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.






Monday, December 17, 2012

2012 Christmas Card




Madonna and Child 2012 (after Rafael's Colonna Madonna)
by jojo sabalvaro tan
watercolor on 140# Arches paper
This year's Christmas card was inspired by a poster I spotted at a bus stop in Den Haag (The Hague) when we were there a few weeks ago. The poster was for a special exhibition of Raphael's work at the  oldest museum in the Netherlands, the Teylers Museum in Haarlem. Raphael is an Italian painter and architect during the High Renaissance period and was a contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. I have done a few paintings based on Raphael's work, one of which I chose as the image for our Christmas card a few years ago. Needless to say, I am a great fan of Raphael's work. His simplicity in composition and clearness of form appeal to me. Beside, I really love the renaissance period of art. The message that it imparts to me is we have to look back in order to move forward to achieve even greater things. And I also like the fact that religion and faith had a big influence on the flourishing of the renaissance period.


We had fleetingly considered tearing off the poster from the bus stop so I can make my version  the painting of Raphael featured on it. Since none of us were delinquents at heart and mind, the idea  left our thoughts immediately. I was sure I would find the same painting on the Internet somewhere. But as luck would have it, one of the stores we went to had little versions of the same poster that they were giving away. So I was able to take home one of them as a souvenir.

The poster at the Den Haag bus stop
Raphael painted a number of Madonnas and became known as a Madonnierre (painter of Madonnas). His Madonnas exhibit gentleness, intimacy and a sense of humility. Here are some examples of Raphael's Madonnas:



Madonna Conestabile, 1502 or 1503

Alba Madonna (1510)


As my Christmas tradition, I paint several Madonna and Child images throughout the year and choose a favorite for our annual Christmas card so I suppose I can afford a little self-indulgence and  refer to myself as a Madonnierre  I consider the old masters my personal instructors, by studying their paintings and history and interpreting their paintings I learn so much about technique, color mixing and composition.  With the painting for this card, I started as usual with a cartoon (sketch) on parchment paper, shown below, which I later transferred to watercolor paper once I was satisfied with the general sketch.


This time, I applied a wash of raw sienna all over the painting to give the entire painting a sort of golden glow (hopefully). I let that raw sienna base coat dry completely before I base coated the rest of the colors. 


Then, I added the shadings and details ...

Below is the completed painting side by side with the poster which was my inspiration piece.

And here is the 2012 Christmas Card. I had the card printed on a 6" x 8"flat photo card stock in a matte finish. The  colors turned out a little darker than the original but I still like how it turned out. I found out that most recipients of our cards like to frame them or put them on display. As a flat card, this one is ready for framing or for display as a mini poster.


2012 Christmas Card of jojo and rudy tan from original watercolor by jojo sabalvaro tan
Front and back view printed on heavyweight 6" x 8" smooth card stock in a matte finish

We bid you peace, love and joy this Christmas season and in the coming year. May God's blessings be with you always.





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