Welcome to Seven Roads Gallery Inc.

This is a companion blog to sevenroadsgallery.com , an online gallery of fine art, folk art and more. Here you'll find detailed information about the provenance, creation and/or description of artwork found at our gallery. Seven Roads Gallery Inc. was founded in 1988, incorporated in 1992 and is celebrating it's 22nd year in the retail business of art, crafts, rawhide drums, folk art, Native American Art, furniture, glass beads-from unique to bizarre and ALWAYS with a sense of humor. A quick link to the web page of Seven Roads Gallery appears at the bottom of this blog. You can always get more detailed information in the contact us tab of the web site. Thanks for your interest.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Folk Art Retablo

We're excited about a new piece, because it includes old materials with modern techniques to create an antique look and feeling painting. Retablo is a Hispanic word which simply translates to flat board.

Approximately ten years ago, we operated a trading post in Flagstaff, AZ called Wolf and Swan Company. It was the same company as Seven Roads Gallery but under Arizona laws of incorporation we were required to register as a foreign corporation with offices in Wisconsin. We gave it a name different from the parent corporation. In Arizona there are many Hispanic and Native American influences. We developed a close association with a well known Santero (man who depicts santos or saint) and an interest in Hispanic Catholic art forms. .

The two most popular forms Hispanic Catholic art depicting saints are bultos and retablos. The former are carved images in cottonwood root or similar material. The latter are painted images on boards.

The process of creating a retablo in the traditional method is time consuming. Our santero used a combination of old fashioned and modern methods and materials. He'd start with a pine log and create a number of pine shakes with a froe. Curious about his accuracy, I measured rough pine slabs he created and gifted me. They were all within an eighth of an inch from a standard 3/4ths inch thick board. The rough pine board was sanded until only minor surface imperfections remained. Then, he'd fill in the imperfections with a mixture of water soluble glue and Plaster of Paris. A santero in earlier times mined his own gypsum and mixed it with homemade rabbit hide glue. Sanding before sandpaper meant sandstone or a similar rough stone. After the basics, a santero working in the late 1800's would mix natural pigments from a variety of local sources. Our santero used small jars of acrylic water soluble paint.

From experience, artist Linda Miller has perfected techniques in painting images on wood. Her latest will be a series of folk art animals in retablo format. She also uses modern materials and time tested techniques to create her folk art. The next few articles will document the process. The picture shows the beginning of a painting on board retablo. Three weathered pine boards from a fence at least a half century old are attached to a wood backing. The boards have a wealth of character from years of outside wear in all seasons of Wisconsin weather. A simple frame surrounds the retablo and a thin coat of gesso is applied over the weathered boards. Then a thin coat of amber shellac is applied to bring out the rustic nature of the wood.

Check with us soon to follow the progress of these retablos.

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