The Feast of the Annunciation was moved to April 8 this year, since March 25 fell during Holy week. The Annunciation celebrates the moment when the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the Savior. This series of Annunciation master studies I have shared over the last months is about waiting, and the expectation of new life. At times this “new life” has been a metaphor for new beginnings, forgiveness, spiritual renewal, but in 2012 the time of waiting was literal, as I waited, in pregnancy, for my baby girl to be born.
Miriam Rose Paine was born October 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm and the so this particular moment of waiting has come to fulfillment in a new life which has entered our lives. The name we chose – Miriam Rose – is actually intimately related to these paintings, as Miriam is the Hebrew name for Mary, and the Rose has been a symbol of the Virgin Mary throughout the centuries.
Historically, Mary, born without sin in the Immaculate Conception, has been seen as “the rose without thorns”. A line from a Medieval hymn reads: “Mary the rose tree, Christ the Rose blood-red”. Full text for the hymn can be found in a previous blog post. This hymn was the inspiration for a whole series of paintings reflecting on Mary and the Annunciation in 2009 (http://www.michellepaine.com/portfolio/figurativepaintings).
I began this series of transcriptions with the intention of meditating on other Annunciations. In this way I was able to somehow move my own, contemporary images forward, even in a moment of “stuckness”. During the course of my pregnancy I began to collect reference photos and mental images. These are beginning to coalesce into paintings when I manage to get in to the studio. For now I am nurturing this new life quite literally, and so the images are simmering in the back of my brain, though the paintings are in beginning stages…