Daddy's Christmas Angel

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Tale of Two Angel Paintings - The Tapestry for Peace

Eve Mackintosh with Tapestry for Peace project ©MMSikes
"Angel of the Marshland" is one of my favorite angel paintings of all time, and I've been painting angels forever. This painting and my Tapestry for Peace project painting were both inspired by Eve Mackintosh, a lovely lady with whom I had a meeting in Denver, Colorado only a few months before her untimely death in 2005.

I don't remember exactly how Eve and I connected, but I know it was through the National League of American Pen Women. During a trip my husband and I had planned to the Colorado mountains, Eve and I arranged to meet in the lobby of a hotel located in a Denver suburb . When I first saw her, I felt as if we had always known each other. She was vivacious, energetic, and filled with joy about the Tapestry for Peace project she had instigated and that was being sponsored by the Denver Branch NLAPW.

The first panel that Eve Mackintosh showed me in our Denver meeting.
That day, Eve told me about a vision she had in 1997 while driving along Florida I-10. She saw a gigantic angel in front of her, reaching high with the planet earth in one hand and holding another planet close to her heart. Overcome with wonder, she pulled to the side of the road where she heard the words, "There's a place in space for peace."

Eve was uncertain what to do, but she knew in her heart she must do something. She remembered the bloody war scenes depicted by the Grand Bayeux Tapestry of the 1066 Norman Conquest of England. In contrast, she wanted to create a giant peace tapestry that would inspire children to look to the future without thoughts of battle but with dreams of peace. She contacted Masters of Linen in New York City who donated 120 yards of fine linen for the project. When she became an active member of the Denver Branch NLAPW, she shared her story and idea for the tapestry and thus found the help she needed to bring the Tapestry for Peace to fruition.

When Eve described her vision, I knew immediately I wanted to be a part of her project. Using a piece of her linen and Robert Doak intense watercolors, I created "Angel of the Earth and Skies" as a contribution from Virginia Pen Women for the project.
 
"Angel of the Earth and Skies" ©MMSikes

The angel image is the dominant feature of the art work. Beneath the angel, five oak leaves, representing the earth, float. Three stars,depicting faith, hope, and love, shine in the sky.  Above the angel’s head, two doves fly with a banner of peace. The angel holds three golden and silver ties in her hands. These are the ties that could bind the hearts of people all over the world in an atmosphere of love. 

Before I sent my tapestry panel off to Denver to be part of the Tapestry for Peace project, I displayed it at Petersburg Regional Arts Center. It is on view in the photograph against the old staircase in the main gallery at PRAC. (That staircase is restored and is now a focal point in the Grand Gallery at the Ward Center for Contemporary Art.)

When the angel left me for its long journey, I missed her and decided to create another angel painting with acrylics on a large canvas. Thus, "Angel of the Marshland" was born.
"Angel of the Marshland" ©Mary Montague Sikes
This week, as I began to recall the stories and events that led to these angel paintings, I forgot about the ceramic angel that "posed" for both pieces of art. During a Tuesday night thunderstorm, I was emphatically reminded. That angel is one of three now sitting on a dresser in our bedroom. Every time, thunder sounded and lightning flashed, that angel sounded a little rumbling noise and lit up with light. The other two angels, although they are the ones with batteries and small light bulbs inside them, did not. The ceramic angel spoke to me as she had once before inside a Pennsylvania store where I knew I must purchase her. 

My panel "Angel of the Earth and Skies" is part of the 264-foot long "Tapestry for Peace". "Angel of the Marshland" is on view now at Dara LeBlanc Haynes' Mathews Country Galleria. The ceramic angel stands ready to pose for yet another painting. The new painting will probably be "Angel of the Trees" because I look out into our woods and wonder where angels might hide.

Our nation and our world is in dire need for peace. Perhaps the Tapestry for Peace will one day come out of storage and travel the world inspiring the children. That is what Eve Mackintosh planned all those years ago.

5 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti - what a wonderful concept Eve Mackintosh had - and how sad she has left us. Love your ideas for your Angels ... and I too hope the concept of a Tapestry for Peace could travel the world and inspire children and the rest of us adults to lead by being peace givers ...

I love your Angel with her earths - the planet (our world) reaching for the heavens with the other being held close to her heart ...

We are in dire need for Peace ... we can all work our own peaceful magic as we each live our lives out ...

Wonderful creative work ... cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What a vision she had. I hope it does come out of storage. After all that work, it's a shame to not display it.

Birgit said...

I love your works and I love Angels. The first one does seem like a dream and a wonderful homage to your friend. The last 2 shows how different the same angel can appear in. I love the colours of the 2nd one and the last one seems to evoke Van Gogh to me. Wonderful works. glad you shared them here for us to see.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Oh dear. The panel with the two earths is not mine. That is the one Eve showed me during our meeting. It was in the process of being created by the Denver Pen Women. Thank you, Hilary, Diane, and Birgit for making me realize I had not explained that well enough. The Denver artist created Eve's vision, and the photo I took is of the beginning of the only panel Eve Mackintosh ever got to see.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Your marsh angel is cool. Great idea for a project.