Friday, November 16, 2012

Saint Nicholas

 
    Today I am happy to share with you a special painting I just finished-- it's St. Nicholas, in his more traditional form, with a group of little children outside a snowy village. I painted this piece as a gift to my church for the approaching St. Nicholas festival. Saint Nicholas Day is officially celebrated on Dec. 6, and you Tasha Tudor fans may remember that this is the day that the Tudor family (and the family in Becky's Christmas!) start celebrating the holiday season!

   Saint Nicholas is one of my favorite saints-- he had lots of adventures, was kind, good to children and young women, made daring escapes, traveled extensively, and managed to not meet with a gruesome end as so many other saints do! 

   Probably the most well-known and well-loved stories of Saint Nicholas is the one where he learns of a very poor family with three daughters who cannot afford to pay their dowries. Because of this, the family believes the only thing to be done is to sell the daughters off as slaves. To stop this from happening, Saint Nicholas tosses a bag of gold for each girl into the house through their chimney. The girls had placed their stockings to dry at the hearth, and in the morning they found the gold for their dowries in their stockings, and were saved from slavery. Sounds vaguely familiar, right?

  For families around the world who celebrate St. Nicholas day, the traditional way to celebrate is to leave  shoes or stockings out at night, and in the morning they will find little treats such as fruits, nuts, little trinkets or pieces of chocolate (a popular candy this is given is little chocolate 'coins' wrapped in gold paper to represent the story of Saint Nicholas tossing the gold down the chimney.)



  If you'd like to learn more about St. Nicholas and get ideas for fun celebrations to celebrate him or activities for kids, THIS is an awesome website. 

   I like Saint Nicholas Day because its a really fun and family-oriented way to kick off the holiday season, and starts it off on the right foot-- with honoring someone for their kindness and generosity to others. It's not an over-the-top celebration, but one filled with little treats and good stories, and is also the beginning of Advent. I'm really looking forward to the season, and hope you are too!

   Hope you enjoy the painting! And have a great weekend!~
~H

PS: I've just figured out how to reply to comments in the comment section! So now I will be able to reply back to you! Hurray!

18 comments:

  1. I had no idea about St Nicholas Day! What a cool tradition and wonderful story. I LOVE this painting! Absolutely stunning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Alyson! So glad you like it!

      Delete
  2. I love your interetation of St.Nicholas. This painting is beautiful and it tells the story so well. I wish we could have a print of it in your shop for those of us who love and celebrate St. Nicholas Day. Your church is going to cherish this gift and generations of children will peer into it's scenes and wonder about who really was this St.Nicholas!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Winnie! Actually....My husband helped me scan this big piece last night (it took 4 sections of scanning!) so now I have a good image that I can make into prints! So...hope to have them in the shop this season!

      Delete
  3. Lovely painting! I'm Czech and growing up, my family celebrated Mikuláš (St. Nicholas Day in Czech). My grandmother would always send a care package with nuts and oranges and chocolate, which would kick off our celebration of the holiday season.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Lucymade! Thanks for sharing a little bit about how your family celebrated the day! I love hearing about how different cultures interpret him.

      Delete
  4. I love this painting! We celebrate St. Nicholas Day every year...I normally hide chocolate Santa's for the kids to find as a bit of fun. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pattianne-- That sounds so fun! And frankly, I think there's never a bad time to celebrate with chocolate ;) hope you all have a great St. Nicholas Day!

      Delete
  5. I really enjoyed learning the story behind St. Nicholas Day. Your beautiful painting portrays the tale you described perfectly. :) I love discovering traditions like this! Thanks for sharing the beautiful painting AND the tale!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed the story! There are tons of little stories about St. Nicholas, from saving little kids to saving sailors. He was a busy guy!

      Delete
  6. Interesting stuff about St. Nick!
    You captured compassion in his face :-)

    Beautiful work! xx Lorraine xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I wanted him to look kindly and like someone approachable who children would like!

      Delete
  7. Hello Heather. I just loved this post!! SO INSPIRING! I loved hearing the story of St. Nicholas and am on my way over to that site right now.

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your painting!!

    Wishing you & yours a joyous Thanksgiving.
    doreen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Doreen! I appreciate your kind words. Hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving too!~

      Delete
  8. A beautiful painting and story to get us all in the mood! I love the tiny village in the background as well as the figures. Thank you for sharing, Heather.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Heidi! I'm so glad you like it. I spent a lot of time putting little details within this piece!

      Delete
  9. This is absolutely incredible. Such a beautiful and traditional depiction. I love your "iconic" pieces Heather! They're gorgeous and filled with such a spirit and life.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love this! What a beautiful depiction of St Nicholas. St Nicholas Day is a very special day in our home.

    ReplyDelete

Each and every comment is appreciated! Thanks for coming to visit me :) ~Heather