"These jewel-like paintings intuitively fuse different aesthetic traditions, folk art and old master, with natural grace and an uncanny quality that may be a species of magic." —American Arts Quarterly
For these two latest paintings, I took inspiration from William Morris, the great textile designer, artist, craftsman and poet of the British Arts and Crafts Movement. Throughout his work he sought to marry art with nature. In “Strawberry Thief” Morris depicted the little bird thrushes that stole fruit from his garden at his home, Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire. In my painting, the figure is clothed in a jacket reminiscent of William Morris’ design only this time the thrushes are live companions or conspirators with their strawberry loot. For “Sweetbriar and Bluebirds” I gleaned from two William Morris wallpaper patterns “Trellis” and “Sweetbriar” where once again, where the sweetbriar roses and birds surround the figure of Flora heralding springtime.
The past is not dead, it is living in us, and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make.
~ William Morris
I am the handmaid of the earth, I broider fair her glorious gown, And deck her on her days of mirth With many a garland of renown.
And while Earth’s little ones are fain And play about the Mother’s hem, I scatter every gift I gain From sun and wind to gladden them.
I am very pleased to announce my participation in the Group Exhibition MILK at the Dorothy Circus Gallery in London on 27-29 January and then in Rome on 17-19 February. The “Mother and Child” theme is one that I have painted throughout the years having been much inspired by Renaissance Madonnas. The theme for me has evolved, oftentimes referencing the mythology of Venus and Cupid. Love is the connecting thread.
Happy Holidays to all! Thank you very much for your continued support and encouragement through the year. I wish everyone a New Year full of blessings. Venus and Cupid with Parakeets is a new work just delivered to Meyer Gallery in Santa Fe. I have lately been enamored by jonquil yellow color and eau de nil (a pale nile green). What better use of such evocative colors than to portray symbols of love.
The pair of Indian yellow ring-necked parakeets (the male has the rose band around its neck) are shown with a branch of the arbutus unedo or strawberry tree, which flowers and fruits simultaneously and is said to have been an emblem of Venus.
A new interview article Mad Enchantment―The Fantastical Folk of Fatima Ronquillo is on Period Portraits’ blog Consider. I talk about paintings I have loved and been inspired by as well as the motivation and fascination that portraits and printmaking hold for me. It was an honor and pleasure to be interviewed by Nick Cox, specialist dealer in period portraiture from the 17th to the 20th Century. His blog is full of interesting and educational articles for lovers of the genre. He can also be found on the delightful Instagram feed @periodportraits.
My painting “Together” was featured on The Financial Times in the “How To Spend It” column by Victoria Woodcock on November 23, 2021. Will you fall for a ‘lover’s eye’ jewel? illuminates the revival of interest in the lover’s eye jewelry. It is a fascinating read on the history of the jewels, their newfound popularity and how to buy the real thing. Elle Shushan, a Philadelphia dealer of lover’s eyes and editor of the new bookLover’s EYES: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection gives her expertise as well as background on the Skier Collection of the jewels.
It is also worth noting that Ronquillo’s artistic world―which includes lover’s eyes whose subjects are black―is more diverse than the history of almost exclusively white eye miniature sitters from which it stems. Although Ronquillo’s work evokes the lover’s eye tradition, her miniatures are emblems rather than true portraits.
~ Dr. Graham C. Boettcher
The surreal aspect of an isolated eye attracts me tremendously—the idea of physical dismemberment which is symbolic of a removal or estrangement of a loved one. For anyone who’s ever been in love or had a crush on someone, the photograph of the beloved is treasured. So these are portable remembrances before the camera so to speak. It also reminds me of the mexican ‘milagros’ – little charms of different body parts used to aid in praying for the healing of broken arms or hearts, or even eyes.Compositionally speaking, the framed ornamental eye gives context and a reason for a floating third or fourth eye in a painting. It’s a device of conceit: a portrait within a portrait. For me, it’s an iconic symbol about the figure represented not unlike the reliquaries of saints in old devotional images. The lover’s eye first appeared in my work in 2008 and it continues to be a subject full of mystery and delight.