art, Our Lady of the Wood Project, Uncategorized

Happy Mother’s Day

20170514_113626Happy Mother’s Day! I’m sure many of you think your mothers are the best, but you’re all wrong. Mine is. No questions. Not up for debate. Thank you very  much…

…is what I would’ve said had Mary had not already held that spot, sorry, Jesus.

I very much dread to think what my life would have been if it hadn’t been for her strength, her intelligence, and her wisdom.

Such wisdom including, but not limited to:

Do not let perfect be the enemy of good.

Be brave like a lion. Lions are mighty. They’re right. They have nothing to fear except for perhaps people with guns. They are not like the gazelles cowering in the grass or the wild dogs attacking everything in sight.

Her hard work and sacrifice being the mother of a large family isfullicon something that I will always admire.

She taught me the importance of being kind, understanding, and tolerant of others. She taught me that I never needed to be afraid. Not of other people, other faiths, and most importantly, not afraid to follow my dreams even though it required a field of study I greatly struggled in high school (chemistry) and the great distances I will travel to achieve them.

But most importantly, she taught me that I must always strive to a better me. She never looked at me and said, “Why can’t you be more like ____.” She always accepted me for who I was, and encouraged me to grow accordingly.

Now, some of you may remember that I tried to do a project for Lent. Well, I got a good head start on it. I’ve been spending about an hour every day on it, but my grandfather past away the last week of Lent, and I wasn’t able to finish it then. I did, however, get it finished in time for Mother’s Day.


So, in about an hour, I’m going to be driving over to Mom’s to do a big reveal of this painting and place it in the niche in the house (hence the shape of the painting).

Please follow this amazing woman’s blog, Simply Catholic.

It’s customary for religious painters to put their hometown/monastery/family members, etc in their paintings. I’m no exception:

It’s a bit difficult to see, but that’s Mt. Hood in the background.
Our Lady of the Wood Project, Uncategorized

Our Lady of the Wood: Lenten Project Day 16

Todunderpaintingay was a good day. It’s been seven days since I did the priming, and it was now time to start on the actual painting. Thankfully, the disappeared drawing wasn’t a problem. I was able to paint Mary and Jesus more or less the way it was before.

I’m really happy with this so far. I have this slight fear of making Jesus look creepy. Why? Because it’s easy to make faces look creepy. It’s something about the eyes. Already, I know one eye’s larger than the other, but that’s going to be fixed when I start adding more color.

I’m happy with the face so far though. Hopefully it stays that way as I keep working on it.

Honestly, I did not think I would get this far this quickly. I may end up getting this finished well before Lent’s over.

Our Lady of the Wood Project, Uncategorized

Our Lady of the Wood: Lenten Project Day 10: I Messed Up


Hey, everyone. So… I learned the hard way that before you start any project with a medium you haven’t done before, you really need to do your research.

So, it’s with a heavy heart that I say that the drawing of Mary and Jesus I spent a few days doing is no longer visible.


Thankfully, the rings that naturally occured on the wood are still visible, and I was tracing over them to make the trees and part of Mary’s dress.

Here’s what happened. I knew that any surface you have to paint on needs to be primed, but after a few minutes of research, I found that NOT having primed wood before painting can be a bit disastrous. If untreated beforehand, oil paint can react with the wooden surface causing the wood to rot as well as the paint to yellow years ahead of time. I want this painting to be an heirloom piece that will last centuries down the line, so I decided to do this right.

I went down to Blick and got some PVA Size and Ground. Acrylic Gesso may have been the cheaper option, but given the nature of this art piece, I wanted to use the best quality materials I could:


I really like anything done by Gamblin. Not only is it an art supply company, but it’s one that specializes in art conservation. No, they’re not sponsoring me. I legitimately love this company.

So, as per the instructions, I put two coats of PVA size on the wood to treat it, then put two coats of Ground to give it a good surface to be painted on. Unfortunately, It’s going to need a whole week to fully dry and set before I can do anything else to it.

I think it goes without saying that this will probably take a lot longer to finish than the whole season of Lent.

So… what am I going to do in the meantime? I’m going to redraw the picture I made on paper so that when the ground has fully dried, the drawing will be already to be transferred. Also, I’m going to spend an hour each day continuing with my aunt’s Van Gogh reproduction. I actually made a lot of progress today. Here:



Our Lady of the Wood Project, Uncategorized

Lenten Project: Day 5: Finished Drawing

maryWelcome to my One Painting in Forty Days project. I haven’t been blogging every day, but I have been spending time on this every day.

Welp. I got the drawing finished much more quickly than I anticipated. Hooray!

Drawing on wood wasn’t really as daunting as I thought it would be.

I kinda messed up though. I should have gesso’d the wood panel first. Everything I’m reading on the internet says that acrylic gesso would be fine. Although, I’m slightly concerned about the long term longevity of the painting (I would like this to last several generations if at all possible).

I’m starting to think it might be worth its time to hide a record of all materials used within the painting, but maybe I’m just crazy.

Anyway. This was really fun to draw. I followed the natural pattern of the wood grain on the panel, I was a little concerned about how I would make the effect of Mary actually being part of the wood, but the design just came naturally. Also. Anyone recognize the mountain in the background?

In several religious paintings I’ve seen, it’s customary for the artist to put a piece of home in the painting. There’s even a stained glass window in my church of the May Crowning with Mt. Hood and the Convention center.

Our Lady of the Wood Project, Uncategorized

Lenten Project: Our Lady of the Wood Painting

Happy Ash Wednesday everyone!

So, this blog post is going to be slightly different from a lot of my other blog posts. If you’re uncomfortable with anything that has to do with religion, just a heads up, that’s what’s being covered today.

For those of you who don’t know, Lent is the Catholic (and some other Christian denominations) time of the year where we honor the forty-days where Jesus wandered into the desert alone. Someone participating in Lent would give up something and/or do something extra (being better about cleaning someone’s room, going to daily mass, that kind of thing).

I’m sure many of you are aware of the 40 Trash Bag Challenge, which my mother first did and blogged about back in 2009 (independent of 40 Bags in 40 Days , but still the same idea).

Well. I’m starting my own challenge: 1 Painting in 40 Days.

One thing that I’ve been meaning to do for years during Lent was to paint a religious painting, either of a saint or a biblical scene. This is the year that Lent finally didn’t sneak up on me, and I know what I’m going to do.

About a year ago, my mother asked me to create an oil on wood painting of the Virgin Mary, particularly as Our Lady of the Wood.

The story of Our Lady of the Wood is inspring to me as someone going into art conservation. Many years ago in Galloro, Italy, there was a kid named Santi Bevilacqua picking berries in the forest, while he was there, he stumbled upon a wall with a painting of the Virgin Mary on it. He kept coming back to it, praying in front of it, and bringing flowers. Soon, some of the other kids started following him and doing the same thing. When the adults expressed concern with the children playing in the woods (not an unreasonable concern), they discovered that this wall was actually part of the remains of a church that suffered through a land dispute several years before and decayed over time. The church was rebuilt.

And now, I’m making a painting drawing inspiration from this story.

The description I was given was, “She is part of the wood, and the wood is part of her.” Mom had a dream about this. Mary is in a forest, wearing a pink veil the same texture and color as the sunset, and her clothing is disappearing into the forest as though she herself is part of it. This painting will be going into a niche in her house.

After doing a bit of research on oil-on-wood (being an acrylic-on-canvas artist), I found that oak or mahogany was the best wood to use. I used a good chunk of the money I earned from a commission I did that year, went down to Home Depot, and got a slab of oak that fit the size of the niche, sawed it down, then left it alone.

I really want to finish this piece before I leave for Florence.

I really love the work of William Bougeureau, so I’m thinking I’m going to be studying him a lot during this time.

Image result for Innocence bouguereau
Innocence by William Bougeureau

Image come from here.


I don’t know if I’ll blog about it every day, in fact, I probably won’t, knowing me, but I’m definitely going to try to work on this painting every day. If this project goes well, hopefully I can do this every year.

Fun Fact:

Apparently, Dorothy Day gave up smoking for Lent every year.