In the guest house of a luxury home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a special artistic piece that adds a touch of Old Spain to a beautiful, historic property.
“I thought it would be very interesting and appropriate to the age of the room,” Pamela said, “that the painting be done as an altar screen in the style reminiscent of the 17th century Spanish Colonial altar screens.” The room in the chapel, (now part of a 1,503 square foot, 2 bedroom guest house), is one of the oldest on the property and dates back several hundred years. According to the building foreman of the property in the 1990s, the chapel was used by an order of Franciscan monks.
Based on her interviews with the then-owner—a mother of two small children—Pamela proposed a design for the screen with three central panels around the Biblical story of Mary: The Annunciation, the Mother and Child, and the Holy Family. A departure from the traditional altar screens of the time, they decided to include goddesses and figures of the feminine in other cultures representing the mother: The Corn Mother of the indigenous tribes of North America; the Virgin of Guadalupe from Spanish and Mexican Roman Catholic tradition; Kwan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Compassion; and Isis, a goddess of Ancient Egypt. The artist also included elements of earth, air, and water. Candles, lit before the finished mural, would add the element of fire.
The walls were freshly plastered with the traditional straw glinting gold in the light. Bill Roth Plastering did the initial interior plastered walls. The base coat of the 12-foot by 5-foot mural was a latex paint, then continued in oils.
“I did a few loose studies for each panel,” said Pamela. “The Annunciation panel shows Atalaya Mountain in the background and is from a point of view on the property.” She referenced the owner’s children in the face of the child in the Mother and Child panel and the Holy Family, and had a friend pose for the archangel, Gabriel. In Mary’s panel, the iconic symbols of Mary are present, including the lilies, the moon under her feet, and the stars on her blue mantle.
The artist describes the other panels: “The Corn Mother shows a background of night and day and her child tucked next to her. The Virgin of Guadalupe is taken after the traditional known image of her. Kwan Yin is painted from a statue that I own and she holds a pomegranate branch and wears a headdress of the phoenix. Isis is the oldest goddess and she includes the moon at her feet, the waters of the Nile, and nurses her child.”
In addition to the mural, artist Pamela Platt also designed the bronze door screens which show apple trees and birds.
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To view more of Pamela Platt’s work, please visit PamelaPlattStudio.com.
To schedule a viewing of this compound on Canyon Road, please contact Marilyn Foss at (505) 231-2500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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