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Art Inspiration: Retablos

  I am always on the look-out for new art to inspire me, and lately I've been exploring a treasure trove of antique art called 'retablos.'  And what are retablos, you ask? Well they are the best kind of folk art--- small paintings used for home altars to venerate saints. These pieces were made by regular people as an expression of devotion--- usually on pieces of wood, tin or copper.  They have their origins in Catholic Europe but really florished in Spanish Colonial areas like Mexico and the American South West.
   Being so far away from Europe and their classic artists while still having a strong Catholic faith, these everyday people used the elements they had around them--- planks of pine, pieces of tin and the elements of nature to create their paints--- and created some of the most stunning folk art I've ever seen.
   What I love about the genre of Spanish Colonial art-- which also includes Santos (carved statues of saints) and Ex Votos (small paintings created with text added to share thanks for a special blessing or even a miracle experienced by a person) is that they mean so much more than just the piece of art itself. The artwork isnt created in a vacuum, but were part of the culture on the whole. They say so much--- about the faith, the home lives, the day-to-day living of the people who created them. I love that so much....I love art that is earthy and useful. Folk art, not fine art...that has always been what captures my attention. The art of the every day artist, painting by the fireside. And these pieces are the epitome of that.
   I thought I'd share some images with you, all of them antiques featured on the website Colonialarts.com. Check out these stunning pieces of folk art:

  Needless to say, i've found all these pieces really inspiring, and I'd like to create some of my own. This year I'm going to be busy with some publishing projects, but I want to offer new original pieces that I can share with you all while I work on these other things that I will have to wait to share with you. I think art like these retablos-- small paintings that can be used in your home, for your family, would be such fun projects to take on. I can think of nothing better that creating a little piece you could add to your little home alter, or tuck on the mantle or the kitchen window seal. My imagination is just whirling, and I cant wait to share with you.....

Til next time!~

*The images used in this post are all antique pieces shown on the website colonialarts.com. Be sure to check out all the amazing art to be found there, simply gorgeous!

1 comment

  1. This is a new art form for me too. I do like the bright colors. It also reminds me of the art from the turn of the 20th century with their graphics and stylized approach.


Each and every comment is appreciated! Thanks for coming to visit me :) ~Heather