López’s spirituality and religious devotion are immediately apparent in the santos he creates. His bultos (sculptures) and retablos (paintings on wood) have the delicate features and contemplative expressions of the colonial santos that convey a sense of serenity and holiness. In the López home these images are adorned with recuerdos (momentos), and surrounded by votive candles that reflect parents’ concerns for their teen-aged children. Here again López searches for unusual but historically accurate contexts for his artwork, placing the images of saints on beds, cupboards, and writing desks. He creates his own pigments, developed from years of careful research and made from local plants and minerals: almagre is a local clay that provides a red pigment; blues are often derived from the indigo plant, grown in Mexico and the U.S.; black walnut hulls release a brown dye; greens can be derived from various local minerals; and yellow can be found in the chamisa plant or in yellow ochre.

© Ramón José López

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