Catherine Robles Shaw on Spanish Colonial art, retablos and bultos


On this week’s Beyond the Gallery is santera Catherine Robles Shaw. She is a watercolorist from Nederland, Colorado, and she paints saints. For Catherine, art has to have meaning and she is inspired by her family.


As a Santera (Saint Maker), I hope to preserve some of the unique traditions of my Hispanic culture. Retablos are the story tellers of my ancestors. They are the natural extension of the beauty and simplicity of our Spanish lives. My husband, Michael and I aspire to represent our work with as much historic accuracy as possible.

My first exposure to this art form came when, as a child, I visited the churches in the San Luis Valley. My family had been among the first settlers in the Conejos land grant and lived in Mogote and Las Mesitas, Colorado. After visiting old churches in Chimayo and northern New Mexico, as an adult, I came to realize the meaning of the little retablos that had been in our family. In 1991, I began making retablos for my family and friends. Then in 1995, when I was admitted into the Spanish Market, I became a full time artist.


This episode of Beyond the Gallery is brought to you by the Great Southwest, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Great Southwest offers jewelry, arts and furniture, classic to contemporary. Learn more about Catherine Robles Shaw and view some of her work at

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