Thursday, May 31, 2012

A gift for Father Evan


Knowing many years ago that my brother's ordination to the priesthood would one day come, I often thought that creating a painting for him would be a special gift. To that end, I transitioned from drawing to painting over the last year with the creation of a painting for Fr. Evan being one of the chief motivations (in addition to creating a painting as a gift my sister and her new husband). For Evan I selected an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that I found online and set about creating an original painting of the image, with some purposeful modifications to improve it in some areas.

This would be my first painting in color, with all the travails of learning how to mix color on the fly (one is supposed to transition much more slowly to painting in color in the classical tradition, but this was a baptism by fire and necessity). The great thing was, despite painting this image in color, the process of creating this painting took less time than the one I did for my sister and brother-in-law; I am learning as I go and everything is getting much more comfortable and proceeding more quickly.

This painting is a gift from both myself and Molly, who again generously donated the time to get the painting done and has always been extremely supporting of my learning to draw and paint in the classical tradition (no matter how crazy that sounded at first). I titled the painting Ego Sum, which is Latin for "I am" or "I am he," a reference to  Christ's response when Judas and the soldiers said they sought "Jesus of Nazareth" in the Garden of Olives before his passion and death on the cross (Jn 18:1-8), and also a reference to the name of God. 

Click any image to enlarge.

Ego Sum
by Brendan Koop
Oil on canvas
16 x 20"
Closer view of the overall painting
Close-up of the eyes
Closer view of Christ's left hand, pointing to his Sacred Heart.
Closer view of Christ's right hand in blessing.
Here's a different view of the painting in different light, where you can see the paint on the canvas.
I hope that the painting will prove to be a great aid in prayer for Fr. Evan for all of his priesthood.

A truly blessed weekend...


By the grace of God, my youngest brother, Evan, was ordained to the holy priesthood by Archbishop John Nienstedt this past Saturday (May 26th) at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, MN! It was a truly blessed weekend and an almost incomprehensible grace for our family, and indeed for the whole Church. For the sake of documenting this wonderful event on our blog I wanted to make sure and post some pictures. A few of these are pictures I took, and a lot of them were taken by my sister who has a much better camera :-) Click any picture to enlarge.

Deacon Evan in prayer before the ordination mass.
Molly and me and the kids (minus Francis, who at 22 months wasn't going to make it through a 2 1/2 hour mass), seated with the rest of our family.
Evan processing in with the other men to be ordained priests.
Archbishop John Nienstedt
In prayer during the Litany of the Saints.

The laying on of hands
Our oldest, Clara (Evan's Goddaughter), was one of three to bring up the gifts.
Fr. Evan concelebrating his first mass
After the mass, Fr. Evan gives his priestly blessing to our parents.
We receive our Fr. Evan's blessing
An extended family picture
Later at the reception, Molly and I get a picture with Fr. Evan and our family. (We have another blessing on the way as well! Due at the end of August -- prayers always appreciated).
Fr. Evan's vestments, designed by my Dad with input from Evan and made by a very talented lady who makes priestly vestments in Coon Rapids, MN.
Fr. Evan's chalice
The next day is Fr. Evan's first mass of thanksgiving at the parish where we grew up, St. Rita's in Cottage Grove, MN. The Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus, a wonderful order of sisters from New Ulm, MN arrive for the mass to support Fr. Evan in prayer and with sung sacred music during the mass.
The consecration
Fr. Evan blesses our grandparents, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary the same week.
On Memorial Day we attended daily mass celebrated by Fr. Evan in the chapel of the Companions of Christ house near the St. Paul Seminary. Fr. Evan offered the mass for our Henry Blaise.
Fr. Evan was assigned by Archbishop Nienstedt to St. Stephen's parish in Anoka, MN, which is not far from where we live on the North side of the Twin Cities. We are very excited to attend mass on occasion at St. Stephen's when Fr. Evan is presiding, and have Evan over to our house for lots of visits!

Monday, March 19, 2012

My first painting


I recently completed my first painting, a gift for my sister and her new husband as a wedding present from both Molly and I. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to start the painting until after their wedding (which was in November of last year), and so this is a rather belated wedding present. Better late than never!

I've been slowing teaching myself classical methods of drawing for quite a while now, always with the intent of painting at some point. Original artwork is expensive, and I've always wanted to have a house filled with beautiful art and so I figured I'd have to do it myself. After all that time drawing (see some previous projects here) I was finally ready to take a crack at painting, and the fact it was a gift was great motivation to get it completed.

In 19th century French art schools, after a long time of learning to draw, the first painting was done strictly in black and white in order to allow the opportunity to adjust to the new medium of oil paint and restrict mixing of color only to gradations of gray. Subsequent paintings would start introducing colors, which is yet another complex skill to master over time. Given all that, my first painting was limited to black and white, and I used the sight-size method as I did in my previous charcoal drawing of a statue of Mary.

I purchased a statue off of Craig's List for a very good price in order to use it as the center piece of the painting. The statue I purchased happened to be a reproduction bust of Apollo, which is the head of a famous and much larger full-body statue, Apollo Belvedere, from ancient Greece. Typically a white statue is used so that shadows are easier to denote, and a statue is a good way of painting from life without worrying about the subject moving :-)

Here are some photos of the painting process from sart to finish. Unfortunately, the best camera I have right now is the camera on my phone, so the pictures don't allow a great comparison between the set-up and the painting (the camera can't adjust to the light on the statue). Oh well, you'll get the idea.

(Click any pic to enlarge)

The very ad hoc set-up in our storage room.

The viewpoint for comparison between set-up and painting.

The beginning of the charcoal under-drawing. Initial gridlines placed based on major landmarks.

The block-in.

The outline.

The completed charcoal under -drawing, showing the major shapes and shadow areas.

Closer view of the under-drawing.

My first-ever brushstrokes, the beginning of the under-painting, which is meant to map out the large gradations (or "values") with thinned-out paint.

The completed under-painting.

Closer view of the under-painting.

The beginning of the final painting. You can see the much more opaque paint in the  shadow of the statue.

The background and cloth below the statue is completed.

Finished with the most tedious part, the hair.

Closer view of the hair.

Completion of the face and the sash.

The completed painting.

Closer view of the completed painting.


The framed painting.

Bust of Apollo Belvedere
Oil on canvas

My sister and new brother-in-law with the gift, a relief to finally have it in their hands (meaning it miraculously escaped damage by our crowd of rollicking children :-)  This was a special gift from Molly as well, she donated a lot of our time together so that I could get this done in the evenings.