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Ars Usu Iuvanda - Art Comes Through Effort

Tara Hanshaw Lewis painting painter in art studio female portrait rosemary brushes paint sketch oil bob ross funko pop pink flannel artist

Hello and thank you for stopping by! Welcome to my blog. This will by the home of all of my artistic activities. I hope you will join me on my creative journey.

I'm currently working on two series of paintings. The first is based in my deep love of female saints. I'm not a religious person by any means, but I've always been drawn to religious iconography. I grew up in northeast Ohio in the USA, in a town with many Italian Catholics. Mary was everywhere; statues stood in front gardens, saint prayer cards were freely given and received. My idea is to paint women I know, strong women whom I admire and love dearly, as saints on traditional, handmade panels but in a modern style.

I was lucky enough to learn how to make my own gesso panels using traditional methods with a priest artist, Father Reagan O'Callaghan. This has kept me very busy as the preparing of the glue and whiting and sanding of the panels is time consuming but absolutely rewarding.

This is a detail shot of my first icon of this series, Saint Agatha. Poor Agatha, only 14 years old, refused to marry and was beaten and dragged naked through the streets. Her hair grew suddenly to cover her body. She was set on fire but did not burn. She was, as many female saints, beheaded. Agatha was strong and fierce and she suffered for it. The #metoo movement reminded me of the stories of these young saints.

The other series is lighter and a lot of fun. My son, age 5, is helping me with it. We are having a conversation through still life. He makes the still life, sets it up using items he chooses, and then I paint them. He's got a great eye, a wicked sense of humour, and I am loving the time we spend together. It's playfun and deeply creative.

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