This Saturday April 29th we celebrate the 16th anniversary of “Blessed Charlie’s” Beatification by His Holiness St. John Paul II.
One more miracle will qualify him for Sainthood.
In 2001 I was deeply honored and humbled to be commissioned by the archbishop of San Juan, Monsignor Roberto González Nieves, to paint the official portrait of Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, to be given as a gift from Puerto Rico to the Pontifical North American College in Vatican City where it is exhibited in the Hall of Saints.
I was subsequently interviewed by EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network)
At the core of Blessed Carlos’ spirituality (Pope John Paul II said) was his faith in the Resurrection. He promoted the Easter Vigil as the defining moment of Christian spiritual life, repeating often, “We live for that Night.” (Vivimos para esa Noche)
Next to Sacred Art, portrait painting is for me a deep spiritual experience, a prayerful endeavor.
In and through the physical characteristics of the person being painted is a map guiding me through and beyond emotions to near where the soul of the person lives. Here I coax the soul out, so-to-speak, with whispers and fleeting glimpses through compassion, intuition and something mystical. This hopefully endows the finished image with a FEELING of who the person being painted IS.
I always speak in the present tense of portraits because they have a soul and the soul always lives and is present. AVH
“Manuel Diaz and Family” pastel portrait by A.Vonn Hartung 2014