Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Italian Religious Art

The religious art that were created during the Medieval and Renaissance times inspire me very much. I love the works of Giotto, Martini, Michaelangelo, Botticelli, Da Vinci and Raphael, to name a few. I love visiting Italy and seeing their works in person. I feel a certain affinity with these artists. It is probably why I gravitate towards creating religious art myself, even just by trying to replicate the works of these great artists, in order to study them.

I believe my interest was also influenced by my father who painted a number of Last Supper scenes sometimes featuring likeness of family members as saints. He also painted and sculptured Agony in the Garden scenes, especially after someone close to him died, a way to deal with his grief.

I started painting Madonna and Child subjects and decided to send them to friends and family as my Christmas Cards. It was so well received that folks started collecting them. I painted these Madonnas in different styles but my favorites are those where I interpreted in watercolor Medieval and Renaissance Madonna and Child paintings.

This was the painting I used for my 2009 Christmas card. It is based on the work of Raphael entitled Madonna and Child with Book that I saw at the Norton Art Museum in Pasadena, California.


Below is my painting inspired by Nardo di Cione's work entitled Madonna and Child which is my favorite work at the Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin. I used gold leafing on the background.

I love Sandro Botticelli and this is a painting I did based on his work entitled Madonna della Loggia that I admired at the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Painting of Peonies

For my next painting under the mentorship of Maritza Bermudez, I chose to paint peonies. As I was sketching the flowers, I almost gave up. There were so many petals and I realized the color value and tints will be a challenge. The wrong tint or value may result in the flower looking like a bunch of different shapes instead of a flower.... But, I forged on with the challenge and I am happy with the results. I always view my painting as a continuous learning process.

The main color I used was Opera Pink and I added shades and accents of quinacridone magenta, permanent rose and carbazole violet. I painted the flowers mostly in wet-on-wet and approached the flowers petal by petal. I used the negative painting technique for most of the leaves.

The peony is named after Paeon (also spelled Paean), a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. Asclepius became jealous of his pupil; Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book Club

I finally did it ... I've joined a book club. For years, I've been attempting to join the book discussion group at our local library. They meet on the last Friday of every month. For one reason or another, I have been unable to go. At last, the stars in heaven aligned and I was able to attend last month's meeting. We discussed the book The Guernsey Book and Potato Peel Pie Society which I had just read a few months ago. There were about 12 ladies in attendance plus a moderator who worked for the library. I would say, the average age of the attendees is around 70. I am probably one of the younger members. But what lively and active discussions ensued. In the book the children of Guernsey were taken to the main island of Britain to keep them safe in case of a German attack on the island. One of the ladies in the group talked about a similar experience with her young brother being taken away from their family with the rest of the children in her city to a remote area that was considered safer from attacks. I was tearing up from her account. Someone uttered, " War is hell", and everyone agreed.

Iced tea and coffee were served along with a chocolate cake made by a French nun. One of the members of the group bought the cake, which was delicious, by the way, at a local Farmer's Market. For this month's book, we are reading Little Heathens by Mildred Kalish. It is an autobiographical story about the lives of an Iowa farm family during the Great Depression. It is not a book I would have picked off the shelves but I am enjoying it nonetheless.

Here is a quote from the book that she attributed to William James but is originally from William Shakespeare. It is a psychological approach to bad times, which worked then and should also be effective now.

"The voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our spontaneous be lost, is to sit up cheerfully, and act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there. To feel brave, act as if we were brave, use all our will to that end, and courage will very likely replace fear. If we act as if from some better feeling, the bad feeling soon folds its tent like an Arab and silently steals away."