Brazilian Artist Shares Her Journey

Our fifth guest blogger in our Sacred ArtyFacts Series is Ana Maria Silva who shares her deep faith, her artistic and personal journey,  and great appreciation for her new country Canada.

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.

Archangel Gabriel

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

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