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BellaOnline's Southwest USA Editor

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Inspirational Hispanic Art of Santera Lydia Garcia

Guest Author - Debra Conrad

On many trips to New Mexico, I spent hours browsing through galleries and art/craft exhibits. The chance to emerge myself into the artistic world that is Northern New Mexico was a pajama crafters dream.

What is a Pajama Crafter?
Someone who crafts anything into the night or gets up in the morning and starts working on a project... in their 'jammies. We all do it... you know you do. Sometimes we may even have a home based craft business, and it just takes toooo much time to get dressed. If you are one of these... then you are a Pajama Crafter my friend.

I came across Lydia Garcia and her inspirational work many years ago. I purchased one piece... she didn't have many to choose from in the small room available to show her work. It was early in her career of actually marketing her work... so I got my first work by Lydia Garcia for the small price of $45, which is unheard of in more recent time. The piece is shown below - Three Angels. It is created out of recycled tin as many of her pieces are.

Several years later... I pulled out all the stops and purchased three more pieces done on scrap lumber. The images she creates are truly part of her Hispanic culture and well worth every penny.

As a side story: I was browsing through a consignment shop in San Diego several years ago... and stumble upon a Lydia Garcia original. I was stunned, as her work is very hard to get your hands on, especially outside of Taos, New Mexico. And the kicker was: It was only $35... which is a steal. Most of her work sells for well over the $300 mark. I was so lucky with this find... Five Angels.

Lydia Garcia is a life-long Taos, New Mexico resident and her art reflects the remote Northern New Mexico rural atmosphere she lives in.

Lydia Garcia AngelSteeped in the Hispanic traditions of art, culture and religion, Lydia's art reflects the passion and depth of her cultural heritage. Her work is about the Catholic tradition influenced by the early priests traveling into this nearly untouched Northern regions of New Mexico.

One Angel - Prayer - I Come: I come to love, help you in everything.

Using a variety of materials this santera (an artisan who creates santos) finds acrylic craft paints particularly suited for the wonderful color combinations she needs to create her unusual art.

Lydia Garcia Five AngelsShe believes that life should include prayer, as well as humor and art. Garcia signs her finished art pieces on the back and adds a short prayer.

Five Angels and St. Francis - Prayer -

Dear Lord, I'm "greatful" for your life giving promises. Amen

O God, I want to begin this day you have given to me in worship and dependence on your. Amen

Lydia Garcia Three Angels

Lydia continues to paint and sculpt in the same pueblo home where she worked alongside her father. With art reflecting her cultural heritage Lydia Garcia continues to create for herself and the spirit within.

Three Angels - Prayer -

God's Love: God Love is alway's with us, His Angels take care of us. We are never alone.

Because she is completely self-taught, she never learned what would be "wrong" in art. She is free to create without preconceived artistic restraints. She feels no barrier in her work. The viewer is given the opportunity to feel the emotions and know the history of this artist.

Lydia Garcia Four AngelsLydia Garcia is one of the foremost artists working in Hispanic art traditions today.

Four Angels - Prayer - Dreams

I dream of pink churches in "Hevan". Angels dancing. My Mama and my Daddy Praying. No fears, no Tears. Dreams. Mama and Daddy I will Look for you, till I find you.

San Pascual

San Pasquale - Prayer -

Blessed San "Pascual" help me. I want to make some red chile for my "husbun", today. Yes, we just married. Amen

Be happy when you cook.

What gives these works of art so much meaning to me, would have to be the personal prayers on the back. Each one is handwritten and signed by Lydia.

The Four Angels prayer was especially meaningful to me as I had just lost both of my parents.

Most visitors to my home have no idea how valuable this art is to me. You see... no one knows that the prayers are on the back and I have always kept this a secret to myself. They seem too personal to share, as then I would have to share my feelings as well. Some things are better left unsaid... don't you agree?

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Content copyright © 2014 by Debra Conrad. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debra Conrad. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Karm Holladay for details.

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