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Winter Vigil, Winter Blooms

   Good morning, my friends. I am writing to you this morning on a very cold, gray day here in Oklahoma. There is no snow....and all the rain we've had has stopped. All that has served to make things very muddy, very muted, very still.
   I wanted to share with you one of my newest paintings, that is all about winter, yet all about rich color too. This painting is "Winter Vigil" and it has a very meandering inspiration, and for all of that, I think it turned out so lovely! The seed for the idea of this painting came from the Christmas Album of British/Eastern European singer, Katia Melua, who was born in the country of Georgia. She sang a gorgeous rendition of Rachmaninoff's "Nunc Dimittis, All Night Vigil." Its considered one of the Russian masterpieces of music, and Melua's version just pulls at my heart strings. This section of the piece also finds inspiration in The Presentation of Our Lord/ Purification of the Virgin Mary, and you'll see that depicted in the icon behind the young woman who is keeping her Winter Vigil, candle in hand. The original is now sold, and I was so happy to hear that it went to a person who has been doing wonderful work with a church associated with the name of the icon! You can now buy prints of this piece, however, in my etsy shop.

   I am also happy to report that just a few days ago, The BBC featured Katie Melua singing for the Gori Choir (a women's choir from her native Georgia) singing in a gorgeous Orthodox church, with a wonderful introduction from Melua. Here is a link to the youtube video of that performance, and I hope it makes you fall in love with the music and the painting too:


   Now doesn't that make you feel all quiet and contemplative, on a dark winter's day? I know it does for me ;) But also.....these dark winter days have me enjoying little glimpses of grown and green, and I couldnt resist bringing home a little bouquet of roses the other day, to sit in my kitchen window...


  I also finally planted the bulbs I bought well...in December, thinking I'd have them out at Christmas! Well, that didnt happen....but the bulbs were still cheerfully ready to be planted and start to thrive near the dining room window. I planted paperwhites and then an Amaryllis in brass planters I've gotten at Estate sales and Good Will. I also found a little hyacinth in a pretty white and blue porcelain bowl at the grocery store of all places....and yes, that came home with me too! I'm a little glad I was behind in planting them all, so now we will have a little taste of spring as we wait out the rest of these winter days...

   I also wanted to share with you an intriguing antique photo I found in a heap of old photos in an antique mall in Missouri a while back. I was drawn to it because of the woman's headscarf and the exotic cyrillic writing on the back. I shared a photo of the writing with friends on instagram, and was told that the photo mark indicated that it was taken in St. Petersburg, Russia! The fact that is said "St Petersburg" instead of Leningrad indicates that the photo was taken before the Russian Revolution in 1917.

   I am so intrigued by their faces....and wonder endlessly about what their story may be. The fact that I found this photo in Missouri leads me to believe that it came all the way from Russia with an immigrant. Who were the immigrants, I wonder? Did the entire family come? Or perhaps just the couple with the baby? Or even the young woman beside her father? Was this a last photo before the big trip, to remember loved ones? Oh the story that is hidden here....if only there were names to perhaps look into who they were, because I always want to know the story...instead I will just hope that their adventures and life were happy and blessed. And that sweet baby.....where might life have taken him or her? Hopefully to wonderful places.....and who knows, perhaps their descendants live nearby?

   Well, I will leave you for now, with wishes that you too find happiness and blessings wherever life takes you! Thank you for coming to visit me here. I am busy painting, with my artist eye set on spring. It will be here before we know it!~

Take Joy,
H

Welcome, 2019


   Ah, here we are:: 2019. Welcome!~
A fresh new year, with months of blank pages for us to write in. It's always exciting....and I always get in the mood to start new projects, make new plans for new art....it's a time of hope, and that is always a good thing. This is also a time of quiet coziness, and I've been looking forward to that just as much as Christmas, I think. Now.....we are left to our own devices. The calendar is cleared of parties and gatherings (as nice as those are). The cold days stretch ahead....but they are days to fill with whatever we like. And I look forward to that!


    For the past several weeks I've been enjoying some little stitching projects and have been having lots of fun with them. I've always loved the look of cross stitch, and would try it off and on throughout my childhood....but never got the hang of it. Strangely, I think doing things like knitting and weaving, learning to read those patterns and do those things.....made cross stitch easier to take on! And with little projects like these ornaments I made, they're finished fairly quickly.
 
   This Christmas I made an ornament for my brother and his new wife and also a little love bird ornament for my parents since they celebrated 40 years of marriage in 2018. I've also been playing around with other simple motifs I've found in several sampler books I've gathered, and have been enjoying myself....

       Of course we are, technically, still celebrating Christmas. Epiphany is still 4 days away so we are still making merry a bit. I am enjoying so much my 'bright copper kettle' that I received for Christmas this year. Its a Newey & Bloomer kettle that my husband gave me, and its pretty fancy--- he's always good at researching and finding the best thing. I know this kettle is going to make me a lifetime of good tea and coffee, and I love it. It's even just pretty to look at! Who knew I could be so charmed by a kettle?!


   But, of course, between the cups of tea and stitching, I am planning for a year's worth of art. As I've gained experience, I've learned that even though I often get grand and amazing ideas, its best to bite off little manageable bits at a time. I definitely plan to put out a 2020 calendar, so rest assured you'll have another coming! I've got some other ideas for projects....but they need to percolate. We shall see what 2019 will bring.....but you can be sure it will bring lots more art!~
Thank you for coming by today....and I hope you have a wonderful new year....
Take Joy!~
h