Ana Maria stands before her icon of St. Joseph and Jesus at the 2016 Epiphany Sacred Arts Guild Exhibition
I began my journey as an artist under the tutelage of my aunt Wega Nery, world renowned artist, as I completed my first landscape oil painting at ten years of age. In 1970 I started the Publicity Sketching Course in the Pan-American Art School in Sao Paulo, Brazil. At that time I co-founded 'Studio Infantil de Artes" (Art Projects and Craft Activities For Kids).
Ana Maria working on her icon of Our Lady of Tenderness during the Tri-Cities News U-Tube Filming Session in 2017 at the Esplanade Studios in Port Moody
I continued my studies and in 1974 graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Sao Paulo. For two years I worked as an art teacher in the Instituto Sao Jose School in the city of
Sao Jose dos Campos. During that time, I was hired to illustrate a book, but upon completion of the project I was not acknowledged as the artist. Through this experience I learned that a career as an artist could be challenging and thus pursued more education and became a lawyer in Brazil.
While I practiced law, I never gave up my interest in art and continued to develop art as a cherished hobby.
As a devout Catholic, and despite my career as a lawyer, I always manage to find time for prayer. In 1990 I was invited to join Prayer and Life Workshops, whose founder, Father Ignacio Larranaga, developed a daily program for people to get closer to God through prayer.
In my path as an artist, I experimented with various materials and techniques such as pottery and China painting, watercolours, and oil and acrylic painting. I also began to make rosaries and to teach people how to pray with them. This connected my deep appreciation for art with my dedication to prayer. Additionally, I began religious statue restoration which brought joy to me and the owners.
Baby Jesus Restored by Ana Maria
In 2002, I met D. Jose Carlos Velasco OBS Cam, a Camaldolense Monk, and I spent a week in a monastery in the city of Mogi das Cruzes in Sao Paulo in order to write my first icon, Jesus Pantocrator. All the icons that I have written were done for one specific intention. For the first icon I was praying to Jesus as I was considering immigrating to Canada, which eventually took place in 2003. I immigrated as a Catholic Missionary to apply Prayer and Life Workshops with the approval and blessing of Most Reverend Adam Exner, O.M.I., Archbishop of Vancouver. I was recommended by Frei Ignacio Larranaga, my local bishop Dom Nelson Westrupp and also by the CNBB (Confederation of Brazilian Bishops).
Our Lady of Fatima
Upon arriving in Canada, I facilitated several Prayer and Life Workshops at St. Stephen's Church, Holy Trinity Church, both in North Vancouver, and Our Lady of Fatima Church in Vancouver. At that time I met local artist Patricia Ballard who introduced me to the Epiphany Sacred Arts Guild and I later met and was taught by Guild artists Frank Turner and Steve Knight as well as with Ana Diaz-Drew, a master gilder from the Academy of Applied Art and Artistic Professions (Madrid). Currently,
I continue with my icon studies and recently took a class in Celtic Knot Drawing and Calligraphy with
Guild artist John Suter, a master in Calligraphy.
Ana Maria working on the icon of Our Lady of Aparecida (Our Lady of Apparitions)
I am very honored to be part of the Epiphany Sacred Arts Guild and have served as Secretary on the Executive since 2011. For our upcoming 15th Anniversary Exhibition (in October 2018) I am working on the image of Our Lady of Aparecida, patroness of Brazil, a work in egg tempera, with gold leaf on gessoed board. The original statue is housed in the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil where I was baptized.
Through my journey as an artist I have become certain that through faith we shall not only approach Our Father, Abba, ourselves but also inspire others to do so.
Ana Maria in her home studio