magdalen, considered to be the first preachers of Christ, which is relevant because the dominicans are called the order of preachers.
For this watercolor effect I tried doing a very detailed high-contrast underpainting in burnt umber then spray fixing it. Then I could wash the red ochre over top and retain the rendering. I use spray fix a lot with watercolor to get the same contrast and color you can get with oil washes. The only bad thing is the fixative can create a mat film on top of a thick layer of gouache, or several layers of watercolor so I never use it as a final top layer.
I will update at a later time with the final oil paintings.
I’m very excited to announce The All Saints’ Day Party by Jerry Windley-Daoust! I had the honor of illustrating this book, which is my first published children’s book, and learned so much in the process. It is available through Gracewatch Media, Amazon, and some local bookstores.
I’ve finally finished a painting I’ve been working on for months. It’s a crucifixion scene using medieval conventions and symbolism, flanked by smaller scenes from the Old Testament that foreshadow Christ’s sacrifice and the Eucharist. Such typology, taken from scripture and the writings of the Church Fathers, was very popular in medieval period art and shows the great design of God’s salvation plan unfolding. I tried to reflect this order, harmony, and interconnectedness in the very composition. The concept and design for this piece came to me during a challenging time when the subject of my daily meditation in prayer was the crucifixion. In working out the sketches of each scene I prayed through each one and hope that these images can inspire others to prayer.
From top left to bottom right:
Priest/King Melchizedek blesses Abram with bread and wine (Genesis 14:17-24, Hebrews 7:1-28)
Moses lifts up the bronze serpent (Numbers 21:4-9, John 3:14-15)
Moses strikes the rock (Numbers 20:1-13, 1 Corinthians 10:1-5)
Crucifixion: At Golgotha (the place of the skull, traditionally Adam’s skull: 1 Corinthians 15:22) the veil of the temple is torn in two (Matthew 27:51, Hebrews 6:19-20, Hebrews 10:19-22), the Sun is obscured and the Moon turned to blood (Luke 23:44-45, Acts 2:20-21) the Cross becomes the Tree of Life (Revelation 22:1-2), blood and water pour from Christ’s side (Zechariah 12:10 & 13:1, John 19:34)
The lamb immolated on the altar (Exodus 29:38-41, 1 Peter 1:18-21)
The sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19, John 3:16)
The Passover (Exodus 12:1-51, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8)
This past week Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs was asked to complete a privately commissioned painting of St. Augustine for a priest who has an upcoming audience with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The costume is based on gothic depictions of St. Augustine wearing cope, gloves, and mitre over an Augustinian habit. He is shown holding a flaming heart – a symbol also incorporated by the great artist, Philippe de Champaigne.
A habit and vestments were borrowed from Fr. Peter Gori, O.S.A., Fr. John Brancich, F.S.S.P., and the Diocese of Manchester. After completing several sketches of the model wearing the individual elements, the finished painting emerged. St. Augustine bends over his Confessions while clutching a flaming heart. The finished watercolor is 5 x 8 inches, mounted in a a vintage 11 x 15 inch frame.
I just thought I’d share the Paschal Candles that I painted this year. This is my third year painting them, and I get more requests each year. I came up with a faster process (with the help of a Cricut machine) to enable me to do so many in a timely fashion (they take 2-3 working days each, now). If anyone wants to learn more, just give me a shout.