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