It never fails that the holiday season is the busiest, most cram-packed time of the year. From projects that get rushed through before everyone leaves on vacation to the school Christmas concerts, parties, and family get-togethers. The shopping, the wrapping, the food-baking. In Michigan, this time of year also means snow, and lots of it, that can make my 1-hour commute to work turn into 2. It is a busy, chaotic, joyous (and stressful) time, and also a season where the thin thread of creative space I reserve in my week is the first to fall victim to the festivities. One of these rushed days I caught a glimpse of my watercolors sitting on the bookshelf and my heart anxiously fluttered. I knew it could be another month before I would able to get them out again, and it had already been too long. In that moment I came up with a great and daunting idea, to hand-paint my Christmas greeting cards.
It started with a single tree. And then I painted some more. It became a great dinner-table project.
My husband often works late so it’s just me and the kids at night. A normal routine for us begins when I get home from work around 5-5:30. The kids unpack their emotions from the day while I make dinner, they also practice their violins, do their chores. Then they eat and we review their homework and other daily/weekly goings-on. After dinner I help with homework, read, bath-time, etc. I don’t usually have my dinner until my husband gets home, sometime after the kids have all gone to bed. So while the kids ate and worked on their homework, I painted at the dining table. For an hour or more every night, we gathered at the table together. If they had a question about a math problem or something happened with a friend they wanted to talk about, I was right there for them.
Most of the paintings I did were relatively simple. Others were more complex. The one below I painted for my inlaws who like to camp and winter in Arizona.
This one I painted for a friend who loves to mountain bike in the winter and spent her Christmas bike-camping in the snow-chilled Michigan woods with her husband and dog. If you look close, there are little footprints in the snow, the small ones are meant to be their dog’s.
It was a great experiment and I hope my friends and family enjoyed getting hand-made cards this year. All in all, I painted nearly 20 cards.
Some of my winter and holiday paintings available in art prints here.