"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

My latest Matt Talbot painting.

Matt Talbot
T. Nelson 2016


I finished the Talbot painting - almost, I have some more glazing to do, shading - but the figure and composition is pretty much finished.  I hope to frame it importantly.  I did a quick 'fuzzy' shot of the canvas, as shown above.  It came off a bit too light.

I read that he was an 'undersized, wiry man,' and a laborer.  I read he wore his working clothes everywhere - so I imagined a jacket and collarless shirt, a bit worn - just as I always depict him.  The difference this time is that I have him balding more than in my other paintings.  There are a couple of early paintings, one by a religious sister, depicting him bald, and I wanted to do so as well.  My composition is spare - a few religious mementos and scraps of paper, upon which it is said Matt would make spiritual notes - a small statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and holy cards of Therese and Catherine of Siena comprise the 'still life' of minutia on the mantel.  Above these, a very small image of OL of Perpetual Help hanging by a string.  Matt stands in front of the tall, narrow tenement mantel, upon which these poor possessions are displayed.  Interrupted in his devotion, clutching a crucifix, he looks out at the viewer.

As I painted, I had in mind a young Irish man I had met at Lourdes years ago.  He wasn't very tall either - but a handsome man, and something about him reminded me of how Matt might have been at the time of his conversion.  I tried to imagine him in his 60's now, and made a sort of composite of images of Matt Talbot and my recollection of the man from Lourdes.  The face developed rather quickly.  The paint is quite thin - not as layered as I normally would paint - and suddenly this face appeared, which startled me.  I don't know how I did it, where it came from, or how it came together so swiftly.

Anyway.  Quirky as it is, this is my third attempt to paint venerable Matt Talbot.


17 comments:

  1. I don't know how I did it, where it came from, or how it came together so swiftly.

    Really? We do. :)

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  2. Beautifully done. He is really alive in this painting. He is speaking a word. Silently.

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  3. beautiful, Terry.....you have painted a soul.

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  4. I looked at his eyes and began to cry. It's like they can really see.

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  5. Thanks everyone. I have made a couple of changes - fairly minor ones. Posting an unfinished piece online helps me see the work with a different eye - somewhat similar to viewing it in a mirror - although the mirror is more revealing. I was up very late - but now I'm afraid to look at what I did. I still have some thin glazes to add and then a little bit of highlight and so on.

    I shouldn't have shown it at this stage, nothing is ever finished.

    There is a copper pan in my kitchen with a heavy patina and it is there I found the pose for Matt - there is a little image in the patina that resembles him, he looks out at me, and he appears to be standing in front of a cabinet. I've looked at it for a couple of years and finally decided to paint an image with that pose.

    I looked at it this morning, wondering if I should try again.

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    1. Thanks very much - I've done some retouch work and will try to post a new photo.

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  6. "I shouldn't have shown it at this stage, nothing is ever finished." Kind of like us here on earth....

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  7. You just keep getting better and better. The eyes are amazing, Terry.

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  8. You captured his humility. The Scripture that came to my mind is "He must increase and I must decrease."

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  9. He looks like he's in anguish. That's interesting.

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    1. Oh that's not good. I have more work to do. I appreciate your letting me know that.

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  10. Have you any link to who he was?

    Btw, as you are painting, you know the story of Sor Eusebia Palomino Yenes, I recall from the Spanish brochure a blind painter painted her picture and it came out correct. Can you confirm this miracle?

    It is not mentioned in the Vatican site about her beatification or supposed such.

    I'm convinced she is a saint, even if Wojtyla was not really the right guy to say so.

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    1. Hello Hans - you can read a good biography here:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Talbot

      I will check into Eusebia Palomino Yenes. Thanks.

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    2. Oh, he.

      I have basically heard of him, but as a type, not an individual, and I am pretty sure, not by name.

      Ireland is the land of saints and scholars - he was the kind of man they named for saints!

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    3. If I were Irish, I'd be the other type, since a scholar.

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