Monday, 27 February 2017

Lourdes sketchbook

Roofs & Windows, Lourdes
© Teresa Newham

This year I took my sketchbook to Lourdes more in hope than expectation.  Our itinerary, as ever, was packed; and art is not the priority, after all.  But Our Lady smiled on me;  on our last morning I found myself with a whole free hour before Mass - and the morning was mild and dry!

R. Gave looking towards the Domain, Lourdes
© Teresa Newham

The area around the Grotto was packed with pilgrims waiting for the next prayers, visiting the Grotto and the baths.  I made my way over a bridge to the far side of the River Gave, which is far more peaceful; some folk here were sitting in contemplation while others were on their way to light candles.  It was an ideal place to sketch quietly and take discreet photographs.

the Basilica and the Grotto, Lourdes
© Teresa Newham

Making my way back over the river I headed for the Domain, where pilgrims were scattered about chatting in groups or looking at the information board.  I was able to sketch people in turn while they stood reading it; for all that they look like a group in the drawing below, they came along at different times . . .

pilgrims near the notice board
© Teresa Newham

When I got home, I scanned and printed the black and white sketches and coloured up the printouts with Zig pens to see if colour would improve them.  To tell you the truth I'm still not sure!  What do you think?

Man on bench, Lourdes
© Teresa Newham

Monday, 13 February 2017

Mosaics and Mysteries

the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
© Teresa Newham
The second week in February once again found a group from our parish in  Lourdes to celebrate the feast day of Our Lady. The Basilica of the Rosary, with its wonderful mosaic frontage, looked spectacular in the clear, cold, dry weather.

facade of the Basilica of the Rosary
© Teresa Newham
The mosaics on the front of the Basilica were added in 2007 to depict the recently-instituted Mysteries of Light, and glow with a life of their own; the mosaic work can be seen clearly in this section below:

mosaic of The Transfiguration
© Teresa Newham

Inside, fifteen chapels contain mosaics of the original Mysteries of the Rosary - the five Joyful Mysteries, the five Sorrowful Mysteries and the five Glorious Mysteries. Each chapel contains an altar as well as the mosaic, and provides a wonderful opportunity for contemplation and prayer.

chapels showing the mosaics of the Glorious Mysteries
© Teresa Newham
 The mosaics, designed by various European artists at the beginning of the 20th century and restored about ten years ago, are simply stunning.   The Annunciation, shown below, is one of my favourites:

the first Joyful Mystery - the Annunciation
© Teresa Newham

On either side of the Basilica are two enormous "arms" of arches, which seem to embrace the Domain beyond.   On the evening of the feast day, the pathways along the top of these arches were filled with people watching the torchlight procession - several thousand strong - as it made its way round the Domain, with candles held aloft everywhere as we prayed and sang:

the torchlight procession in front of the Basilica
© Teresa Newham

Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!