Joan of Arc

My painting of Joan of Arc is currently participating in the Saint Vincent Gallery’s Seventh Juried Catholic Arts Exhibition.

The Biennial Nationwide Juried Catholic Arts Competition and Exhibition was established in 2001 by the late Br. Nathan Cochran, O.S.B. His untiring pursuit to cultivate and revive the Sacred Arts was the catalyst for the creation of this Competition and Exhibition. Br. Nathan wanted to give artists who engage Catholic subject matter an opportunity to dialogue with the Church and pastors in the hope of creating new, original artworks for churches and liturgical spaces. For the third Competition and Exhibition, famed British art historian Sister Wendy Beckett served as judge. She praised Br. Nathan’s endeavors, noting that, “Artists often come to understand their faith by the actual creation of artworks. We need these artworks, these attempts by artists known or unknown, to share with us their understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Would that there were hundreds of Brother Nathans in all countries!”

Since its inception, the Competition and Exhibition has received national attention and has blossomed with global interest, spurring submissions and artworks for exhibition from South America to all across Europe. The competition has worked to foster a relationship between artists working in the Catholic Arts.

World-renowned and acclaimed jurors working in the areas of sacred art and art history have brought their expertise to the Competition and Exhibition. Past jurors include: Dr. Frima Fox Hofrichter, an art historian specializing in Baroque and Rococo; Duncan G. Stroik, an architect and professor working in classical and sacred architecture; Sr. Wendy Beckett, an art historian and BBC personality; Dr. John T. Spike, an expert in Renaissance and Baroque art who directs and curates the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary; Janet McKenzie, an artist working in sacred art; and Dr. Denis R. McNamara, an architectural historian specializing in the theology of liturgical art at the Liturgical Institute at the University of Saint Mary on the Lake, Mundelein.”

Merry Christmas!

xmass 2017

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Here are some images from a life size nativity scene that I created for the church of Sant’ Ambrogio from awhile back.  The post about that wonderful project can be found here.

1 presepe
Front view of Sant’ Ambrogio presepe
2 presepe
Side view of presepe
4 presepe copy
Detail of the Madonna

Honorable Mention at the 6th Catholic Art Exhibition at the Saint Vincent Gallery

Wanderer pastel
St. John the Baptist, pastel on paper mounted on linen, 50cm x70cm

The painting shown above was awarded an Honorable Mention at the 6th Nationwide Juried Catholic Arts Exhibition hosted by the Saint Vincent Gallery in Latrobe, PA.  I would like to thank everyone at Saint Vincent College for continuing the great work of Brother Nathan Cochran and this year’s juror Denis R. McNamara, Ph.D.

My picture of San Francesco da Paola was also selected to participate.

San Francesco da Paola, oil on linen, 40cm x 55cm

Interview Feature

Matthew James Collins - Amore1r
Inheritance: A Portrait of Amore, oil on linen, 50cm x 60cm

While in Chicago this summer I had the opportunity to participate in a short interview feature about my life and work.  Footage from the opening of my Iter Animae that took place at Loyola University is featured as well.  I would like to thank Matt Baron and Joe Kreml for developing and creating this wonderful piece.

I opened a YouTube channel as well and that can be found here.

Sacred Art Show in Livorno

Wanderer pastel
Saint John the Baptist, pastel on paper mounted on linen, 50cm x70cm

A couple of my paintings will be participating in the upcoming show “The Rebirth of Figurative Sacred Art” that will run from Sept. 7th until the 10th. at the Old Fortress in Livorno, Italy.

My pastel of Saint John the Baptist and oil of San Francesco da Paola will be exhibited.  Entrance is free and the show is part of the Miss Arte Moda Italia program.

San Francesco da Paola, oil on linen, 40cm x 55cm

Iter Animae

Rhapso, oil on linen, 86cm x 92cm

Loyola University’s Medical School will host a show of my work in Stritch Center of Medicine this July.  The title of the show is Iter Animae (The Soul’s Journey).  It will have about 20 of my works, oil paintings, sculptures and drawings.

Through a variety of genres ( portraiture, the sacred, landscape) I strive to make the intangible presence of our inner existence visible. Timeless landscapes, evocative portraits and Catholic saints express the ‘iter animae’ or the soul’s journey.  The transcendent power of art expresses truths of the human experience that the confusion of our daily life obscures.

I will post more info soon.

Inheritance, oil on linen, 86cm x 92cm


A Sight Size Head Study for Affresco

Il Risorto (The Ressurected Christ), pastel on paper, 50cm x 70cm
Il Risorto (The Resurrected Christ), pastel on paper, 50cm x 70cm

I am currently developing a couple of affresco projects for churches in Matera, Italy.  A lot of preparation is required: compositions sketches, presentation drawings, studies, cartoons etc; before the actually painting can begin.  Studies made from life are important not only for working out ideas but for creating the references that are used to complete the painting.

My pastels
My pastels

My medium of choice is pastel.  I make my own sticks using the same earth pigments that will be used in the affresco.  For the head study of Il Risorto that is shown above, I  used the sight size method.  An approach used by portrait painters for centuries, it is perfectly suited for head studies.

Model with study with a sight size set up.  There is a slight distortion from the camera.
Model with study with a sight size set up. There is a slight distortion from the camera.

Essentially a practical application of one point perspective, sight size is based upon the relationship of viewing point, model and picture plane.  Instead of looking through the ‘veil’ the picture plane is the canvas placed along side of the model.  The least amount of distortions and errors occur when the model and the picture plane are the same scale, thus the natural power of this method for life size portraiture.  However, for my project the head of Christ is to be over life size. To achieve the correct scale I placed my board roughly a meter behind the model.

Easel placement seen from the side
Easel placement seen from the side

In designing large, in situ wall decoration a lot of different factors come into play.  Compostion, visual corrections and varying viewing points all must be considered and orchestrated to create a successful painting.  Sight size, when used intelligently, is a fundamental and necessary tool for not only shapes and proportion but giving work the power of impact at a distance.

To learn more about my pastel approach there is a post here.  For an example of the affresco technique there is another post here.

The 5th Nationwide Juried Catholic Arts Exhibition

The Monk, 50cm x 70cm, pastel on paper mounted on linen.
The Monk, 50cm x 70cm, pastel on paper mounted on linen.

The 5th Nationwide Juried Catholic Arts Exhibition hosted by the St. Vincent Gallery at the St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA opens today.  My painting pictured above ‘The Monk’ was selected to participate.  Sad news unfortunately accompanies this wonderful event.  Brother Nathan Cochran unexpectedly passed away this July.  He was the visionary and driving force behind the St. Vincent Gallery and this Exhibition.

Hopefully we can all learn from his positive attitude and carry forward his dream of reviving Catholic art.  To learn more about the exhibition the link can be found here.

Off the Coast of Utopia

An old friend and wonderful artist, Martinho Correia, interviewed me for blog: Off the Coast of Utopia.  The post can be found here.  It is an audio podcast.  Honestly, I do not like the sound of my recorded voice.

I met Martinho in 2000 when he was studying at the Angel Academy in Florence.  He went on to become a head instructor.  Now he travels extensively teaching workshops worldwide, founded an artist retreat in Portugal, and is creating a sacred art program for a Catholic university in Canada.  In addition to all this he still has time to create  beautiful paintings.

Here are a couple examples of his work:

Highlander, oil on linen, 50cm x 60cm
Highlander, oil on linen, 50cm x 60cm
Ananstasis, oil on linen, 3/4 life-size
Ananstasis, oil on linen, 3/4 life-size

Up ↑