Tuesday, December 24, 2013


I've often dwelt on the problem of Beauty in the Arts. Is Beauty, as the popular saying goes, 'In the eye of the beholder?' Yes and No. Sounds contradictory doesn't it? It is not about 'me', it is about 'it' for 'it' does exist outside of me, but I must be of the right moral space to recognize it - otherwise less than beauty will appear to be so. And this lower plane of beauty can be confused with the true Beauty.

Here is a great Lecture on this subject. It is by Professor Alice Ramos and was given at the Catholic Artists Society conference. Here is the PDF text of her lecture:http://www.catholicartistssociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Professor-Alice-Ramos-lecture_Beauty-and-the-Real.pdf

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Feast of Christ the King

Though this feast day was last Sunday, I am putting this up just now.
I had painted the robe a brighter value, but because it is such a large surface it dominated the image. Instead, I painted a bright aureole behind the head of Christ to help draw the eye toward the face.

Friday, November 15, 2013

New work - The Christian

The lives of the Christian martyrs during the reign of Diocletian are something to read. What fortitude! What Faith! Men, Women, Children; it made no difference to the Emperor. If they were didn't offer sacrifice to the false Roman gods, they were tortured and killed in the most dreadful ways.
This painting is inspired by that time. Here we have a Christian who awaits death.  I purposely made it neither male nor female. They hold in their hands a crude cross fashioned from some sticks to meditate on the death of the Son of God by crucifixion. But in a few hours or maybe minutes they will slip from this land of time and men and pass through the veil to the land of eternal blessedness.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

She Breeched off the Bow

"I was not but ten leagues offshore when of a sudden I saw her leap from the sea just off the

An Illustration in progress.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Night Dancer Fairy

When the world sleeps the night dancers come out. These fairies  have an affinity for bodies of standing water; mostly ponds and lakes. I am planning on doing a series of Fairy images to sell as prints.
All artwork © 2013 J. R. Howley

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Jehenne la Pucelle

Always moved by the life, virtue and steadfastness of St. Joan of Arc, here is another work I am doing at the present. The palette is monochrome. It is interesting to see how subtle one can get in changes of value and still be able to read the figure. Jehenne ' la Pucelle '( Joan, the Maiden ) is what she was known as during her lifetime.  A Maiden was understood as an unmarried Virgin.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Happy feast day of St. Theresa of Liseaux, the 24 year old Doctor of the Church

Imagine! a young girl who died of Tuberculosis at age 24 and known by maybe 12 people at the time, has turned the Christian world upside down. She was canonized a Saint AND a Doctor of the Church.
She wrote down her humble thoughts of 'Her Little Way' in the last years of her earthly life at request of her Mother Superior. Those writings tore through the church, and secular society, like wildfire bringing 'a shower of roses' to the world. Hence she is called the 'Little Flower'. Her book THE STORY OF A SOUL is a masterpiece.

Happy feast day 'Little Flower'.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Wacky drawings from the Commercial days of my past...

I ran across these old drawings of an idea for a Cuckoo bird story.

I miss working on the simple and 'silly' side of animation. As beautiful as CG can be, you can't beat the 'romance of the imagination' when it comes to 2D.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fond Memories of The Franciscan Hermitage 'Le Celle' (the cells).

Le Celle, in Cortona Italy. An ancient Franciscan Hermitage. St. Francis stayed here - at that time it was just an opening among some massive stones where he would sleep. The structure was built later. In the 1970's I spent four weeks here among the ten or so friars who occupied it. More pictures of the hermitage HERE.

One of those blessed Friars who lived here was Fra Luigi ( Brother Luigi). He was truly from the old stock of the Franciscan school of poverty and simplicity. His hair was white and long and his beard white as snow and as full as Old Saint Nick's. He worked constantly outdoors taking care of the garden, gathering firewood from the lush hillside, etc. He did this summer and winter. I saw him once carrying a huge ball of straw on a pitchfork, so big that only his legs could be seen moving along.  He had a wacky sense of humor and was always praying. Here are some pictures of him. He died in (2002)
and is buried on the grounds there.

AS I WRITE THIS one of the other friars, Fra Giovanni (cook, winemaker, quester)
is in very poor health and has been moved to the Franciscan infirmary in Florence. He spent 55 years in the Hermitage.
Here is beloved Fra Giovanni:

Just a few years back we made a visit to Le Celle when we were in Italy. I met Fra Giovanni again. It was 35 years later.  Here is a picture of that visit:

Here is what I looked like in 1973 at Le Celle. I'm the one on the right. Fr. Vasco is on the left:

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

A little shrine

This morning, being my last day of vacation, I put up a little shrine to Our Lady which I had built
on my time away from work. I hope it holds up in the winds we can get here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This Night in Bethlehem - a work for Choir and Orchestra

I am posting this audio file of a work for choir and orchestra I composed.  I hope to find someone, somewhere willing to perform it in a Christmas program. I have the score available for anyone interested. It is titled THIS NIGHT IN BETHLEHEM. The words are:

This night in Bethlehem
A Savior's born in Bethlehem
No more
God has come to us

Show me your little child
Madonna please your little child
Show me
The way
How to follow Him.

Check this out on Chirbit

Friday, April 12, 2013

Oak American Longbow

Here is some pictures of the Oak Amercan Longbow I just finished. The upper two pictures are the finished bow, the bottom one is me trying it out in the tillering process  - The bow is canted slightly and I am not in full draw perhaps a little nervous about the whole thing exploding on me at any second! It seems that the bow has ended up in the 50 # range at 29" (my draw length). It is made from a standard 1 x 2 milled Oak board from Home Depot. Handle and tips are Walnut. I did a cut in shelf on this bow hoping for more acuracy. My first bow was made from Maple and had a wrapped handle with no arrow shelf.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Brothers Of The TAU

This painting I am working on is of a Religious Orders of Brothers that use the Greek letter 'Tau'
on their habits.

Note: St. Francis of Assisi marked his very first habit, a peasant's cloak, with
a 'T' in the front with a piece of chalk. He was always fond of the Greek 'Tau'
because of its visual association with the Cross of Christ. In the only handwriting of his
preserved, a blessing he wrote to his dear friend Bro. Leo,  one can see that he signed it with a 'T'.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Been making a Bow....

Since I got into archery (target shooting -no hunting) I got curious about building a bow. So I bought a piece of maple at the lumberyard and shaped it to plans I saw on the internet. Here it is on the tillering stick ( a stick with groves ever so many inches) where you check the 'tiller' ( the bend) or the arms. They should be equal on both sides, which can be a real process of scraping, and sanding just a little here and there and checking constantly. The handle and tip overlays are made of walnut.

Here is the finished bow handle wrapped with leather. I  painted a few simple lines around it for decoration. I chose to make it with no arrow shelf cut into it - I cut a piece of brown leather and glued it  just above the handle.

There are flaws in it as it was my first bow. The biggest one is I goofed on the measurements and tapered the belly of it down to 1/4 in" at the tips instead of 3/8". That cost me in poundage. The bow was supposed to be in the 45 lb. range but ended up at 35 lb at 28 in.  Oh well, It will be a good bow to have around if my dear wife ever decides to try her hand at it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ceanothus in bloom

In the middle of the greys of winter the creator gives us some stunning beauty in the Ceanothus. Our valley is raging with it's beauty.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Emmanuel, a short film I am completing

I have been working on a short film titled EMMANUEL for the last three months. It is about the Annunciation of the angel to The Blessed Virgin Mary.

To see this movie, CLICK HERE or click on the title to this post.