On this week's Beyond the Gallery is santera Catherine Robles Shaw. She is a watercolorist from Nederland, Colorado, and she paints saints. For Catherine, art has to have meaning and she is inspired by her family.
As a Santera (Saint Maker), I hope to preserve some of the unique traditions of my Hispanic culture. Retablos are the story tellers of my ancestors. They are the natural extension of the beauty and simplicity of our Spanish lives. My husband, Michael and I aspire to represent our work with as much historic accuracy as possible.
My first exposure to this art form came when, as a child, I visited the churches in the San Luis Valley. My family had been among the first settlers in the Conejos land grant and lived in Mogote and Las Mesitas, Colorado. After visiting old churches in Chimayo and northern New Mexico, as an adult, I came to realize the meaning of the little retablos that had been in our family. In 1991, I began making retablos for my family and friends. Then in 1995, when I was admitted into the Spanish Market, I became a full time artist.
I have taken workshops from Santero, Charlie Carillo in 1995, I have carved Bultos with my cousin Rubel Jaramillo, and also learned some new techniques from Gustavo Victor Goler, from Talpa, New Mexico in 1999.
I participated in a workshop through the Smithsonian Institute in Santa Fe, NM in 2001. I have done artist demonstrations at the Santa Fe Spanish Market in 1998-2005 and at Chili Harvest Festival , Fort Lewis Collage in Durango, CO and at the Sangre De Christo Arts Center. Demonstrations are usually a part of every art show I attend. Recently I teach about retablos at the Denver Public Schools and at El Museo De Las Americas, as well as private lessons.