The Joy of Painting the Pope and Saints | Catholic World Report | Interview
Painter and illustrator Ann Kissane Engelhart uses an unforgiving medium to depict the call to holiness.
Ann Kissane Engelhart (www.annkissaneengelhart.com) is a watercolorist based in Long Island whose paintings have been featured in the Empire State Building, St. Francis Hospital, the DeMatties Center, Brooklyn College and Wagner College and in private collections. She has won numerous awards, she has exhibited in galleries on Long Island and New York, and her illustrations have been published in a variety of magazines and periodicals.
She illustrated the children's book, Friendship With Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion, which featured Benedict XVI's answers to questions put to him by children in Rome; the book was edited by popular author and blogger Amy Welborn. Ann and Amy recently collaborated again recently in the creation of Be Saints! An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI. She recently spoke with Catholic World Report about her artwork and illustrating two books about the Holy Father.
CWR: Your first book with Amy Welborn was Friendship With Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion, which featured Benedict XVI's answers to questions put to him by children in Rome. How did you and Amy decide upon the focus of this second book? What was the creative process like for you and Amy Welborn, who edited the book?
Engelhart: In both instances we were inspired to create picture books after hearing the Pope speak to young people. We felt that it was important to find a way for more children to hear these wise words of the Holy Father.
When Pope Benedict visited England two years ago, he made a trip to St. Mary’s college in London where he met with young students. His beautiful and encouraging address was broadcast to every Catholic school throughout Great Britain. Of course when the pope speaks to the people of one country, the message is intended for the whole world. We were confident that his lesson, inviting them to be the saints of the 21st century, would resonate with all Catholic children.
The English publisher, The Catholic Truth Society, was happy to make the book available after the great success of the Pope’s visit. We are delighted that Ignatius Press/ Magnificat decided to collaborate with CTS once again, making the book available in the United States and Canada.
Amy and I have developed a friendship after working on the two books, so we informally send ideas back and forth, mostly through emails. We had a similar vision for how to communicate the Pope’s important message, so it was a joy to work together again.
CWR: You’ve produced many pieces of art for collections and public displays. What is different about creating artwork for a children’s book? Are there unique compositional challenges involved in illustrating a book?
Continue reading on the CWR site.
Also see the 2011 Ignatius Insight interview with Engelhart about the book, Friendship With Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion.