Candlelight & St. Nicholas
[Authors Note: It was quite a busy past couple days in the design studio, hence my absence. But they were days chock full of good design work, and I won't complain about keeping the lights on! So no matter how busy it gets, I am still a man of my word. Once the clients were happy, I jumped to keep my promise to you the readers, and to myself. After all, what's an advent calendar if there are days missing?! Not one made by me, that's for sure. Now, back to the post at hand...]
December 6th was St. Nicholas Day, and I tried to keep a bit of reverence to the St. Nicholas of the past, while using a similar style to the previous illustrations. St. Nicholas in the Victorian Era was pictured as a tall, hooded man with a long beard and clad in red. He was usually carrying a small fir tree and a bag of toys. Sometimes, he was shown towing a small sled of those goods instead of carrying them. As many know, this more modest take on St. Nicholas was the groundwork for what has become our commercial Santa Claus.
December 7th's illustration focuses on the solitary candle that began the Advent Wreath this past week. Christmas is a religious holiday for many (even with its sometimes overwhelming commercial aspects) and I wish to treat the religious beliefs with respect, even in the design. This is a more austere piece, with a few pieces of holly and a larger focus on the absence in this pre-Christmas time.
The two pieces of yuletide cheer I have to share are — first, a neat time lapse video of this year's White House's Christmas Tree being delivered and decorated. I imagine it's quite a feat to get a live tree of that size in the door at all. And as you'll see, it nearly grazes the ceiling, even with the chandelier removed! After the decor is applied it really looks beautiful. My only question is whether or not they have to water it daily, or if it's big enough to sustain itself for a month? I imagine there must be some sort of maintenance right?
Finally, here's a particularly beautiful rendition of "Silent Night" by musician Chris Botti. Like the illustration I did for the 7th, the beauty is meant to come from what is left out of this performance. Botti's gentle trumpet glides over the silence and only rarely do other instruments join him. It's really something to hear a piece so reserved, in a season so well known for its holiday fanfare.