My art and writing provide a unique, reverent and cheerful way to surround oneself with Catholicism and to engage those who think Jesus is stuffy.
Blessed Pope Paul VI
Born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, it was probably exciting to be made Pope based entirely on name signing time savings alone, nevermind getting to steward Jesus’s church.
After being told there were not any shorter names, he decided on Paul and became Pope Paul VI.
His reign began in 1963, picking up Vatican II where Pope John XXIII left off. The council ended during his papacy leaving him with the very difficult task of starting its implementation.
As if that weren’t controversy enough for one Pope, the birth control pill came out during his papacy. And thank God for the timing because Pope Paul VI had what it took to bravely swim against the torrential river of conventional wisdom (including many higher-ups in the church) and decided when it came to the question of contraception, the Catholic Church says, “Nay.”
He wrote all about it in an encyclical named Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life) in which he goes into all the reasoning and made many prescient statements of the aftermath of the use of the pill.
My husband and I were lucky enough to have a priest clue us in on this teaching. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen until after we’d been married for a decade! (That should let you know how well this encyclical was received even within the church!)
Thankfully we did learn about it and now have Pope Paul VI to thank for the back half of our family.
Pope Paul VI was also responsible for making Saint John Paul II and Pre-Saint Pope Benedict XVI Cardinals. So, kind of an awesome dude all around.
He died in 1978 and will be canonized this year which is the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. Read it to see what all the buzz is about! It’s not too long.
Pope Paul VI pray for us.
To hang this picture in your encyclical reading area, click here.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
Saint Thomas Aquinas, the angelic doctor.
Born into a wealthy family, saint Thomas decided to join the Dominicans. For some reason, this bothered his high-faluten family (I would think if any order would be on the bottom rung for elitists, it’d be the Franciscans. Dominicans wear white and have to stay clean. I’d think that’d appeal to the upper crust). They kidnapped him and held him captive for a year. His brothers even hired a prostitute to try and tempt him from his calling, but the legend goes that he chased her away with a hot poker (not pictured).
Realizing he wasn’t going to change his mind, his mother set up an “escape” so that no one would think she was in any way down with his decision.
He eventually made his way to the University of Paris where he was nicknamed “Dumb Ox” by his classmates because he seldom spoke. His professor, however, saw his potential.
Saint Thomas would go on to teach and write many things including the Summa Theologiae, a quick, easy read on theology.
He started a university and then had a conversation with Jesus in which Jesus told saint Thomas he’d done a good job. After that, Saint Thomas stopped writing.
He would then get sick and die.
He’s the patron of students and Universities (except Georgetown!)(JK)(mostly).
His feast day is January 28.
To have the Angelic Doctor around your home to always remind you to listen to Pints with Aquinas, click here.
Saint Catherine of Sienna
St Catherine of Sienna is sainthood-X. She was in it to win it.
She was born during the plague epidemic and was child #25! Though many of her siblings didn’t survive to adulthood including her twin.
She cut her hair to keep some dude from wanting to marry her and then joined the lay Dominican order which meant she could live the life of a nun from home. (Making her the unofficial saint of failures to launch).
She had a mystical experience that involved an invisible ring and stigmata (though they became visible as long as you didn’t look at them) and from that point on, really started putting the eXtra in her sainthood.
She started working with the poor and sick in hospitals and at there homes (saintly) including drinking the bathwater of a leper (saintly-X) (and ew!)
She then started to travel about writing and preaching reform of the church (saintly)and even talked the pope into returning to Rome from Avignon when no one had been able to (saintly-X).
She died at 33 from illness and is a Doctor of the Church.
She’s the patron saint of fire prevention.
Her background color is Sienna, which is a pigment made from the clay in Sienna, Italy.
For a reminder to live your spiritual life a little more ‘X’, click here.
Saint Joseph, Terror of Demons
This is Saint Joseph with the child Jesus. I was doing a Saint Joseph litany a little while back and was intrigued that one of his titles is Terror of Demons. I decided it’s very fitting for a man with the depth of faith to marry a consecrated virgin. Then, when she winds up pregnant with God’s baby, he doesn’t divorce her quietly but, instead, listens to an angel in a dream and marries her andbegins the crazy roller coaster ride of life called “living according to God’s Will”.
I can’t imagine the faith it took to stay. I don’t think a lot of people would have stayed. But he did and that’s why he terrifies demons.
We should all strive to be like Saint Joseph.
If you’d like an image that terrifies demons in your home, or that at least makes them slightly uncomfortable, click here.
This is Saint Ambrose. There’s a legend that when he was a baby, a swarm of bees landed on his face and then left the baby uninjured, leaving behind only a drop of honey. His father said that he believed it was a sign that his son would grow up to be a great speaker (I’m sure he said this after changing his drawers because a swarm of bees had just landed on his son’s face!)
Saint Ambrose did grow up to become a wonderful speaker and was eventually made Bishop of Milan. He was such an amazing speaker, in fact, that he was the guy that finally brought Saint Augustine into the church forever rendering himself as no longer “one of the original doctors of the church” or “an amazing speaker” or “A defender of the church against Arianism” or “this guy was pretty incredible in his own right”. Instead, his name would always include the qualifier, “the guy that brought Saint Augustine into the church.” Seriously. Any time I’ve ever seen a passage of his work, a quote or anything in anyway talking about Saint Ambrose, it always has, “Saint Ambrose was instrumental in bringing Saint Augustine into the church.” Ha!
He is the patron saint of beekeepers (because of the bee story) and beggars (because he was known to be very generous towards them) and Milan (because that was his town).
To have a picture of the guy that brought Saint Augustine into the church, click here.
This is Flannery O’Connor. She was a Gothic, southern writer and a devout Catholic. She lived in Midgeville, GA on a farm with her mother and liked to raise exotic birds, most famously, peacocks.
She had Lupus, which kept her in pain and on crutches and she died at the age of 39.
Most people, when asked which of her stories is there favorite will say, A Good Man is Hard to Find. I’ve only read Wiseblood, which horrified me. Then I read the Sparks notes and it made it much better knowing all the hidden meaning. But I haven’t been brave enough to read her other stuff.
A friend sent me an article that got me reading about her a little bit and getting to know her inspired a painting.
So here she is in Black, to symbolize the Gothic. She holds a fountain pen and a mega phone. The pen illustrates her profession and the megaphone illustrates an answer she gave when she was asked why her writing was so unnerving. ‘In the land of the deaf, you have to shout.’
Everybody, myself included, paints her with peacocks. Who wouldn’t? They’re beautiful.
However, for her self portrait, she chose, instead, a pheasant, which just made me love her all the more. So I stuck one in there, peeking over her shoulder.
To have a little Southern Gothic in your house, click here.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe. She’s my favorite Mary appearance. The missionaries were not making any inroads with converting the Mexican people. Mary, always happy to help bring souls to her Son, appeared to a poor man in Mexico named Juan Diego. She asked him to ask the bishop to build a church. He was like, ‘I’ll ask, but the odds aren’t good they’ll do it. This is a pretty wild story.’
He asked the bishop and, as expected, did not immediately win him over to the, ‘the Mother of God wants you to build a church’ reasoning. The bishop asked Juan Diego for a sign.
‘I see,’ Mary said when Juan told her. She had him pick a bunch of out-of-season roses (it was winter) using his tilma (a cloak) to carry them back to the bishop.
Once in front of the bishop, he unfurled his tilma and let the roses cascade to the floor. To his surprise, the bishop and everyone in the room dropped to their knees. Juan Diego looked down and on his tilma was the painting we now know as Our Lady of Guadalupe.
And with that miracle, Boom, Mexico converted. About 9 million people in eight years! That’s crazy!
The image has all sorts of Aztec and Catholic imagery in it. A lovely marriage of the two cultures. And the tilma, made of rice fibers, should have disinegrated long ago, but has survived since 1531.
There’s actually all sorts of cool things about the image and I encourage you to look it up since I could go on all day about it!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.
To hang Mary’s selfie in your home, click here.
The Cave Nativity
This is a Nativity I painted to sell for Christmas but didn’t get it done until Christmas Eve. My new baby liked getting up during my painting time. Happily, after several long heart to hearts, he’s setteling into a schedule in which he’s starting to sleep later in the mornings and giving old mum her quiet time back.
If you’d like to get a jump on next year’s Christmas decorations, click here.
This is Saint Andrew, Saint Peter’s brother and one of Jesus’s apostles. He was the first called. And though he wasn’t renamed and had God’s church built on him, he didn’t let it come between he and Peter at the family Thanksgiving get together. In fact, he gave Peter a pink belly just to remind him he was still his big brother.
He was crucified on the “X” shaped cross called the Saltire, which I now know the name of because our youth group recently changed their name to Saltire .
He’s the patron saint of Scotland. Their flag will make a lot more sense to you now. You’re welcome.
If you’d like being called first in your house, click here.
This is saint Agnes. At 12, she was outed as a Christian. So, because the Roman authorities were horrible to women who hoped to remain virtuous for Christ, they sentenced her to be stripped nake-y and put on display in a well-trafficed location. The down side for any leering pervs, however, was that they were struck blind for looking at her. I guess enough dudes went blind that they decided to just end it and beheaded her.
To have a reminder of virtue in the house (especially near the computer!), click here.
John McClane from Die Hard. He’s part of my 80s action movie series. I had to adjust my usual style a little bit to get his bare feet in the painting, since they’re such a big part of that movie. Also, explosions aren’t easy to paint!
If you’d like a daily reminder of what one off duty cop can do to twelve terrorists, click here.
Mary Handing Down the Rosary
This is the first cover I painted for my book. My husband, wisely, thought it was too serious and that I should go with my original idea of parodying the birth of Adam (which I was nervous about trying because I’m no Michaelangelo.) I liked this one, though, and decided to finish it.
If you’d like a print of this rejected masterpiece gracing your walls, click here.
Mary on the Moon
Finally finished! I call this one Mary on the moon. It’s based on a Polish folk art of inlaid straw that I keep seeing here and there but that always gets bought out from under me. So I thought I’d try my hand at painting it.
And it’s the first painting in which I’ve used gold leafing.
There was actually a lot of meticulous work that went into this one.
Also, I wanted to paint it to sell. My husband, foreseeing my inevitable attachment to it, suggested I paint two. I took his advice.
If you, too, would like a little faux polish art gracing your home, click here.
I agonized over this one trying to get it just right.
Here’s GK Chesterton in a cape with his swordstick. (He was an awesome dresser! )
He’s writing in front of the stacks and stacks of his writings. (He was very prolific!)
He’s holding a lollipop to symbolize his soul’s youth. His approach to everything was so fresh, like a child being dazzled by God’s creation for the first time.
And that hair! My favorite hair-do of his!
The apostle of common sense!
No feast day, but hoping he’ll have one in my lifetime.
If you’d like this dapper gent hanging around your house, click here.
I painted this for the cover of my book on the mysteries of the rosary. It’s a humorous book, so I thought this was kind of a funny cover to go along with it. And it came out pretty. Much prettier than I could have imagined.
Click here if you’ve always wanted a parody of a masterpiece in your house.
Click here to see just what this book I’m talking about is.
Saint Mary Magdalene
This is Mary Magdalene, the apostle to the apostles. She’s pictured with a skull to signify dying to herself once she met the Christ. She’s holding a bottle of oil for the anointings that are traditionally attributed to her (but weren’t positively identified as all being the same Mary. But there was an explanation of the three anointings that made a lot of sense to me, so I’m going to go with it.). She’s usually pictured with a small cross to signify her roll in announcing the good news (that Jesus had risen). She’s sitting as I always picture her sitting at the feet of Christ in the scene when Martha gets all annoyed with her for sitting around on her tooshie while Martha’s running around doing all the work. I always imagine Mary in a blissful serenity listening to our Lord sitting at his feet. What a perfect place to be! (And I try not to be envious because I’m more of a Martha).
She’s surrounded in purple and white to signify penance and purity.
Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us! Feast Day July 22.
Click here to have the Magdalene sitting around your house while you’re stuck cleaning.
Saint Jude was one of the 12 apostles and became a very powerful intercessor so anxious was he to prove he wasn’t THAT Judas.
The flame represents his presence at Pentecost (which THAT Judas wasn’t present for).
The Medallion represents a legend in which Jesus imprinted His face into a cloth for Saint Jude to take to the King of Edessa (now in Turkey) who was suffering from a serious illness. Showing, yet again, that he was not THAT Judas.
He is the Patron of Desperate causes, desperate situations, lost causes and his feast day is on October 28.
If you’d like this powerful intercessor hanging around you house, click here.
This is saint Lucy. I was surprised to find out she was Sicilian since most images I’d seen of her were blonde! Very little is actually known about her except that she was killed under Diocletian (bad, bad man!) in about 304 AD. But there is plenty of legend surrounding her including that she was very difficult to kill, was made so heavy even oxen couldn’t pull her out of her cell when her captors tried to force her into a brothel (something the Romans liked to do to the Christian women that had consecrated their virginity), she’d bring supplies to the Christians hiding in the catacombs and tied candles to her head to keep both hands free (which my daughter informed me isn’t very safe), and she had her eyes gouged out and they were miraculously retuned to their sockets upon her death (which is why she is the patron saint of eye patients).
The Scandanavian countries are very enthusiastic about her feast day on December 13 (hence all the blonde images). She’s a bearer of light around a time when they’re stuck in the dark a lot (winter solstice).
If you’d like to hang up this little icon to brighten up your home for the coming winter short days, click here.
Saint Anthony of Padua
Saint Anthony is particularly well known for helping you find lost things based on a story about his book of psalms that were stolen. He had all sorts of notes in the book, making it very valuable to him. He asked God to help him find it. Not only did the thief inexplicably bring it back, but also reconciled and returned to the order.
Saint Anthony is often pictured with little kid Jesus because he used to have visions of him.
And with a Bible for his devotion to scripture.
He was also called the hammer of heretics because of his love for going to areas where heresies had grown strong and preaching against them.
He was such a good orator that in one town, he preached before a lake and the fish came out to listen.
His tongue has remained, incorrupt. Certainly one of the more unusual relics!
The background is a gel medium that I added and that my husband thought liked like stained glass. I love how that idea panned out! Guess I owe him one.
His feast day is June 13.
If you’d like Saint Anthony around the house, reminding you that he’ll help you find things, click here.
Or you can preemptively strike against lost keys by getting the Saint Anthony key holder here.
Saint Michael the Archangel
Finally done! (I think!). I’d been putting off painting saint Michael because of all the pressure! He’s my husband’s patron saint and probably the most painted or drawn saint in the history of the world! (Aside from Mary, of course). And some of those paintings and drawings are incredible! Plus, “bad a**” isn’t really what people think when they see my paintings, but that is what is expected of Saint Michael.
I thought I’d give it a go anyway. So here he is, fighting the devil, and winning. (And looking pretty snazzy doing it!) His feast day is on September 29.
If you’d like this dazzling display of good triumphing over evil to dazzle up your walls, click here.
Holy Family Reunion
I often think of what the reunion must have been like when Mary finally got to heaven. The Holy Family together again! She hadn’t seen Jesus in a couple years. She hadn’t seen Joseph in ages. I bet there were a lot of high pitch squeals and a bunch of hugging!
This is my confirmation saint. Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. I was in band and under the impression that I would graduate and play in a symphony even though I wasn’t even first chair in a high school band class. If only I’d known back then that I needed the patron saint of ‘community college and aimless living until I finally got my crap together and found my focus after having my first baby’.
Saint Cecilia had committed herself to Christ. However, her mother wanted grand babies so she arranged an earthly marriage for Cecilia. Cecilia heard heavenly music at her wedding and afterwards, was able to talk her husband into letting her remain chaste after getting him to convert as well. She was martyred in the third century by beheading. Her feast day is November 22.
Click here if you’d like her icon on wood.
Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Archbishop Fulton Sheen, not an official saint yet, but hopefully soon. He had a popular television show called “Life is Worth Living”, was a fantastic writer, speaker and was a great priest. Though very well- educated, he was a humble man and he was funny. He used a blackboard on his television show that he always wrote “JMJ” at the top of (a quick prayer to Jesus, Mary and Joseph). He had a devotion to Mary and spent an hour each day with the Eucharist.
His videos are on YouTube. I’d recommend them. He had a lot of dramatic flair. He’s pretty awesome!
I’d also recommend any of his books. I haven’t read them all, but I’ve read enough to know there can’t be a bad one in the batch.
And he’s on the path to sainthood. You can find out more about his cause here: Dear God, we all know he’s with you, but please let the church make it official. Amen.
This is a little 5X7 of Saint Christopher. I thought I’d start small post-baby and glad I did because one of my new baby’s favorite things is to wake up about five minutes into my painting time and then to immediately fall asleep as soon as the other kids get up.
Saint Christopher’s legend tells of a giant who wanted to serve the most powerful man, so he went to work for a king but then saw him cower before the devil. So he went to work for the devil, but saw him cower before a cross so he went to work for Christ, but when he found out what it entailed he decided working for Christ was a bit harder than he thought it’d be so he took a job carrying people across a water way. One day, a little kid wanted to cross and as Saint Christopher carried Him, the kid grew heavier and heavier, Saint Christopher barely making it to the other side. Relieved when the Christ child dismounted, he said, “holy cow kid, what is your mother feeding you?”. Little kid Jesus apologized for his heaviness. “I’m carrying around the weight of the world’s sin.”
After that, Saint Christopher decided he should rethink some things and ended up on the employment rolls for the Christ which was fitting since his name means “Christ Bearer”.
If you’d like the bearer of Christ gracing your walls, click here.