Tag Archives: Retablos

The Conveyor of the Moon

The moon, a rabbit, a bottle of tequila and a simple Mayan figure of a woman convey to us many of  the legends of Mexico as well as one theory about her naming.  Eight years ago I created a retablo that conveyed this message, both visually and in a story that resides in a chamber within the box the retablo sits upon.  I sold that retablo years ago, but luckily I have this photo and these words that describe it. In case you missed it last time, here it is again: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/07/11/the-rabbits-navel/

 

The prompt today was conveyor.

Paying Homage

Paying Homage


A “retable” or “retablo” was originally a frame or shelf enclosing decorated panels or revered objects above and behind an altar. It has since come to also designate the painting or other image it encloses. In Mexico, it is common for families to have smaller versions of the larger pieces seen in churches in their homes. At the time I moved here in 2001, I could buy the undecorated, unpainted ornamental metal frames for retablos in a local artisan market and I started making retablos myself that paid homage to saints, Mexican legendary figures, artists, family members and friends.  Over the years, my subjects have grown, as have the retablos.  Here are a few of the hundreds I’ve created over the past 16 years.  Recently, as the metal frames get harder to find, I have started using simpler boxes which I have constructed for me.

 

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Jugetes (Toys)

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“We’ll Always Have Paris”

IMG_5362Santa Cecilia (Patron Saint of Poets and Musicians)

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Self Portrait

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Hidden Kiss 


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Sunrise Madonna


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The Circus

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Sunday Afternoon Sala


DSCF9529Ganesha


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Creativity

 

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judy8Homage to Picasso

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Rainy Season

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Macho

 Our Lady of Notions

The prompt today was homage.

“We Were Framed!” One Word Photo Challenge: Frame

(Please click on first photo to enlarge all.)

 

 

 

 

https://jennifernicholewells.com/2014/01/28/one-word-photo-challenge/

Hide and Go Seek: Thursday Doors, Nov 24, 2016

With men everywhere in the house tiling, it was inevitable that the doors would have to come down. I found my bedroom door “hanging out” in the living room, complete with all its retablos and wall collages. One oversight on my part. I later “saved” all of the art pieces just as they were ready to cut the bottom of the door off with them still intact. Not your usual Thursday Door, I’ll submit!

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This group of efficient young men descended upon my house just as all of the tile layers were getting ready to go home and made short work of removing what doors hadn’t already been removed and cutting the bottoms off 13 doors to accommodate the higher porcelain tiles. And two of the doors were metal! Amazing.

https://miscellaneousmusingsofamiddleagedmind.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/thursday-doors-november-24-2016/

Circus

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This is a piece I did a few years ago entitled “The Circus.”  It deals with that part of us that wants to run away and join the circus.  The porcelain doll has my mother’s face superimposed on it.  Over my mother’s face, I put several layers of Frida Kahlo’s face, peeled off in varying degrees.  Over Frida’s face is a miniature antique paste mask that can be pulled aside or allowed to fall into place.  In her hands are a tiny pair of silver scissors and around her waist is a tiny bag woven of morning glory vines.  She rises out of a toy chest decorated with Loteria cards.  On the chair to her left is a small clown figure with wings.  He is painting a portrait of Frida. Many discarded portraits of her lie crumpled and discarded on the floor. They are all the same. Below him are circus animals and a juggler who have spilled from the pages of a tiny journal that has a story written inside about creativity, sides of the brain, intuition vs. reason and imitation vs. unique inspiration. The overall piece is about the importance of coming from a unique place in ourselves rather than depending upon judgement and imitation. For me, the purpose of art is that experience of going into new realms of ourselves—to allow ourselves to do what most of us couldn’t do when we were young—to run away to join the circus!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/circus/

More Retablos, Closer Up

More Retablos, Closer Up

These are not the most accomplished photos, but I am so happy at having retrieved them from the bowels of the  “Photos” labyrinth, that I’m posting them.  They are a few of the more formal “Retablo” series that I’ll be displaying  January 31 from 10-3 in addition to the “Found Art” collages I posted yesterday. Since the Art Walk is tomorrow and I’ll be busy (I hope), right now I’m going to go for a walk of my own on the beach and for a swim!  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Pushing and Shoving: Favorite Quotation

Pushing and Shoving

“If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

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I’m trying to set up for the art walk this weekend, but it is tricky when you are away from home without the usual display materials. I did a photo shoot this morning, but all of the photos mysteriously disappeared after I edited them. Hmmm. This is a quick shot of a display of retablos set up in the bedroom. I need to avail myself of all available surfaces!

I envy people who can throw things together with great flair, but I’m not one of them.  I need to experiment, nudge things around, walk away and come back and have another look, leave the room and walk back in to surprise myself and see if I really like it, seeing it as a stranger of sorts.

When my friend Patty had me come help her arrange things in her new house after her old house blew away in a tornado, she said, “I’m going to have to leave the room while you finish. It drives me crazy watching you fuss!” Ha!!!  I always think of this every time I am pushing things this way and that.

I blame this on my mother.  From the time I was little, we would wait until my dad went to bed and then rearrange the living room furniture.  We’d sit with our backs against big heavy pieces like the piano and push with our legs and backs against the heavy beast to budge it without risking popping a muscle or tendon.  Then we’d sit and survey our work, move one thing or another.  I think my mom in this way made me a collage artist before I even knew the meaning of the word.  It was performance art where we could actually walk around in the assemblage and tug it around.

When I work in the art studio, I usually work on 12 to 20 pieces at a time.  I arrange them, then come back the next day and take out one thing, add another.  Pieces can take a week to come out right or a year–or, after a year I sometimes take them all apart and start over.  I don’t know why a piece finally feels right.  I just know when it does.

Yes, when it comes to art, decorating or setting a table–I think “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

The same goes for cooking!  If it doesn’t taste right, I just start adding things until it tastes right.  I like lots of flavor in a dish.  Subtle just doesn’t do it for me in either decorating or cooking.

The Prompt:  Do you have a favorite quote?  Tell us what significance it has for you.

Passing Time

IMG_1162Detra de las Puertas Cerradas (Behind Closed Doors) One’s own living room can become entirely too comfortable. Shutting the drawers to the past may open the doors to the future. (retablo by Judy Dykstra-Brown)

Passing Time

The means of our escape from life are numerous and various,
and there is nothing wrong with getting thrills that are vicarious.
Movies, sports and novels are fine for entertainment;
but if you’re only viewing, there is no sense of attainment.

Looking back on your own life, like opening a book,
isn’t really living life, but just having a look
at the life of someone who you no longer are.
You aren’t really living life by viewing from afar.

Escape is necessary and our choices for it vast,
but there’s no satisfaction in living in the past.
Life is to be spent, not to be hoarded and rethought.
Better just to live the rest of the time that you’ve got!

Fond memories are something that I’m sure none of us lack,
but there’s no time of life to which I’m yearning to go back.
The only thing to do with time’s to live it and to love it.
I have no wish to turn back time, I only want more of it!

The Prompt: If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/if-i-could-turn-back-time/

What Vestige Left?

                                                              What Vestige Left?

I think what any of my ancestors would find most surprising if they were to come back is that there is so little of them left.  My paternal grandma would look for her quilts, her embroidery and her China cabinet full of glass and porcelain and would find none of them in my house.  I spent too many years traveling, so my older sister Betty Jo and my cousin Betty Jane wound up with all of grandma’s things. The one good quilt is over Betty Jo’s bed in the managed care facility where she now lives, but she knows nothing of it or of us or of her own children, being the prisoner of Alzheimer’s that she is.

My cousin Betty Jane passed on years ago, so the China cabinet full of Grandma’s dishes is in Idaho in the house of  her second husband. What Grandma would find of herself in my house is:
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one blue bowl filled with jade plant cuttings by my kitchen sink,

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an old pottery canning jar above my kitchen cabinets––

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and remnants of her tatting, a small square cut from a pillowslip she embroidered and part of a quilt square that I used in a retablo entitled “Our Lady of Notions.” (The view above is looking down on the top of the retablo–details not shown because of the shooting angle in the view of the entire retablo below.)

judy 2Amazing that so little remains of her in my house when she had a house stuffed full of things.  Now that I am the one with the house stuffed full, I wonder what of me will remain after fifty years.  Perhaps just this blog or my books or my artwork.  Maybe that is why I am so compulsive about writing and doing art–that need to be remembered.

The Prompt: Modern Families––If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/modern-families/