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,

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