Back in September, I was given a wonderful commission - To create sixteen banners illustrating the story of Christmas to hang in the sanctuary of one of the most beautiful churches in uptown New Orleans, St. Charles Presbyterian Church. I began sketching and photographing inspirational elements of this beautiful building and finally began painting in earnest by the end of September. The paintings shown below are two-sided 8 foot banners - the painting faces the congregation and the illumination side (featuring the title of an appropriately titled Carol) toward the pulpit. The banners were hung in the sanctuary by Thanksgiving weekend! I've included captions to share the meaning and inspiration behind each banner.
The Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary was inspired by the colors of the sanctuary: deep blues, russets and golds, along with the luminous stained glass windows teaming with understated elegance and beauty.....
|The stained-glass window in the sanctuary’s narthex is found in this illumination. The window is lined with acanthus leaves, found frequently in the borders of ornamented initial letters of Medieval illuminated manuscripts. The sacred geometry of the window’s patterns speak to the eternal cycle of life. The inspiration for this scene was taken from a Raphael drawing of an angel I saw in the New York's Morgan Library.|
|The color and shapes of the leaded glass window at the State Street side entrance of the church became a perfect frame for the journey of Mary and Joseph. The textures provided contrasts: for the earth tones & the isolation of their journey.|
|Another State Street side entrance window is the background for this illumination. The patterns and symmetry of the shapes represent the Holy Trinity and eternal life.|
|The background texture of this illumination is inspired by the shimmering limestone of the sanctuary. The vesicas piscis of the painting’s frame symbolizes the sacred life that is being born in Bethlehem.|