I was honored to be asked to paint several iconic images of Saint Matthias--the Apostle chosen to replace Judas--as part of that wonderful parish's 50th Jubilee Celebration. One was to be 4" x 12". The other? Life sized--30" x 84".
For me, painting an image of a saint requires research and prayer.
Not only did I research available information on Saint Matthias, but I also needed to know about the parish. With the help of Danny, the parish's Junior High Youth Minister, I learned that the Community of Saint Matthias--located in Somerset, NJ--is dynamic and active. (I was later to find that it is also much, much more!)
It seemed to me that Saint Matthias must also have been an active, charismatic and warm person, but how was I to portray that? A full day of sketching produced no satisfactory result. Only after a quiet period of prayer did an image of his face appear in my head. Unlike most of the historic portrayals of the saint (which show him a bent, grizzled old man) the face that floated up into my head was this one--a much younger visage!
Excited, I sent a package of many sketches, both black and white and color, to the parish for consideration. They liked them and were confident in their choices, so I was able to begin work on the small version in February of this year. The sketch to the right is only one of many color options sent.
Next blog: Saint Matthias Part 2; the giant panel arrives.
Thanks for reading!