Thursday, May 8, 2014

Paintings: Blessed Rolando Rivi and Ven. Matt Talbot

Blessed Rolando Rivi, Terry Nelson, 2014
Acrylic on wood.
16 x 20

Ven. Matt Talbot, Terry Nelson, 2014
Acrylic on gesso panel.
11 x 14

Blessed Rolando Rivi

A young Italian seminarian abducted by Communist partisans in Italy during the War, he was murdered out of hatred for the faith.  The panel depicts the place of his torture and murder in the wood, and how the insurgents mocked and bullied the fourteen year old for wearing his cassock.  The Blessed is tied to a tree suggesting his torture and beating with a belt.  The tree is cut off, symbolizing his own young life cut short, while the branch he is suspended from blossoms in new life, his own martyrdom the seed of new life for the Church.  After his death and burial in a shallow grave, the insurgents hung the cassock from a farm house door as a trophy,  The church at the top is the church of Rolando's baptism - emphasizing the relationship of religious life to baptism, as well as martyrdom.  Read more on Bl. Rolando here.

Venerable Matt Talbot
    Who is Matt Talbot ?   Matt Talbot is a man who discovered the joy of recovery from addiction through a deep sense of self- awareness and spirituality.  He has become a model for "12 step" recovery even though his healing preceded the more defined development of "12 steps" in the mid 1930's.
      Matt Talbot was born on May 2, 1856 in Dublin, Ireland.  He was one of twelve children born to very strict parents.  Until he was twelve, Matt attended a Christian school.  At the age of twelve he began working as a messenger boy for a wine merchant.  This period was the beginning of Matt's troubles with drinking.
      By the time Matt was seventeen and a bricklayer's apprentice, he was a habitual drinker.  At the age of twenty-eight, after a week of irresponsible bingeing, Matt found himself destitute.  He had run out of money and was plagued by an inner craving for just one more drink.  He went to his favorite bars and begged his "so called" friends to give him just enough money to buy a drink.  His "friends" mocked him and ignored his pleas and beyond that did everything to avoid him.
      It was after this devastating experience that Matt realized he needed to change.  He hit bottom.  He knew he needed to find a way to stop drinking.  He became aware that he was powerless over alcohol and that his life was incredibly unmanageable.  It was in this state of awareness that Matt somehow realized he needed to call on his higher power (God) for help.
      For his spiritual strength, he practiced deep meditation and prayer.  He turned his will and his life over to the care of God.   In addition, Matt made a commitment to stop drinking one day at a time.  He vowed to keep his commitment first for just three months, later it was six months and then for life.  Without question it was a struggle but because of his commitment, his profound self-awareness and his deep spirituality, his recovery gradually became permanent and complete.
      Matt Talbot died on June 7, 1925.   He is remembered as an extraordinary man of simplicity.  A man marked by holiness and a profound commitment to recovery from addiction.  A model for others to follow.    - Source

In this painting I depict Matt around the age he died, he is holding a rosary indicating his devotion to Our Lady and the means of his overcoming addiction.  I relied upon the sculpture of Matt in Dublin (here) and the only known photo of him (here) to capture the likeness I produced in my painting.  In the background is a facsimile or impression of Newcomen Bridge crossing the Royal Canal, at the moment when he decided to stop drinking at the age of 28.  On the other side - as if completing the bridge - which symbolizes conversion, we see the door of a church, within Matt being embraced by Christ.  This is suggestive of the doctrine of St. Catherine of Siena who understood the cross - or rather Christ Crucified - as the bridge between men and God.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A new study

Study: Bl. Rolando Rivi, martyr.
Pencil and crayon on paper.
Terry Nelson

Story here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Study for an icon.

Study for icon-style image of Christ
T. Nelson
Soft pastel and gold paste on paper.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Virgin of the Apocalypse

Virgin of the Apocalypse - scan, detail
12" x 15" mixed media on paper
T. Nelson 2014

My first finished work of the new year.  It is too large for the scanner and floats slightly above the window, which causes the image to be blurry and dark.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas card samples ...

Angels Decorate

Virgen de Candelaria

Our Lady Help of Christians

Madonna and Child Jesus
of the Chaplet

Another drawing ...

The Magus
I call this sketch The Magus after my favorite novel.  I began it to work out something I imagined as animal figures playing musical instruments at the Nativity to honor the Infant Jesus.  My inspiration originated from Chinese and American Indian mythology - as well as the animals' Christmas.  Then it turned into what you see. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Dream Secret

A new painting in the works.

I've been working on it for months and now it is at the point where I think I can give a preview.  Two photos - snap shots - give a hint what lies beneath the over exposed image...

The Dream Secret


The work remains unfinished, but this is a narrative I posted in the com box at my other blog where the painting is shown:

The Dream Secret. 
Briefly, all I can say is that the dream remains rather vivid in my memory and I never fully understood it until after the clergy scandals. At first I had thought it was diabolic - a nightmare - mocking the Church, as well as a temptation against the Church. Over the years I understood it differently.

In the painting, I lightened up on how the 'bishops' depicted really appeared in the dream. The bishop holding the child was much more creepy, and he always suggested to me two things, the tolerance of abortion and contraception by churchmen, as well as the sexual exploitation, disregard, and sexual abuse of children. As I said, the bishop is toned down in the painting - in the dream he was wearing garish make-up and his fingernails were painted, and he was especially effeminate. The image was so repulsive, I neutralized those aspects for the painting.

The naked man partially dressed 'as a bishop' represents homosexuality in the clergy. In effect, he is a bishop's boy toy masquerading as a minister of the Eucharist. He illustrates the corruption in the Church, the lack of faith in the Eucharist and the sacraments, and the emptiness of decorum without a living faith.

The ordinary people are the faithful and they look to the apparition of the Virgin, making intercession with her to the Trinity. before my conversion I often dreamed of Our Lady, yet I could only see her form from the back.

The smoke is incense, yet later I wondered if it wasn't the camouflage of the 'smoke of Satan' as PPVI mentioned - masking the filth in the Church.

There is no Mass being celebrated - just clerics going through the motions at the altar. The statues are covered as for Lent, while it is a call to penance, it also represents the eclipse of solid Catholic teaching and tradition as well as devotion. The Trinity remains present none the less, the Father offering the Son in the Holy Spirit - if you could see closely, the Father's body conforms to that of the Crucified - it is a sign of the Father's love and a pledge of redemption.

The church interior is an interpretation of a downtown parish church I once attended regularly. Later on, a more or less dissident bishop became the pastor there.

This is a brief explanation - the meaning is multi-layered and complex. I painted it to work through some things and to put them in perspective. The fact St. Nicholas - an image I borrowed from another artist - the fact he is present as the patron saint of children and orthodoxy speaks for itself.

I painted in oil technique, so layering colors, washes and glazes was important. I still have things to add in the composition, but I'm taking a break from the panel for now.

I hope this answers your questions.

Update 5/24/14

I just read this which corresponds with my dream:

On Christmas Eve 1813, Bl. Elizabeth was transported in ecstasy to a place refulgent with light. There she saw countless saints in adoration before a humble manger. The Infant Jesus signaled her sweetly to approach, but on drawing near she saw that He was soaking with His own Blood.
“Just the thought of it fills me with horror” she wrote. “But at the same time I understood the reason for such shedding of blood was the bad habits of many priests and religious who do not behave according to their state in life and the bad education given to children by their fathers, mothers and others entrusted with this duty. They, who should increase the spirit of the Lord in the hearts of others by their good example, instead mortally persecute Him with their bad conduct and teachings.” - Source

The infant in my dream was bloodied  and distorted - like the infant in Bl. Elizabeth's vision.  I will amend the painting which has remained unfinished until now.