I paint saints because they embody the great desire to be one, united with the great source of life and love - our true purpose for being... BROTHER ARTURO OLIVAS, OFS
Arturo painted Catholic images after the style of New Mexican religious folk artists of the 18th and 19th centuries. These images are commonly known as retablos. Early Santeros, who painted Retablos, used wooden panels and water-soluble paints colored with natural pigments and sealed their paintings with pinesap varnish. Arturo painted his original Retablos using these same materials.
The iconography of the Retablos is based on a centuries old canon governing the depiction of Catholic saints. The Church relied heavily upon the standard use of symbols and motifs to help illiterate faithful in Europe and the
The Christmas Card
|St Martin de Porres|
New Mexican Retablos are distinctive in the bold use of simple lines and colors. The primitive materials dictated the style and training available to artists who were generally self-taught, a distinction Arturo shares with his forebears. The tradition of New Mexican Retablo painting reached its peak during the mid-nineteenth century. Arturo's work incorporates elements of his Spanish and Native American ancestry in order to preserve and teach the faith and customs of his forebears.
Arturo’s family originated in
"My family heritage strongly influences my work. In my youth my father danced the Matachines, an ancient folk dance introduced by the Spanish conquistadors, on the major feast days of the saints. My mother is descended in part from the Tarahumara people of northern
|OL of Guadalupe|
Arturo's faith, in his work and health and in his illness are an example to all of us and while he will be greatly missed, his life lives on through his art and his example.
|OLRs Sacred Heart of Jesus|