Saint Columba, patron saint of bookbinders and cell phone manufacturers

by Mimi Boothby


Although we don't really know who the two saints are that Fra Diamante was depicting in this painting, I chose to represent the first figure as Saint Columba, an Irish saint who was born in Ireland in 521 AD. He wrote hundreds of poems and many books after joining a monastery. In my painting, he holds a book in one hand, representing the printed word. I added a cellphone in his other hand, which in just a few years has been rapidly replacing the book as the principal means for the written word as well as letter writing, talking, listening to music, taking photographs and even movies. The book used to represent knowledge, if things were written, they were true. Now whether they are written or depicted in a photograph, we are no longer sure of the verity represented.  Neither Saint Columba nor I ever dreamed that the book, which has remained a constant source of recorded history, story telling, poetry and science for thousands of years might become nothing more than a lovely old-fashioned idea. I figured the cell phone needed a patron saint too.

Artist Statement

Mimi picked up a paintbrush in 2006 and has been painting non stop ever since. She is very partial to the gentleness and beauty of watercolors but will pick up pencils from time to time.

Mimi started drawing horses and cats and houses with rainbows when she was three and started rendering portraits when she was in her teens. Most forms of paper that have passed through Mimi’s hands bear her doodles. Mimi is particularly interested in the plight of small wild cat species and hopes to educate other people by illustrating their lives with watercolor paintings. She also does commissioned works, specializing in portraits of people or animals.

Project Entry