The idea of this painting has been floating around in my mind for a long time. I love the Christmas carol “Silent Night”, and all the quiet comforts that it celebrates on a Christmas Eve. I can remember as a child learning the song in German, it’s original language, and bits and pieces of the words still catch in my mind when I hear the tune.
In recent years, I learned more of the back story of the song— written as a poem by Joseph Mohr in 1816 and a few years later set to music by the church organist, Franz Gruber.
Supposedly the priest was called out on a particularly beautiful Christmas Eve night to bless a newborn baby at a home high in the snowy mountains in the Lungau region near Saltzburg, Austria and the poem was his trek up the mountain and thoughts on the nativity.
Of course most of this story revolves around the priest and his impression of that quiet night walk in the snowy beauty of the mountains by torch light. But I can’t help but think what a special night it must have been for those long-ago parents, gazing at their new born child, nestled in their little house while the snow and stars shined outside.
And so my painting, “Stille Nact” (Silent Nigh in German) was created! I had seen a beautiful quilt online and when I saw its beautiful pattern and colors I thought “That’s it. That’s the quilt for Stille Nacht.” And set to work.
Research for this included: watching “Rick Steve’s Europe Christmas Special” and “The Sound of Music.” Which, I am disappointed to realize, shows NO winter in Saltzburg at all! How can that be!?! Its such a beautiful place all covered in snow! However, it did inspire me to tuck some Edelweiss into the scene (can you spot it?) and I painted a portrait of Saltzburg the town in the painting hanging above the bed. So there’s a little city and a little country all in the painting.
And although this painting certainly does have in inspiration of a ‘time and place’ I hope that it also speaks to people personally, of those very special and quiet moments so full of joy and peace. Perhaps it will speak to you about a wonderful time like this in your life? I hope so.
Well, as for me– today I hope to get some painting time in the studio! If all goes well (fingers crossed, knock on wood, what-have-you) and children cooperate!
Have a great week, and I’ll be back to chat with you soon!~