Christmas Eve – Bear-a-thought Illustration

Christmas Eve has got to be one of the most exciting days in the calendar year, as so much work and effort has gone in to the festive preparations. Excited children await to see what Father Christmas has brought them and eager parents await the joy they hope to see in their children’s eyes on Christmas morning.

I have for many years enjoyed the expectation that arrives with Christmas Eve and to enjoy this much more than the actual day of Christmas. There’s something exciting about the promise of Christmas Day that I find rather magical.Christmas Eve (for blog)
The ‘Christmas Eve’ bear-a-thought illustration was one of the first illustrations that I created for my first-ever calendar which was produced in 2002 (the centenary year of the teddy bear). I had just decorated the tree when I did the preliminary sketches and took some photographs to work from. This was the first teddy bear I was ever given, and was presented to me by my Grandmother and Grandfather Lake, so was the ideal choice for my first teddy bear Christmas illustration. Along with the teddy, is the hand-painted angel decoration from Cologne market (mentioned in my previous post) and a homemade fir cone decoration. I tried to create the warmth of Christmas in this illustration with a slight fireside glow to the image. I loved drawing all of the patterned wrapping paper, but got the needle (pardon the pun) whilst drawing all of those prickly branches…

Looking back at this illustration, which I produced over twelve years ago, it takes me back to my childhood – with real Christmas trees (that shed needles everywhere) and real open fires which warmed us on cold and frosty mornings. It brings back memories of waking up tired parents at ‘silly o’clock’ in the morning, because I couldn’t wait to see what presents lay ‘nestled’ under the tree for me and my siblings.

I am sure that the exciting spirit of Christmas Eve continues to glow brightly in those that are young…and those that are not so young…and will do for many generations to come….

Merry Christmas and thanks for reading my posts throughout 2014.
Michael

Thoughts On – Purple Baubles

I never realised just how many memories could be brought about whilst decorating a Christmas tree.  If someone had told me this time last year, that decorating the tree this year would take me on a rollercoaster of memories I wouldn’t have believed it.  But it’s true…  Purple baubles
My maternal Grandmother loved Christmas and was always so proud to have her tree trimmed and shining to the best of her ability every year.  When I first moved into my new home in 1998 my grandmother purchased some purple Christmas baubles for me.  For as long as I recall, she had had similar baubles on her tree and knew that I had always been drawn to them from being a child.  Purple has always been my favourite colour and my eye is always drawn to anything of that colour, no matter what I happen to be doing.

So, my Grandmother’s perfect gifts to me, in 1998, have been hung on my Christmas tree ever since.  Having lost my grandmother this summer, the feelings of missing her are still very prominent.  So on Tuesday, I went to decorate the very small and compact Christmas tree and pulled all of the baubles out of their protective bubblewrap.  The first baubles to be unwrapped were the purple baubles my grandmother had bought me all those years ago!

Seeing them was like seeing them for the first time, as their significance and value were so heightened because of her recent loss.  Every consequent bauble I put on the tree after those, brought back so many memories, the Friendship and Peter Pan bauble from my friend Michelle…the purple Liberty bauble that I purchased with my first pay cheque…the hand-painted, wooden angel I bought at Cologne Market…the metal silver baubles given to me by work colleagues when I left work last December…so many memories were evoked…

Decorating the tree this year has brought back so many memories of loved ones past and present.  This time of year brings many memories to mind – happy and sad -but I will never forget the feelings and emotions I experienced this year whilst trimming the tree with those very special purple baubles…