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  • Gaby

Surrounded by Art

While we are here at this website to celebrate on Peter's art, in August we wanted to briefly highlight that Peter's life has been surrounded by art, not just in training, but in his family and friends. August is the birthday month of 3 family members including Peter's wife, who is also an artist in her own right. Peter even met Tina through art - Tina's mother was a member of the same art society as Peter - The Society of Catholic Artists, and I believe at the time he was president! These days they are both members of the society which continues to do great work, supporting and highlighting Catholic art and artists in the UK.

Tina is predominantly a portrait artist in pastels, but also draws from nature in oil pastels and pencils and occasionally has made a small mosaic. Some time back with an open call for submissions for art for an SCA exhibition, Tina decided to create a large scale mosaic. The work took rather longer than she expected and was not exhibited till rather later than the original inspiration. She started with a mosaic of the Virgin Mary, and later went on to create one of St Joseph.

The mosaic of Empress Theodora at the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy - the image shows a woman with an elaborate jewelled crown and jewelled shoulder decoration, flanked by a man on the left and a woman on the right. The central woman holds a jewelled large cup or bowl, the background is gold and the three figures are dressed in whites and browns

The style of both mosaics was inspired by the famous Ravenna mosaics, of which Tina is extremely fond, although she says her later large mosaic of St Joseph was more closely inspired by the style.

As Tina's mosaics were bought in a bundle of mixed colours, when she wanted to have the golden background for the Virgin Mary, a design feature that is very typical of Ravenna, she finally decided to paint over some of the mosaics in gold paint to create the effect. Buying so many gold mosaics would have been too expensive.

The Virgin Mary mosaic design shows "La Virgen de los desamparados" - which can be translated from Spanish as The Virgin (Mary) of the forsaken or dispossessed.

This particular aspect of Mary is the patron of Valencia and you can see images of her all around the city and region. In particular, one of the major times you can see an image of her is during Fallas - the March festival of St Joseph. A giant frame of wood is created with some sculpted elements to create a huge statue of the Virgin. Women and men take part in the Ofrenda - where flowers are offered to the Virgin, and are combined together to form the clothes of the statue.

Valencia is the home city of part of Tina's mother's family, and some relatives still live there.

In Tina's composition, she wanted to model the two children sheltering under the cloak after real children, as she wanted to get the proportions right.

As a result, the children are modelled after her younger daughter and her daughter's best friend of the time.

The whole mosaic is made of glass mosaics glued in place, tightly pieced together on wooden board - like a giant jigsaw puzzle and was created flat on a table.

At present is most often on display in her home, but has been exhibited at various times with the SCA.

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