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Local artist paints church in natural landscape; raffle to fund commissioned sculpture

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Doylestown artist Denise Callanan-Kline, a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, is known for her landscapes of Bucks County, river scenes and the polo matches in Tinicum Park.
She has now completed a painting of the Buckingham church building in its natural surroundings, as part of an effort to fund another work of art that the church has commissioned. The commissioned work is a sculpture of the Madonna and Child by sculptor Joe DeVito, which honors Mary as a mother, and Callanan-Kline is donating her framed oil on panel painting to help raise its funding.
“Rather than create an architectural illustration, I chose to set the church in its Bucks County surroundings, which required a little tromping down the field across the road from the church to take some photos,” explained Callanan-Kline.
“When designing the painting, I was thinking of the Hudson River painters, whose goal was to represent sublime beauty in their landscapes. They would often paint a building as an integral part of the overall landscape. These artists sought to not merely to reach the intellect and emotions, but to touch the soul. When painting the sky I decided to use cerulean blue which is the color blue more closely associated with Our Lady of Guadalupe.”
The artist believes it is important to support the creation of true art in churches, work that encompasses original thought and dedicated craftsmanship. She has found motivation in St. John Paul the Great’s 1999 Letter to Artists, in which he describes the artist’s unique gift:
“Genuine artistic intuition goes beyond what the senses perceive and, reaching beneath reality’s surface, strives to interpret its hidden mystery. The intuition itself springs from the depths of the human soul, where the desire to give meaning to one’s own life is joined by the fleeting vision of beauty and of the mysterious unity of things ... true art has a close affinity with the world of faith, so that, even in situations where culture and the Church are far apart, art remains a kind of bridge to religious experience.”

The effort Callanan-Kline invests in the time-consuming traditional steps of designing, executing and varnishing her paintings attests to St. John Paul’s statement that true art comes at a cost, but the rewards last a lifetime and longer.
“In October of 2019 the Our Lady of Guadalupe Respect Life Ministry displayed 61 white wooden crosses on the church’s lawn, commemorating the millions of unborn lives lost to abortion. Within weeks, vandals uprooted and broke many of the crosses right on the church property in defiance of our culture of life,” the church said in a press release.
“This incident made it clear that our nation desperately needs our Blessed Mother’s presence; and it strengthened the Ministry’s commitment to installing the statue ‘Mary, Mother of the Life Within’ to the church’s Prayer Garden, not only to comfort those who have lost a child, but as an enduring and visible symbol of the Sanctity of Life.”
Callanan-Kline’s donated painting, “View of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church,” supports this cause, and will be on display in the church on Sunday mornings until Oct. 31, when a winning raffle ticket will be drawn. All proceeds from the raffle will benefit the Mary statue. To purchase raffle tickets, or to order a high quality giclée print of the painting, contact Denise Wilcox at 215-340-9737 or denisetwilcox1@aol.com.


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