The Lady with Roses
Folk Art Collection - Part 3
Our Lady of Guadalupe
“Am I not here, who is your Mother?”
-Mary to Saint Juan Diego
I’m excited to share this next painting with you! I will give a brief summary of the story behind it, share my own meaningful connection with the art, and end with a reminder that you don’t want to miss.
The Miracle of the Roses
According to tradition, in 1531 Mary appeared to a native Mexican man named Juan Diego. During that time in history, the people of Mexico were experiencing much suffering & oppression as their culture and identity were being attacked by the Spanish colonists.
Mary appeared to Juan as a young indigenous pregnant woman, wearing native Mexican clothing and speaking the native language. She requested that a church be built on that site, and so Juan went to the archbishop in Mexico City to make this request. The Archbishop didn't believe that Mary had appeared to him and asked for a sign, to confirm that this was truly a miraculous encounter.
A big thank you to all my patrons - you help me to support my family through my art. If you appreciate my work, please consider becoming a free or paid patron.
A couple days later, she appeared to Juan again and instructed him to pick flowers from the top of a nearby Hill. This was an unusual request as the area was usually barren - especially in December. He went anyway, and discovered beautiful roses blooming there.
He brought the flowers to the archbishop and when he opened his cloak, the roses fell to the floor revealing another miracle: the image of Our Lady was miraculously imprinted on his tilma. This image remains there, even until today. And the site of this apparition is one of the most visited places in the world.
How she mothered me
In order to paint this image, I read various commentaries about the story. It was the theme of hope that most captured me.
In choosing to appear as an indigenous woman, speaking the language and wearing their clothes, Mary identified herself with the oppressed and vulnerable native Mexican people. In doing this, she revealed their dignity. She came to them as a mother. She drew close to them, pregnant with God himself - hope literally alive in her womb. Her presence assured them that they were loved and seen by God. She would be with them in that dark place.
In the image that I painted, I used a dark blue night sky to represent the sorrow and oppression that the indigenous people lived in. I contrasted that with Mary who is lit up in the center of the piece (with unborn Christ lit even brighter), a symbol of light and hope. The darkness in the painting is overwhelmed not just by Our Lady, but also by bright blue skies, pink roses, and vibrant colors pointing to the reality that hope will forever be more powerful than our pain - but pain and hope can, and often do, coexist.
During the months that I began painting Our Lady of Guadalupe, I was experiencing a lot of sorrow. My sense of identity and belonging in my community felt uprooted, and I was surprised by the way her presence brought tangible comfort to my heart. Her words, once spoken to Juan Diego, were gentle and compassionately directed to me, “Am I not here who is your mother?”
Let her speak these words to your heart too.
Gift of Gold
In my last email I shared the special limited edition print I am offering this year for the Christmas season (pictured below).
I will have this available through November (so you can use it to decorate during the Advent or/and Christmas seasons.) Today is the last day to claim my special gift to my newsletter patrons. I will add the gold ink to your print(s) for no extra charge. Just include “Gift of Gold” to the “personalization” section of the order (or shoot me a message). I will send one more reminder about this tonight.
I’ve already been fulfilling your orders for these, and let me tell you, these prints are stunning!
Our Lady of Guadalupe is also available in this set of Christmas cards! These cards are made of thick card-stock and look amazing framed.
Have a lovely Tuesday!