My Creative Journey: Part 6 Retablos
A retablo is a devotional painting of Saints, religious personages, or votive offerings, typically painted with homemade, natural pigments and piñon sap varnish; on small sheets of tin-coated iron or wood and used as an object of veneration in the home to mediate and communicate between the family individuals and God.
Saints are seen as heavenly intercessors, each one with its own personalized power, and to whom one can specifically petition their cause. Fondly referred to as a "Santos" each home has their own personal collection to protect them. Mine contains hundreds of saints and is shown in the front page of this article.
In New Mexico, where I lived for 13 years and where I became familiar with retablo painting, it is a tradition often passed down in families from parent to child and mostly self taught. I first became enthralled with these often magnificently rendered drawings during Hispanic Market in 1990 where I watched small children and their parents painting their favorite saints onto wood. Over the years I met many very famous santeros, commissioned many retablos as gifts for friends and collected over one hundred of my own personal favorites.
This Saint Pasqual who is the patron saint for great cooks and kitchens is one of those, was painted by Tom Lapsley and hangs in my kitchen at the Cape. No doubt he watches over every meal made to be sure it is deliciously healthy and prepared with love.
If you find the idea of a collection fascinating you may wish to consider Saint Frances who takes care of animals, Saint Anthony who helps find lost things, Saint Jude the miracle worker and Saint Christopher the almighty protector.