Saturday, January 8, 2011

Annunciation Drawing

I finished this drawing yesterday.  I started it long, long ago, before my youngest was born.  It was so strenuous to draw that I only worked on it a little bit at a time.  It is a colored pencil drawing on a wooden door which is over six feet tall and probably about three feet wide.  It is the biggest piece I have every done and readied me for all of the large portrait work which I have done in the past eight years.  I keep my pencils very sharp.  It took a long time to cover this vast surface.  Here's a close up:

It is a contemporary annunciation.  I am interested in doing more work of this kind, showing the Virgin Mary's story in contemporary terms.  I originally intended to do a diptych, with Gabriele on a second panel door.  I don't think I have to stamina to do it.  But I think this drawing can stand alone.  The girl is listening very intently.

I love annunciation paintings and have many favorites from the Flemish Primitives.  Mary is being asked to make a profound choice.  She is ready to say "yes."  Have you ever thought of that part of the story and how she says yes with her whole heart?  She doesn't ask Gabriele if she can get back to him later with a decision.  There is usually an indication that this choice will lead to sacrifice.  Sometimes painters showed a tiny Jesus flying to his mother from heaven, a cross in his arms.  She is also frequently shown reading.  She probably knows all about the prophecies, but she is still ready to say "yes."  I think I will call this drawing, "Say Yes."

I put Mary in an enclosed garden, which represents her chastity, with a Northern Renaissance landscape in the distant background.  I used flower imagery as the Northern Renaissance painters did.  Each flower in the lawn is a symbol.  For example, according to"From Van Eyck to Bruegel" by Ainsworth and Christiansen,  plantain thrives in the trodden path and "is a symbol of the multitude that seeks the path of Christ."  Most people of the Renaissance (and before) were illiterate.  But they knew all the stories and symbols of the bible, and churches were designed to communicate with them.  That is why Catholic churches and cathedrals all over the world are full of imagery in stained glass, stone, paintings, carvings, mosaic and statuary.  They were created to appeal to all of the senses of people, and to teach without words.

13 comments:

ferne said...

That is an amazing work of art! I think it is best not to rush some things...look at the outcome!

Beth said...

Thanks, Ferne! I think you are right! love, Beth

Redbeet Mama said...

What a gift you have.

Very beautiful indeed.

Namaste, Nicole

Beth said...

Thank you, Nicole! love, Beth

ONe PiNK FiSH said...

Wow, your work is breath taking.

Grace said...

Wow. How amazing. I love all the emotion in her face.

sarah in the woods said...

Truly incredible! I love the flower symbolism and the beautiful tall trees.

Beth said...

Thanks, Sarah in the Woods, Grace, and One Pink Fish!! I'm so happy I finally finished it. Now I can go to the next thing with new energy and inspiration! love, Beth

milkymumma said...

Your work is amazing - what talent! I have just discovered your blog, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of it.

Lu

95acresofsky said...

Wow! You are incredibly talented!

Appleshoe said...

Beth, this is Beautiful. You are such an amazing artist. I'm glad you are pursuing your dream. Take care.

Nadja Magdalena said...

Oh, Beth...that is amazing! What talent and patience you have. It is always delightful to see the things you do.

Anonymous said...

Beth, I have admired this work as you have worked on it from the beginning. It has an inner luminosity from the golden glow in the wood that you left exposed that contributes to the story of the annunciation. As I told you before I have been very moved in it's presence.