An artist, John Meng-Frecker, emailed me wondering if I was interested in his first religious painting and the wonderful, grace filled process he went through as he painted Mary. This story is perfect for the Feast of the Annunciation. The title that immediately came to mind for this article was An Artist Shares in the Mystery of the Annunciation because God was obviously in charge as John painted. I will let John speak for himself,
“My first religious painting:Surrounded in golden light, the angel Gabriel touches Mary
at the moment of the Incarnation causing pure light to shine outward from Mary’s heart into the world.”
I had an amazing experience with this painting. I had done some oil painting of landscapes but wanted to get a more transparent look. When I switched to watercolor, I also tried a landscape technique on my first religious painting. Praying the rosary every day led me to trying the painting.
The technique is after a Michigan landscape artist Nita Engle who wrote the book, “How to make a watercolor paint itself”. I used three colors: quinacridone gold, cobalt blue, and a warm red. After sketching Mary and the angel outline, I centered the gold, surrounded with deep blue and added warm red. Using spray bottle of water while holding the canvas vertical and rotating it pushed the gold light into the blue where the two opposing minerals crashed and reacted to each other.
Mary’s face came out so delicately appropriate and shadowed from the angel’s light. I am an amateur painter (my day job is a civil engineer) and not very good at faces. That moment of grace when the painting appeared so beautifully was my “yes” and my promise to paint the remaining 19 mysteries.
Don’t just glance at this painting but study it, prayerfully and allow God to bless you through this image.
You can contact John Meng-Frecker and find his art on theses links.
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