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.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Another Christmas Card Image Candidate

Madonna and Child 2011
9" x 12"
Watercolor  on Arches 140# watercolor paper
by jojo sabalvaro tan
This is the latest Madonna and Child I painted as one of the pieces to choose from for this year's Christmas card. At first, I began painting it in the more traditional style shown unfinished below. Again, you will find where he Renaissance period inspired me with  this painting. When I showed it to my niece, she thought it was too predictable and not very colorful to her taste.

I originally painted this Madonna and Child painting in  with a more Renaissance look
Here are the two paintings side by side when I was trying to decide which one to finish,  I went with the colorful one
So I started another painting with making it more colorful in mind.  As I thought about my approach, I decided that I would draw inspiration from my mentor Helena Nelson-Reed, featured in the Firebird blogpost. I applied her technique of freely throwing color on the paper and going with the flow as far as the designs that will emanate. Here is how the new painting turned out.

Detail of Baby Jesus.

I have not finished the original Renaissance-type Madonna and Child, I will try to, as I still like the traditional look. Which one do you prefer?

If you look closely at this painting, I camouflaged Jesus at the cross within the painting. It is a reminder that the birth of Jesus, who would eventually die on the cross for our redemption, is a gift of Divine love,   “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Madonna and Child 2010
Watercolor on watercolor paper 8" x 10"
by jojo sabalvaro tan
Here is another Madonna and Child watercolor I did using the Helena Nelson-Reed's technique. This one is more contrived and less free flowing. The inspiration is also from the Japanese wood block (moku hanga) prints which I love. I used Japanese motifs such as the crane. Moku hanga is known for depicting uyiko-e, capturing the 'floating world' and uses water base inks which resulted in beautiful vibrant colors and glazes and exceptional transparency. Some of the most favorite and well known Japanese wood block artists are Hokusai, Utamaro and Hiroshige. For an example of a work of these artists, please click on each name. When we were in Osaka, a few years ago, it was hard for me to imagine this floating world depicted by these artists while surrounded by modern skyscrapers, expressways, traffic and all other trappings of today's busy world. But then a Japanese woman simply arranges some flowers, a chef prepares a beautiful plate of sushi and a man dutifully sweeps the pavement and you start to realize that this floating world existed and still exists. My fervent wish is that uyiko-e art lives on in all things Japanese.


  1. R and J Aragon, Chicago, IL.December 4, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    We are now proud owners of a Jojo Tan artwork, it hangs proudly in our South Loop home.

  2. Another great creation!