Saturday, 29 June 2013

The timeless practice of copying

When we turn to any tradition of Iconography we are gazing on centuries of artistic development. Each tradition hands down prototypes and the iconographer, from beginner on, 'copies' and through this copying enters into a training that has no finishing or graduation point.

 From the book : "Ethiopian Icons", Stanislaw Chojnacki,

"The themes and forms of religious painting in Ethiopia have been handed down from one generation of painters to another by training and by local tradition. The process of continuous copying has still left room for individual stylistic interpretation. This timeless practice of copying coupled with the simultaneous process of adaptation and transmutation became integral to artistic development."

This icon of " Our Lady Mary with her beloved Son", the title taken from the inscription, is another of my first studies and I have put my own interpretation on to it by reproducing the final piece as a silk screen as this was the class I was attending at the time.

The completed piece was silk screened onto a tinted wood panel. 

The original has sold but I do have Photo-cards available for purchase. Contact:

Friday, 28 June 2013

My first teachers

My first study and 'handed down' tradition of Icons is from Ethiopia. My text book is; "Ethiopian Icons", Stanislaw Chojnacki. This excerpt is meant to give an introduction to this rich tradition: 

"The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which belongs to the Eastern branch of Christianity, has been the well spring of the pictorial art of Ethiopia. The art of Ethiopia remains uniquely different from that of any other African art form, because Ethiopian artists expressed themselves exclusively through painting, while sculpture was the primary medium of creative expression of the people of Western, Central and Southern Africa. In Ethiopia, the pervasive spirit of sacred painting is largely derived from interpretations of the art of the Byzantine world; expressing in an Ethiopian context a fervent confirmation of the Christian faith. There is also evidence of Byzantine-Greek, Coptic,Nubian and Armenian connections."

Icons of the Mother of God and Jesus predominate in this Books collection of sacred art. As I never tire of gazing on this theme, my first copying was to isolate the Mother and Child and exaggerate the predominate lines. These are my first drawings that went on to become silkscreens.

The finished piece was silk screened on tinted wood with the addition of the green blade budding. 

This piece sold but I do have Photocards available. Contact:

Thursday, 27 June 2013


Yesterday,while on my search for available apartments I was reading the city newspaper and a story caught my attention. It was about a local grade nine student who had won an Ontario wide competition for young entrepreneurs with her idea 'Fundja'. This sent me back to my grade nine proposal to use our local High-school's Home Economics classroom for the summer to teach grade school kids sewing, my friends and I also won and got funding for our idea. I was happy to see that our government was still valuing and supporting the creative visions of youth. Later that same day, while eating lunch two high school students asked if they could share my bench. Soon we were making room for ten friends and I was asking if anymore were expected? 
This got a laugh and I started to chat with the young woman beside me. 
 I find out that I am sitting next to the winner and creator of 'Fundja.' When I told her that I was just reading about her story in the local paper we both paused for a moment of awe. 

I've meet many great souls,they all listened and then trusted, and something great came to be.

14 x 14
molding paste and acrylic

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The last two doors

 I was playing with what colors would represent which season, SPRING, SUMMER, AUTUMN, WINTER.  I named this piece, "All Seasoned Madonna" as this woman and child walked through every season together. They are holding a flowering bud, a metaphor which asks  what is the force that drives the growth. One day we are carried, another season passes and we are walking......
All Seasoned Madonna
15 x 15
 on wood door

Angels with swords, how to read this image today? At a point in my life when I had to make a life changing decision I had a big dream. What I remember most from this dream is a figure holding a huge sword, cutting open doors and walking through rooms that contained the people I was having to detach from. So the image of the sword has become for me the sword of discernment, the sword of detaching. Where there seemed to be 'no way', a way opened.  As angels have a title of "Guardian", I think it is important to invite them to go ahead of you and make a way.

There will be love along the way
15 x 15
Based on Ethiopian tradition
Acrylic on wood door

Monday, 24 June 2013

A niche for my art work

These days I am out looking for an apartment and a small space to rent for a studio. So far, when renters view my art work, they comment that I paint for a 'niche market', and  then they go very silent. I know they are worried for me, will she have any market at all?
Right now, this Blog is my 'niche', if any of the artwork I have presented suits a niche in your home, let me know, all these pieces are available. Contact:

Layers upon layers of Meaning
12 x 18
Gel transfer of colored Byzantine crucifixion, set against B&W interior of Florentine church
 I colour tinted the Madonna  and stain glass windows.
Wood cross mounted on wood door

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Like a door opening

Angels, from the Greek angelos,
guardians, messengers,companions

Nursing Mother, Protecting Angel
17 x 12.5
Based on Ethiopian Madonna and Greek fresco Angel
acrylic, gel transfer mixed media on wood door

Madonna and Child with Messenger
17 x 12.5
Based on Ethiopian Madonna, Greek  Fresco/Angel
Acrylic, gel transfer mixed media on wood door

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The first gesture of her day

 I love the gesture of lighting a candle. I lived in India for a year, volunteering at an orphanage in Calcutta.I'll never forget the early morning scene of a barefooted woman carrying a lit taper to a humble street shrine. The first gesture of her day.

Madonna and Child Grotto #2
12 x 18
acrylic gel transfer on wood door

Our Lady sends angels, we see dragonflies
15 x 15.5
acrylic gel transfer on wood door

Nursing Mother
18 x 15
acrylic gel transfer on wood door

Friday, 21 June 2013

go to the temple/church or not.....

.....but don't forget to go to the source.
 We are so busy, our homes are full of so many symbols in the forms of  brands. For example, just buying the laptop I am working on, became this long debate about which laptop I was going to be seen with, and it consumed so much of my time that at the end of the day I just may have fit in a nod to God.
And my environment is full of sacred images, full of meeting places and even with this prepared environment I struggle to pause and visit the source.

Here I have five or six mixed media paintings to offer over the next few days, all mounted on doors.

The door and the Madonna.............
She was a door, opened for Christ's crossing from all time to our time.
Mother and Child Grotto #1
12 x 17
acrylic gel transfer on wood door
Mother and Child in Orthodox Shrine
17 x 12
acrylic gel transfer on wood door

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Through your front door

"To the angels God has given command that they guard you in all your ways"   Ps 91
Based on Greek Fresco
10 x 8
acrylic on wood
This was commissioned by a family who wanted an angel to be hung by their front door
Archangel Raphael
Spanish Colonial tradition of  New Mexico
10 x 24
acrylic on wood door

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Another home, another prayerspace

I will never forget how clever I thought the use of a friend's linen closet became with a little renovation. Imagine a long hall, at the end of it is a window and on the north wall, a linen closet . My friend removed the door and framing of the closet. Then she had a low platform built in the hall and when you are sitting in this space, on a cushion, you are facing into the closet. Inside she had a raised platform to hold a book stand with her family Bible on it. On the wall behind the book stand was a beautiful Icon, illumined by a lampada which was suspended from a plant bracket. Above all this were book shelves to hold her spiritual reading.
I never have forgotten that prepared environment.
Here are some of the book stands I have built and personalized for prayer spaces


Monday, 17 June 2013


This past week I visited with a cousin and a friend, both inviting me into their homes that I had never been in.
My cousin confessed to me that she was not very good about having 'family pictures' as I was searching her walls to see her children and grandchildren. My friend had a whole room dedicated to her ancestors.She has quite a few photos of the maternal line, going back four generations. It was interesting to see the women emerge from the stiff hair and even stiffer black dresses, as the generations advanced. What was a common pose was the seated mother with a child on her lap. This figure of the seated Mother and Child has been my subject for many paintings. Here are some looking for available wall space.
Madonna and Child #3
acrylic on board
stone frame meant for table or shelf
Madonna and Child #1
acrylic on board
framed for table or hanging  

Madonna and Child #2
acrylic on board
framed for table or shelf

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Cathechists of the Good Shepherd and the Infancy Narratives

This entry is directed at those who are involved in the work of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd,
 see    or
 "Christianity is the spiritual order incarnated in a historical person and in a historical society. It is the function of  Christianity to bring the spiritual order into contact and relation with the world of man. It is, as it were, a bridge between the two worlds; it brings religion down into human life and it opens the door of the spiritual world to us."   Christopher Dawson

As an artist, I 'see' this history and re-present it in a visual language. Like a story book, this set of six cards, can answer the first questions, Who is this Jesus? Where did he live? Where did he come from?

Set of six cards in each pack
Each card has a number giving the sequence and Gospel reference on which it is based.
By randomly placing these images out, even the youngest child can lay them out in the order in which they are told in the Gospels.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Oppressive or life giving imagery?

For a long time I have known that the images I re-present at a public Art show are quickly dismissed or worse are a source of anger. Many of us have been disappointed by an institutional church, tradition, and most of the images or message seems cold, limited or harmful. I'm often told, in response to my work, "I don't go to church anymore, I'm scandalized by the cover up of the abuse", or " the priests are so out of touch, going to mass is so painful". I listen.
 But it is not my whole experience with the public in response to my work. I also meet, mostly women, who respond positively to the imagery of the Mother and Child and are comforted. When I listen, I hear that these women have suffered, the loss of a child to cancer, or the betrayal of trust with a partner or in a work situation. Suffering, it is a part of all of our journey's, it was a part of this woman's journey as well.

She who listens
4 x 6
mixed media and acrylic on board

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

a visit with Our Lady of Guadalupe

My painting of OLG
This is my prepared Prayer Shelf in my Studio
where I put all your intentions, and the memorial cards of  loved ones and friends.
Since 1978 I've wanted to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. This past Easter, in 2013, I was able to go. When doing my reading about this apparition, before leaving Canada, I read that St. Juan Diego was 57 years old when Our Lady appeared to him. That's how old I am, little me traveling to visit with the "La Madre" and her little one, Juan Diego.
                                             God's time, that's where the action is.
Outside the Basilica, there is this print of the image Our Lady left us,
 where you can have your photo taken.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

You've got Mail

Who isn't pleasantly surprised to receive a card in the mail?
I've just mailed out an order for my Photo cards and I would like to add a description of Card #7.
Here is my original painting, a reinterpretation of a 18th century Ethiopian icon.
The original is found in the book, "Ethiopian Icons", by Stanislaw Chojnacki.
It is a B&W photo, very damaged so it is open to alot of interpretation.
Watch over us as we sleep
18 x 18
acrylic on wood
 The figure lying at the bottom represents all of us. I placed us in a white garment, as I believe this is how God sees us, although we may be along way from bearing all this light. We are lying down on a hard stone, because we lay down each night with the weight of the day. I deliberately drew Mary and the Christ child larger than us, larger than our troubles.
Contact me at :

Monday, 10 June 2013

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Two more silkscreens looking for a Home to Bless

Madonna and Child with Archangels Michael and Gabriel #2
12 x 12    SOLD
silk screened with acrylic, Chiyogami boarder on wood
Madonna and Child with Archangels Michael and Gabriel #3
12 x 12
Silk screened and acrylic with Chiyogami boarder on wood

I realize I have introduced a new word here, 'Chiyogami', which is Japanese silk screened paper.

Contact me if you have an inquiry :

Waking Up

This is the view I have upon waking up, this is my Prayer Table. As I am full time at this work of creating sacred art, I have a changing cast of Madonna's, (I say "Mother's"), Angels and Saints. But one image never leaves this Prayer Table, that is my first egg tempera ICON, it is from the Coptic Tradition.Icons from the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt date back to the evangelist St. Mark. An even earlier tradition relates to the refuge that Egypt offered the Holy Family, as recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew.
What attracted me to this ICON was the happiness, literally the cheeks of both the Mother and Child. So I affectionately speak to this Icon as "Cheeks", and then pour out my troubles or the prayer requests that have been entrusted to me.
 I took an eight week silk screening class and I used this prototype. I have these silk screened, and acrylic painted "Madonna and Child with Archangels Michael and Gabriel," looking for a home to bless.

Coptic Madonna and Child w/ Archangels Michael & Gabriel #1
11 x 14
silk screened and acrylic, with Chiyogami boarder on wood

Friday, 7 June 2013


 My interest in ICONS has been long,
 but my practice of writing/painting them started in 2006.

As I could not continue with egg
acrylic and mixed media on board
tempra on my own, I have been using acrylics and  I have been re-interpreting the Ethiopian tradition. I am also attracted to the 'of the people' style of this distinct school in contrast to the Orthodox Greek and Russian traditions.

I have built up a collection that I have been selling through Studio Tours and Group shows.
In the past, my web presence had only photo cards of my work.
Now, with this Blog, I would like to offer my paintings for your home based sacred space.
Why have a sacred image in your home? Most homes have images of loved ones on their walls.
These image's put you in the presence of that person. A sacred image does the same thing, but it also helps the presence of what is represented come through and go deeper into us.
In this introduction, I would like to simply invite you to a new space and practice in your home by:

  1.  choosing a corner, table top, or a shelf where you can place a statue, picture or painting of a sacred image that has significance. This focal point puts you in the presence of some greater reality.
  2.  bring to this space a candle, matches and a snuffer. When this is prepared, the gesture of lighting a candle by your sacred image becomes a ritual that gives back a peace only understood by doing it.

To inquire about any of the paintings you will see on my blog contact me at: