Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas

"Giotto Madonna" Terry Nelson, Acrylic and gold on wood. 2010

I finished the plate just in time for Christmas.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 10, 2010

Nativity Angels

I painted these angel panels for a Nativity presepio last year. Looking back on the photos of the panels this year, they don't seem as bad as I thought they were. I almost could have made them into Christmas cards or something. At the time of installation I was somewhat embarrassed about the paintings - thinking they were too schmaltzy. I never was asked back to paint more panels, so I wondered if the work I did wasn't quite right - it may not fit in with the display as it evolves from year to year now. I wasn't at all insulted about not being asked back mind you - I was more than content to do the work and move on.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Giotto: Madonna and Child (Detail, Scrovegni Chapel)

Posted by Picasa

What I am working on now...

About 25 years ago I bought many wooden objects to paint for a Christmas shop in a chic little store.  Among the items I purchased was a blank wooden plate.  I gessoed and sanded it and laid out a design based upon the Giotto frescoes in the Scrovegni in Padua.  I got as far as laying the cartoon (drawing) for the painting, and painting in the lapis background.  I lost interest in the panel after I was unable to meet my deadline for the design firms Christmas cocktail opening.  Everything else was ready save for this.  Long story short - I began work on it once again about 3 weeks ago.  I'm painting with a very small brush and the work is quite detailed - and it is taking awhile to finish. 

St. Catherine of Alexandria Carried By Angels To Sinai

Posted by Picasa

More of what I have been working on...
I of course believe many pious legends - one being the story that angels carried the relics of St. Catherine to Sinai.  That said - I'm not sure many people witnessed the miracle - in fact God loves to reveal himself in a cloud of unknowing - hence my depiction of the Saint transported in a mysterious cloud, which, as one might imagine, not only concealed the relics of the holy virgin, but the angels as well.  Some like to say monks did the work, but I say never attribute to men, much less monks, the good only to be found in God.

St. Xenia of Petersburg

Posted by Picasa

What I have been working on.
I recently finished this little icon of St. Xenia, a Russian Pilgrim/Fool for Christ Saint.  It is a 5 x 7 panel which fits nicely in a hand carved wooden architectural frame.  I wish I could say I carved the frame, but I didn't.  I bought it about 25 years ago.

Xenia is depicted in her husband's old military coat, which she is said to have always worn.  She made her home in a cemetery in St. Petersburg - a true desert saint - hence one may understand my prejudice when it comes to modern hermits.