Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sketchbooks: Ex Votos

(I should have posted this on Valentines Day! )
Back to sketch books and my ability to over do anything. This really, really did start as a simple sketch. What I ended up with was a nice textural piece that is from a photo I took in the Virgin of Guadalupe Grotto in New Orleans. The marble plaques---ex votos---cover the walls of the grotto, which is darkened from soot from votive candles left lit by those offering prayer or thanks. The walls were originally painted a rather bright robin's egg blue, but were then repainted a lighter shade. Both colors are visible and both are tempered from the soot.
It is an interesting and humbling atmosphere to enter; the doorway is not average height so you must stoop to go in. Inside, though lit only from one small window and with the candle light, it is fairly dark, which does NOT translate to cool. It is quite hot and close and smothering. However, there is a lot to look at artistically, so I was in there until I thought my head would melt. Frankly, I would have been there longer, clicking off more shots with the old film camera, but I can take only so much heat then I'm out. (Yes, it was Anne's pre-digital age.....)
The one thing I wanted to get *right* in the sketch was the textured walls and the dirt. That I am happy with. The ex-votos themselves are okay. The piece pleases me. I know there could be more work or better work but the imperfections seem appropriate.
Since the hearts or rectangles are mounted individually to the walls as they are provided, there is little rhyme or reason to how they are placed. And the walls curve, so pieces are straight for a while, then suddenly there is another crammed in sideways, with a bit of the edge sticking up.
It is beautiful discord.
It tests the idea of order, yet there is a sense of acceptance since it is a holy place.
It is a place of belief and thanks.
Hopefully a bit of that is conveyed in the painting. I couldn't stop at a sketch---it drew me in. It had to be all that it is.


Leslie said...

I really like these.

Would you please tell me what the connection is to Central and South American art that draws you so much, if you would be so kind...

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

I don't know---it was like the first time I saw it something clicked. Maybe it was being raised Catholic. Maybe is was from growing up in the military and seeing different types of art.
Maybe it's just one of those things that somewhere out there in the universe there are things that draw you in, and if you pay attention, you find something very special to work with and be inspired by.
That's the best I can do offhand. I never really thought about it that much!

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