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Virgin Mary

study of Piero della Francesca's Annunciation in Arezzo

Annunciation Master Studies

By Painting, Art and Faith, Virgin Mary

The Annunciation has been one of my favorite images for many years. My paintings seek to create modern interpretations of Mary. In preparation for this endeavor I took on a studio exercise creating small studies of famous Annunciation images. These Annunciation master studies are a study of art history as well as a meditation.

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oil painting of woman at a closed door with a dead tree

Eve: Closed Door to Paradise

By Painting, Art and Faith, Virgin Mary

My new painting “Closed Door to Paradise” explores the relationship between Eve and Mary. The painting shows the door to heaven, to Paradise, closed after Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve’s doubt led to the closing of the door to Paradise. God forced them to flee the garden afterwards. They left the Garden of Eden and the harmony of life there and humankind has suffered from sin ever since.

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oil painting of Mary and the stump of jesse

Mary and the Stump of Jesse

By Art and Faith, Virgin Mary

The narrative thread of a tree continues throughout the entire Bible. The tree grow in Genesis, but by the time we get to Isaiah it has been cut down and only a stump remains. However, there is still hope that from the roots a shoot, a small branch will grow again and bear fruit. The image references the words of the prophet Ezekiel, “I the Lord … have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish” (17:24)… And then, towards the end of the Gospel narratives, we come to the tree of the cross.

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oil painting woman with stairway

Mary as Jacob’s Ladder

By Art and Faith, Virgin Mary, Painting

Ascent/Descent is a contemporary interpretation of the Virgin Mary as Jacob’s Ladder. This reading of Genesis 28 views Jacob’s vision of the stairway ascending to heaven as a pre-figuration of the Virgin Birth. Mary was the fulfillment of the LORD’s promise in this passage “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Through Jesus’ salvation (brought forth by Mary) we are able to ascend to heaven, and through Mary, Jesus descended to earth. Mary was the vehicle, the connection between heaven and earth which allowed salvation to come.

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oil painting of woman in a church

New Marian painting: Interrogatio

By Architecture, Virgin Mary, Figures, Painting, Art and Faith

My newest Marian painting “Interrogatio: Inquiry” depicts that moment of questioning “How can this be?” when the angel announced the Christ’s coming to Mary at the Annunciation. Mary’s vulnerability before God is represented here by the nude female figure. The grand space of the architecture represents God’s overpowering presence. The architecture also becomes a metaphor for Mary herself, often referred to in medieval texts as the Temple or dwelling place of the Lord because of her role in the Incarnation.

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gold mixed media painting contemporary icon

Contemporary Icons: Gold Silhouettes

By Figures, Virgin Mary, Painting, Art and Faith

My newest series of Gold Silhouette paintings are meant to be contemporary icons, modern interpretations of traditional icons. Whether architecture or figure, even landscape, my work has always centered on a theme of convergence between heaven and earth. Similarly, these new mixed media pieces juxtapose the expressive minimalist quality of my figure drawings with the other-worldly materials of metal leaf and paint inspired by iconography.

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Spiritual Nudes: Theology and Empathy in Monoprints

By Printmaking, Figures, Press and Publications, Virgin Mary

Her figures, far from the classical ideal of beauty, retain the brokenness of humanity, a brokenness that is both spiritual and physical. At the same time, Paine preserves their dignity and value, arguing that man’s design is not wholly evil. In each of these figures the signs of life and death are evident, like permanent and deep marks that cannot be wiped away.

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Annunciation/Birth

By Painting, Art and Faith, Motherhood and Art-Making, Virgin MaryNo Comments

The Feast of the Annunciation was moved to April 8 this year, since March 25 fell during Holy week. The Annunciation celebrates the moment when the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the Savior. This series of Annunciation master studies I have shared over the last months is about waiting, and the expectation of new life. At times this “new life” has been a metaphor for new beginnings, forgiveness, spiritual renewal, but in 2012 the time of waiting was literal, as I waited, in pregnancy, for my baby girl to be born…

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Our Lady of the Barren Tree

The Call to Beauty –

By Art and Faith, Painting, Virgin Mary, ItalyNo Comments

Cardus has just published another of my paintings in their online journal Comment.

Our Lady of the Barren Tree is an image of hope: the strange beauty of winter, in which it requries faith to believe that trees and grass are only “sleeping” and will return with new life and growth.
The tree, the vine, the branches – these images evoke the memory of Eve in the garden of Eden whose disobedience eventually brought on the exile of humanity from paradise. Eve’s disobedience was eventually redeemed in the act of Mary’s obedient “May it be to me as you have said”.

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