by Annette Pozzuolo-Alessi
“The Annunciation” is one of the most painted religious icons in the history of the Catholic church. “The Annunciation” portrays the biblical story in which the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and said to her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace with God. Behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and you shall bear a son, and you shall call his name: JESUS” (Luke 1:30-32).
“Sometime around 2011, I was inspired to paint my own rendition of “The Annunciation”. At this time, I had not known the amount of times it had already been painted. The inspiration was sparked by a feeling I experienced during a yoga session during that year. I had a clear visual of the painting – a profound, heartfelt emotion directed at the heart of Mary, with a beam of light and a stone window, which made me feel like it was somewhat dated.
When doing portraiture type work, I prefer to work from a model. I needed just the right person to be able to portray this feeling that I had. Searching for about a year trying to figure out who would be the perfect model for this most spiritual expression of love, I found no one. In prayer, I asked God to find someone whom I could use to portray this perfect emotion. Putting the vision aside, I forgot about it for a few years.
When my boys were younger, we made sure that during Christmas and Easter we would always take a picture of our family in front of the church’s altar. There was another family who did the same thing, and we would swap cameras to get the entire family in the shot. One day in the summer of 2014, I saw the family and noticed how big their children got. It amazed me how time changes people. As the family returned from receiving the Eucharist, I watched them return to their pews and noticed their one daughter and how reverent she was, and how she was folding her hands. All of a sudden, in an instant, I heard the words, “She’s the one”! I had chills running up and down my spine! I couldn’t believe it. She was the one to use for the Annunciation painting. She was perfect! The unexpectedness of the situation amazed me. The model for the Annunciation painting that I had completely forgotten about, God had sent her to me Himself!
Two months later, I was able to approach the family after church to discuss with them my painting and the instant inspiration I was given in church earlier that summer. Being in church alone that day, I looked over and saw the family. I heard the words, “Now is the time”. I approached the family after mass. As I was explaining to the mother my idea and wishes to use her daughter to model for me, the young girls face lit up! After agreeing to the idea, I finally realized that I did not even know their names after all these years! When I asked what their daughter’s name was, they replied, “Natalie”. To my astonishment, her name in Italian means “The Nativity” or “The Birth of Christ”! She also happened to be 12 years old, around the age that Mary was when she was asked to be the Mother of God.
The model’s sister, Emily, mentioned that I should add a white dove in the painting. Even though that was not in my original vision, I took her advice. I felt that it would complete the piece, since the white dove represents the Holy Spirit.
There have been many more mysteries that occurred during the creation of this painting regarding the clothing, the location, and the October 13th date of the photo shoot for use of reference. October 13th was a significant date during this painting creation, as well as a very significant date in the history of Our Lady of Fatima and the Catholic church. This was the date when the Divine Mother Mary appeared to three Shepard children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. Mary appeared to the children on the 13th of each month from May to October 1917, giving the children messages for the world.
All these mysteries I strongly believe were a divine intervention in the creation of this painting. I also believe that there is a strong message that will be given to mankind through this painting. Whatever the message may be, I can only hope it will be received well.”
– Annette Pozzuolo-Alessi © September 2015
To learn more about the Divine Mother Mary through Our Lady of Fatima, read about it on this website:
We started today with an underpainting that is with blocked in color beginning with the lemon yellow. Top left is a mix of cobalt, purple and raw umber.
We next started to blend and mix on canvas the red mixture over the yellow and blue to achieve the orangy color and somewhat purple/blue. The re mixture is cad red with white.
Here we completed the rest of the sky while adding in any other colors we felt looked appropriate especially in the bottom left corner.
Begin adding in small yellow clouds on the right hand side. As long as you have a coral color and the value is correct, the yellow will pop well against it.
Here’s what it looks like when you add in the suns rays. It matches the medium coral like color then leaving yellow to show through for the “corona” of the small clouds. Use the same color to add in the small clouds. Be sure to leave the yellow around the edges of the clouds to form the corona or outline.
Here is the photo close up showing the small clouds at the sunset.
Add in the land line with purple and raw umber and cobalt blue.
Here’s a close up to show how I added a rose and yellow mix at the tip of the landline to simulate the “glow” of the trees along the sunset.
This shows the land line with more variation of lights and darks throughout. Keep the values close together, all on the darkest side of the value scale. Colors to use are purple, raw umber, cobalt, in some areas rose, and in some areas you can add just a touch of white to the dark mix to dull an area for another value. Just play with this section.
Today, we worked on the water. Add on the left a mixture of cerriliun blue plus either lemon yellow or lime green and white. This will make the turquoise. Then lay in on the right side a mixture of cobalt blue, very little purple, very little raw umber and very little white. Use a medium wide short angled sable brush.
Next we blended the 2 colors together in the middle. We also added white to the turquoise mixture in the middle to show the light reflecting from the sun onto the water.
Here we started to add the red reflection onto the water. We used cadmium red and white mixture and blended onto the blue so that it “mixed on the canvas”. I also went back into the middle with the white and turquoise to integrate into the red color. I added some darker turquoise in some areas of the water to start to see some dimension. And the strokes are thin left to right to simulate soft water surface ripples.
In the center of the water, take the turquoise mix and add more white to the mixture and add it here so that the water appears to have reflection from the sun.
This photo shows another value of the turquoise added to the left of the center point to graduate the light to dark form middle to left. We also added a little thicker cad red and white in the areas where the red part of the sky reflects on the water to the right for more vibrancy.
Now to add the trees. Start with sketching them in for placement and composition like you see on the smaller tree on the right. Then add thicker areas of paint in the heavy trunk and areas of the leaves that are clustered with dark. Use raw umber and cobalt blue. You can also add some purple to that mix. Then begin adding the palm leaves with a dagger brush for the finer lines. Keep the paint consistency “juicy” to allow for best effect.
Here is a close up of a palm leaf. There is a highlight color used which will give the tree and leaves dimension. Use the same turquoise used for the water over the dark color and it will blend and become a deeper value, yet create a highlight on the leaves and tree.
Continue adding in leaves onto next tree.
Now add in the highlights here and there onto the leaves and anywhere necessary. Remember to add leaves coming forward to give dimension o the tree. Use the turquoise color – white, cerulean blue and very little yellow mix.
This is the complete piece although I may take out the 2 leaves on the right. Let me know your thoughts! Thanks!
4 27/17. Begin by working from the back petal to front. Do one petal at a time. Start by covering the whole petal with lemon yellow. Make sure to use a filbert brush to create your edges of the petal so it cleanly overlaps the background. Then use a bristle brush with cadmium red and stroke the brush from top to bottom over the petal. You will see the colors blend and turn into the orange. Let the brushes bristles create the ridges in the petal and follow the movement of the petal.
I found the painting Serenity in a little boutique roughly 2 years ago while strolling the streets of West Chester. It was a chilly January day and I had just left a baby shower and had some time to stroll alone. The baby shower provided a much needed break in my daily routine and allowed me to talk with other adult women. Women who understood the demands of motherhood and women who defined balance and wisdom. Continue reading
Karl J Kuerner III is a well-known artist, a driving force in American Realism, who was mentored by Andrew Wyeth and studied with Caroline Wyeth. He is widely regarded as one of the three major living Brandywine Valley artists. He and his father Karl Kuerner Jr. own the Ring Farm on Ring Road off of Route 1 in Chadds Ford, PA. Andrew Wyeth quoted in Karl’s book, All in a Day’s Work, “My sister, Carolyn, and I always emphasized that an artist must paint what he loves; and Karl has done just that.”- Andrew Wyeth. Karl Kuerner’s site.
This painting is a piece that I painted in 1985 of the “Sacred Heart”! You ask, what it the Sacred Heart? Have you ever loved someone so much that you would do Anything for them? Anything? Well, that’s just what the image represents, Pure Love, to the point of death. It symbolizes the pierced heart of Jesus in sadness for our separation from Him. Continue reading