This week I'm starting a new feature here on the blog--- "Behind The Paintings"-- where I'll talk about what inspired some of my favorite paintings in the past and sort of 'what was going on' when I was creating them! I hope you'll join me for these little peeks back at past paintings! Should be fun! :D
One of my favorite paintings I've created is this one called "Candlelight Prayers." It shows a mother and daughter in a little cabin on a snowy winter's night, lighting candles in front of an icon.
What is so special to me about this painting is, it was my first 'religious family scene' painting. I was just starting to dip my toe in the water of that sort of art. This is the first icon I ever painted as well, and I loved creating this little scene that held so much emotion and back story, something that really came from my heart.
I painted this in 2011, and we had just started our family faith journey. 2011 is the year we were baptized (it was a bit of a whirlwind love affair for us, we first attended on St. Nicholas Day and were baptized at Easter Vigil and confirmed in May.)
But at this point I was still pretty self conscious about putting anything too religious in my art. However, I wanted to create something that felt warm and lovely and peaceful--- which was how I was now viewing faith, and I wanted to share it in my art.
People always ask "is this a picture of you?" and really its not, although I'm a mom with brown hair and have a blond daughter ;) Sometimes things just work out that way! Like how my bearded guys tend to resemble my husband--- I guess he's just the beardy guy I know best ;)
Another thing that I love about this painting is the folksy motifs, like on the girl's bonnet and the dresser. I also painted a little icon on the dresser (technically--- my first Jesus??)
I didn't really have a nationality in mind for them, I just wanted them to be folksy and old timey and drew from Scandinavian and Russian motifs.
Looking back now, I think this painting was probably a turning point in my art into what it is now. Before this time frame, I was doing more whimsical, collage based art. Then collage art became really popular and I decided what I really wanted to do was more illustrative. Instead of little whimsical portraits, I started creating more detailed scenes, and started making the art contain more of a story. And to me, Candlelight Prayers is still one of my favorites--- when I started finding a way of painting what was more 'me' and something I felt really proud of.
The connection it has made with others around the country--- and the world--- has been so inspiring too! I love that it has meaning to people across denominational lines. That it sparks fond memories and has meaning for others as well.
This piece is still going strong in my etsy shop, and is available as an 8x10 print or Christmas postcards. Perhaps there is a little meaning in it for you as well?