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.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Icon Painting - La Dolorosa

One of my most favorite depictions of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Virgin of Hope at the Basilica of Nuestra Senora de la Esperanza Macarena in Seville, Spain. When I first saw it, I was immediately taken with both joy and sorrow and have never forgotten the experience. The image is a Spanish national treasure with thousands venerating it and following its procession in full regalia through the streets of Seville during Holy Week. The image falls under the Marian classification of Our Lady of Sorrows aptly depicted with Her tearful demeanor.

Nuestra SeƱora de la Esperanza, Seville
From the Watercolor Travel Journal
by jojo sabalvaro tan

It was so hot in Seville when we were there that everyone else on our tour group spent the afternoon poolside. My husband and I decided to visit a small church close to our hotel. We were told that Spain’s most venerated image of the Virgin Mary is in this church. Unfortunately, the church was closed when we got there but, in my broken Spanish, I was able to convince the priest lurking about to let us in to see the Macarena. She is so beautiful, resplendent in rich brocade and presented in gilt surroundings. Her face is that of a tearful Mary, so tender and touching. Of all the images of Mary, this is my hands down favorite. (From my book Passport to Creativity - Exploring the World with a Watercolor Journal)

The Virgin of Hope of Macarena (Spanish: Virgen de la Esperanza de Macarena de Sevilla)
Image Detail from Wikipedea

Ever since I saw  La Macarena, I wanted a reproduction of the image. I searched everywhere but could not find any. I even tried to have one made by one of the wood sculptors in the Philippines but could not find one who was willing to tackle it. So to this day my dream and quest continues.

La Dolorosa 2015
Watercolor on Arches 140# hot pressed watercolor paper
by jojo sabalvaro-tan

My latest painting project (above)  is another icon of the Virgin Mary. This time, I did not go the traditional route but painted it in a more contemporary style. When I completed the painting, I showed it to my husband and he asked, "Why is Mary sad?" I told him that Mary has been depicted as sorrowful since time immemorial because she is aware of what her Son would be going through during His life and leading up to His death. In the Catholic faith, there has been a long tradition to the devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary especially at Holy Week.

Tradition dictates that Our Lady of Sorrows would be wearing black or dark blue as a sign of mourning. I diverged from  tradition in choosing red for Her robes in my painting since I felt that even though Mary was sorrowful,  she had hope for eternal life and salvation and most of all, a heart filled with love and compassion. I gave the painting the title of La Dolorosa in honor of my mother who would have been 93 on June 30th and in memory of my maternal aunt whose name was derived from "Dolor" - Auntie Dolly (Dolores) and two members of my extended family who passed away recently, Manong Rene and  Manolo. May they rest in peace.

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of your compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance before His Body was removed from the cross. Dear Mother, by your heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of understanding.
  (From www.catholictraditions.org Seven Sorrows devotion)

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