Sunday, October 26, 2008

Open Studios

Silver City artist Ann Lowe and MF Dondelinger will
open their studios
Saturday, November 8
from noon to 6 p.m.
to preview their most current works.

Mary Frances will bring back works from her recent residency in Seattle with printmaker Steve MacFarlane where she learned dry point on plexi-glass. She returns to imagery of women in boxing gloves.

Ann has continued her abstract oil paintings in the "Marginalia" series which are based on her doodles and inspired by the odd drawngs found in the margins of medieval manuscripts.

Change of Mind, drypoint on paper, by MF Dondelinger

Transformation, oil on canvas, by Ann Lowe

Lowe's studio: 1316 West Street
My studio: 1207 Alabama
For more information contact me.

Double click on images to enlarge.

Don't forget, with the holidays coming up, now is the time to pick up some fun, artful and affordable gifts. Ann will have her Imagination Story Cards ($15.95) and Mary Frances will have her Erasers available for purchase ($4.95 set of five).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Personal Responsibility

Another illuminated manuscripts complete. Through the words of St. Teresa of Avila, this one speaks of personal responsibility to live one's life with intention. To enlarge, double click on image. 18" x 13", egg tempera and 24 c. gold on papyrus paper. Sold

Monday, September 29, 2008


Just to bring a little perspective to the religious world...
To enlarge, double click on the image.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Illuminated Manuscripts

I have created some illuminated manuscripts for the upcoming icon exhibit "Little Altars and Conversations with God" which will open November 6 at J.Crist Gallery in Boise, Idaho. These manuscripts are in Greek, Latin and English and written on papyrus paper (13 x 18).They are made with calligraphy ink, gold leaf and egg tempera. Below are two manuscripts. One of the prayer Hail Mary in Greek (sold) and another of the prayer Our Father in Latin (sold).


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Madonna and Child

Madonna & Child (in white robe), Egg tempera and 24 carat gold on 1" solid wood panel, 36" x 24". By the hand of MF Dondelinger. Sold

Such a tender connection between mother and child in this icon. That's what attracted me to it. The oldest image I've found like it is from the 15th century. However, the reference I used is from a modern Russian iconographer and he's added some playful elements on the Christ child's white robe which I've kept true to his version. What a joy it was to create this image.


Christ, Egg tempera and 24 carat gold on 1" solid wood panel, 36" x 24"
By the hand of MF Dondelinger. Sold
This is one of my favorite images of Christ. Could it be the blue only achieved with the stone lapis lazuli (ground into pigment) which colors his robe? Or is it the calm and confident features on his face? Probably all of it together pushes this interpretation of Christ into the forefront of beautiful images in iconography.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


This is my first triptych and I just loved doing it. The middle scene is filled with images depicting the three Magi, the shepards and Joseph, the bathing of Jesus and in the center with the Mother of God, a foreshadowing of the ending of Christ's life as he lay wrapped in a sarcophagus-like shaped cradle. Angels crowd the skies.

On the lower side panels Archangel Gabriel brings the good news to Mary that she will give birth to the son of God. I'm sure I would not be so gracious if that news was given to me!

On the upper side panels, Solomon and David hold scrolls that foretell the prophecies and compare Mary to the burning bush.

The storytelling in this triptych is beyond the confines of time, history and place.

The Nativity, Egg tempera and 24 carat gold on three wood panels, 17" x 28.5" when open, by the hand of MF Dondelinger. To purchase this piece, please click here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

St. John the Theologian

St John the Theologian, 24 carat gold and egg tempera on 1" solid wood panel. By the hand of MF Dondelinger. To purchase this piece please click here.

In this icon, St. John is seen with his assistant creating the gospel. It is interesting that many of the most spiritual leaders in christianity are depicted on retreat. What a great reminder to us in this modern era to take time out to contemplate, rest and get perspective in our life by getting some distance from it. The good news is, though, we can find a symbolic cave instead of a real one for our time away. Happy retreating to you all.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Elijah and the Crow, Egg tempera, 24 ct. gold on wood panel,16" x 12". MF Dondelinger. Sold
When I apprenticed in Italy, I was able to work on an image similar to this one with master iconographer don Gianluca Busi. But I had to leave before the icon was finished. So it was fulfilling to do the image again, this time to completion.

As the biblical story tells, the Lord has ordered the crow to bring Elijah bread in the morning and meat at night. This image of Elijah has been repeated over and over throughout the history of iconography.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Seattle with Steve

Boxer Chick Lino Cut, in progress.
To be used for the Mimbres Region Arts Council printmaking project.
By MF Dondelinger with assistance from Bailey Koonce, 2008

While the studio is filled with icons in preparation for the November show at J. Crist Gallery, I am also preparing for a two month residency of sorts with Steve Macfarlane, a wonderful printmaker in Seattle. We'll be working on transforming the Boxer Chicks into prints. In preparation for that, I and my studio assistant, Bailey, are carving the linoleum blocks that will be used in the printmaking process.

Before I leave for the residency, we will be producing a print for the Mimbres Region Arts Council "Book" that will be used as a fundraiser. As that printmaking project comes together I'll post the details.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

An introduction to Silver City

What a treat to transform this dusty old garage into a studio space and to share it with my community by filling it with icons, candles and gregorian music.

For some it offered a reflective moment. For others it was educational during the two demonstrations showing the process of making egg tempera and its application and then later a gold leafing technique. (Standing room only.) A special thanks to Toni, my neighbor, and my Mom for their support during the prep. And to Bailey. I couldn't have sheetrocked the ceiling without her!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

You're Invited to a...

Studio Preview
Saturday, May 3, 2008
10 am - 4 pm.

1315 West Street and
1207 Alabama Street
(both in Silver City, New Mexcio)

Come visit two studios only 3 blocks a part. See my recent icons at my Alabama Street Studio. And see the works of Ann Lowe, a fantastic New Mexico artist, at her West Street Studio. She will be showing playful abstract images painted from her doodles. Also, be the first to play with her new Imagination Story Cards, now being marketed nation-wide.

On preview at my studio will be icons and studies for the exhibit Little Altars and Conversations with God. Iconography technique demonstrations at 1 pm and 3 pm.

For more information contact me. Or call Ann at 575.534.0005. See map below for directions.

Good Friendships

St. John the evangelist, Egg Tempera on solid wood panel, 12 x 14", 24 carat gold. By the hand of MF Dondelinger. Sold

St. John the evangelist was known as one of Christ's closest friends and is the Patron Saint of good friendships. He is the only apostle not martyred and died at age 94.

Monday, March 31, 2008

St. Gertrude of Helfta

This icon was created specifically for a patron and was personalized by adding trees and a goat along with a quote by St. Gertrude with special significance. Since there are very few images of St. Gertrude and no famous Byzantine images, I got to design this one myself. Also, the designs on the top corners of the icon were carved by Frances Dondelinger, my mother. She used a design from the railing at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in central Idaho.

St. Gertrude of Helfta, 17.5 x 24”, Egg tempera, 24 carat gold on a solid wood panel. By the hand of MF Dondelinger. In a private collection.  Sold

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mystical Contemplation

The Man and Woman of Sorrows, 17” x 23.5”,
Egg tempera and 22 carat gold on ¾” solid wood panel.
By the hand of MF Dondelinger.

This is one of the most tender images in traditional iconography. Christ, dead, is being held by Mary as he is in a sarcophagus. While most orthodox icons focus on the divinity in the saints and holy family, this icon seems to also capture, in the most intimate manner, the humanness of the mother and son.

“The Man of Sorrows in its many artistic forms is the most precise visual expression of the piety of the later Middle Ages, which took its character from mystical contemplation rather than from theological speculation".1

1. G Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art, Vol. II,1972 (English trans from German), Lund Humphries, London, pp.197-229, quote from p.198

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Mary Frances was awarded the Theo Van Gogh award by Gallery One in Ellensburg, Washington, for her past work as Director of the community non-profit visual arts center.

The award, a mixed media piece by Louise Lamontagne, is shown here all boxed up and reay to fly home with Mary Frances.

The award was given at the annual President's Dinner. Below, attendees of the event were gracious enough to fulfill one more request by the recipient so she could visualize what she has always felt about the people of Ellensburg. She asked each person to reach forward and backwards to their neighbors symbolizing the deep connection the people of Ellensburg embody but especially the supporters of the arts at Gallery One.

Top photo: Current Gallery One director Robert Tomlinson strikes a pose with Mary Frances. Photo by Louise Lamontagne.

Above: Photo by David Dick

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Protector of Art

Legend has it that St. Theodosia died of grievous injuries when tortured for trying to protect an icon in her monastery from the iconoclasts. She has thus been named as a patron saint of art. With such an intense face and formidable stance she doesn't seem like someone easy to deny!

St. Theodosia, 16” x 12” Egg tempera and 24 carat gold on 1” cradled Claybord. Detail of St. Theodosia while in progress.
By the hand of MF Dondelinger
If you’re interested in purchasing this image please contact me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bearer of Good News

I think Archangel Garbriel is one of the most beautiful images of traditional icons.

He is considered the patron saint of broadcasters, postal workers, ambassadors, newsvendors, and couriers.

Archangel Gabriel, 11” x 6” Egg Tempera and 24 carat gold on ¾” solid wood panel.
By the hand of MF Dondelinger.
If you’re interested in purchasing this image,
contact me.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lamb of Courage

Typically the Lamb of God is white to reflect purity. However, in this image the Lamb is black. A black sheep. Christ stood out because he was different. He bucked the system. And then he led a revolution. To step out, to lead a revolution, to know you might be killed for speaking your truth, for challenging the power….that takes more than purity. That takes courage.

Lamb of Courage, 8.5" x 4.75”, Egg tempera and 22 carat gold on ¾” solid wood panel. By the hand of MF Dondelinger


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Study This...

Michael, 12” x 10”, graphite on Dura-lar. By MF Dondelinger. If you’re interested in purchasing this image email me.

Another study of the Greek god Pan. I use this model often as reference in my work. He has been asked to do many things in the name of art. Thank goodness I can use my imagination instead of making him wear horns and grow a goatee. Besides, he’s my oldest brother. He's bigger and stronger than me and I can’t actually make him do anything!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Face to Face

Gallery One in Ellensburg, Washington, will be featuring a portrait show titled 40 Portraits, 40 Artists. This invitational exhibition will mark the start of the 40th anniversary for the visual arts center. Zena, a beautiful young woman from Ellensburg, was the inspiration behind the portrait I sent for the exhibition.

Getting Ready, 24” x 36”, Egg Tempera on Claybord Panel, by MF Dondelinger
If you’re interested in this image please contact Gallery One by
email or by phone at 509.925.2670. The show runs January 15 – March 1, 2008.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Attraction Factor

The Florence Biennale, held in Italy on December 1-9, 2007, was filled with people from all over the globe. One of the most interesting things was watching how many people wanted their picture taken standing next to my painting. I was flabbergasted. This couple, originally from South Korea, videotaped the experience. Over 800 artists participated in the Biennale and 18,000 visitors attended the 9 day event. I was fortunate to be able to attend and it would not have been possible without the support of my sponsors. Thank you to my two Quiet supporters and Ampersand Art Supply.