Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

The Virgin of Granada

A lovely church dedicated to the Virgin of Granada dominates the town square of Guillena. It was built at the beginning of the 1400’s  in the Mudejar style, which blends Islamic and Christian design elements. I was attracted to the tile imagery set into the white wall of the church.  The virgin portrayed is known as “Our lady of Sorrows“. The late afternoon sun warmed my back as I sat drawing her, wondering of her significance to the town. She holds the crown of thorns and a piece of cloth in her hands, as a halo of thorns circles her head. Tears appear on her face as she walks away from the scene of the crucifixion in her royal purple robes. Although this is a sad scene, the portrait somehow touched me deeply.

Why did the people of this small Spanish town choose her to be their patron saint? What are their deeply held beliefs? She seemed to be saying to me that no matter how terrible things seem, you must still walk on with dignity. We are capable of bearing the unimaginable. Things have to get better from here on out.  She reminded me of the deeper and more significant meaning of things that happen to us,     setting us on our personal Pilgrimages through life.   She seemed to be looking to the  light on the wall to her left, and traveling toward it. Symbolically, it cast a lovely multi-colored shadow. Do we walk to the light or to the darkness, or do we always encounter both on our journey?

This drawing was rendered in Faber Castel colored pencil and highlighted with a Micron ink pen. I used a Bee Paper Company Professional Series, 93 Lb.  Heavyweight drawing paper, 9 X 9 inches. It stood up well to the pressure applied by the color pencils, and had a nice tooth (texture) for layering the color.   This is the first drawing that I have done in colored pencil. I liked the waxy textures achieved by the layering of colors, and the variety that can be achieved with only a few basic colors.


Trail Markings: Finding your Way

The trails on all branches of the Camino are well-marked by volunteers with either a yellow arrow or by a scallop shell, which is the symbol of the Way. Scallops are plentiful on the coast of Galicia near Santiago de Compostela, and are associated with a miracle tied to St. James. Interestingly enough, the scallop shell is also linked to the pagan Goddess Venus who represents rebirth and regeneration. Both of these meanings are certainly relevant, as it is a place of great spiritual renewal and well as a pathway of every day miracles.

You really cannot get lost on the Camino. Some of the markings are a bit more obscure (Notice that Tannis is standing directly on top of the yellow arrow), while others are more obvious. However, there is always a sign if you look hard enough. Just in case you do get lost, there are always fellow Pilgrims and friendly local people who will help you find your way.

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