My Brother Cletus Painting


Our parting gift to our special friends that moved to Seattle from San Antonio

A little bit before Christmas, I saw a Facebook post from St. Mary’s University announcing that Brother Cletus would be closing his art gallery. He would gradually be cutting his hours until shuttering it all together. He will finally retire from almost forty years of operating the St. Mary’s University Art Center.

My first reaction was, “Wait, what? He can’t retire! I don’t have my Brother Cletus yet!”

I wasn’t aware of his work until I moved to San Antonio and noticed these beautiful paintings in bright and vivid colors. They were pieces depicting our Missions, the River Walk and religious subjects of all kinds. I would see them in doctors’ and dentists’ offices in all parts of town; I even spotted one when I was getting my oil changed! And I also observed that they were always signed with a bold, “CLETUS” as well as noting where the subject is located on the left side of the artwork.

It was at a Fiesta function at St. Mary’s University when I had the honor of finally meeting the artist in person. I never knew that a Marianist Brother could be so funny! It was in that brief conversation that I promised myself that I would purchase one of his paintings. They captured the San Antonio that I had come to love and the spirit and soul of the artist.

For many years I drove past the simple sign with the arrow that points to his gallery. I would make a mental note that I needed to stop by and pick out a painting with my husband to hang in our house. I was always in a hurry picking up the kids from the campus when they were attending various sports camps, so I told myself I would do it tomorrow.

I finally stopped by the gallery when some of our friends were leaving San Antonio for Seattle. I just knew that one of the beautiful scenes on the River Walk would be the perfect gift. (pictured above)

And they loved it! I soon received a picture of it hanging on the wall of their new home. I was so happy for them and made another mental note to buy a similar painting for our wall as well.

After I read the notice on social media that Brother Cletus was going to be limiting his hours of the gallery during the holidays and eventually close his gallery, we went shopping!

Shortly after we drove up to the gallery, several other cars of people were right behind us. They seemed as anxious as we were to find a special work of art to take home with them.

We found Brother Cletus in his studio working on some new paintings for an upcoming fundraiser to benefit the ABODE. They will be auctioning off the paintings at the Valentine’s Day event. He was as animated about his work as he was the last time I spoke with him all those years ago.

My husband and I carefully looked at the works that were remaining in the gallery, while being a little more careful about the choice knowing that Brother Cletus is no longer creating commissioned pieces. I knew that I wanted a painting that reflected San Antonio in bright colors. I was hoping that the choice would be obvious to me because there are many different mediums, paint types, and canvases to choose from in all reasonable price points.

Brother CletusAs I was trying to talk my husband into a painting that I thought he would appreciate, I spotted this one.

It was perfect. It’s actually a piece of large tile work and mounted on a canvas.

It captures the right amount of the whimsy that is San Antonio.

I love the color palette in pinks, reds and purples.

It’s my Brother Cletus, finally, after all these years.

You will be able to find some more of his art at the upcoming ABODE fundraiser.

Be sure and thank him for his beautiful work that adorns so many walls here and all of South Texas.

I am looking forward to the many years of joy that I will see in this painting.

We hung it near the light switch in our bedroom, so it will be the first and last thing we see every day.



Stay Sassy Y’all. 

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  1. I would live a piece of his work too. Any idea where I can get one? Thanks!

    • I know that the St. Mary’s Alumni has some up for auction for their gala. I had also heard that they were keeping Brother Cletus’ gallery open for a little bit but I’m not sure. I would call St. Mary’s University and maybe ask their communications staff? He was truly one of kind and an inspiration!

  2. Stefanie Cowley says:

    I have a Brother Cletus available for sale.
    All proceeds will benefit the National Mumtiple Sclerosis Society.
    It is 44 inches high and 38 1/2 high in frame and is of a little boy on a rocking horse.

    If interested, I can send photo.

    • Thanks Stefanie. I will send you my personal email. I’ll post it on my FB page and see if there is anyone interested. And that’s a great cause!

  3. george eggleston says:

    how awesome. I am jealous.

  4. I found a signed Brother Cletus at a Goodwill in Marble Falls TX. It’s unlike most of the work of his that I’ve seen: a watercolor rendering of flowers–a scattering of what looks like coneflowers with red petals and yellow cones. I’m wondering if this was an early work.

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