Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ghosts of Christmases Past...1991

Christmas Angel with Chickadee, 1991

Rick and I got married in 1988, and that Christmas I started making my own Christmas cards for my family and friends. Since almost all of my Christmas cards have birds in them (surprise!) Rick thought it would be a good idea to post a few every now and then to spread Christmas cheer. I decided to start with this card because it's always been my favorite (and my mom's too). I love the sweet little chickadee and the angel's beautiful snow dress and wings. Back then I did a lot with pen and ink using Rapidograph pens and pointillism. I would create the original, scan it, print out copies on nice stock, and hand paint each card with watercolor. There wasn't that much to paint...just the holly and berry crown on this one, but it felt special to hand paint each card, like it was a little gift.

It's funny, but I can remember exactly when the idea for this little angel popped into my head. I was a technical writer back then, and I was consulting at Access Corporation working on a user's guide for an AS/400 image storage and retrieval system. I had just saved a document and was leaning down to get a folder out of a drawer when the image of her holding the chickadee filled my imagination. She was wearing a flowing gown with one leg raised slightly in an upward motion. I scribbled the idea down quickly and couldn't wait to get home to draw her. I remember watching her come to life on the paper and was so happy with her beautiful halo and the chickadee resting gently in her palm. Since then her simple image has always been my favorite--possibly because of the way she came into my mind, and every time I look at her I feel happy. Hope she brings you a bit of Christmas joy too!

30 comments:

Vicki Holdwick said...

Kelly,

This is really beautiful!

Happy Holidays to you,

xoxo

Claire M said...

This is so precious. I can see how it has become a favorite! I like how you chose to only color a little on the card and to do it for each one individually. I really enjoyed seeing this piece of your history!

Ironic that you should mention AS/400 -- I certainly recognize it as being IBM. That's where I've been hanging out for years, only on the bigger hardware (z Series).

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Lovely illustration--thank you for sharing it! Your Christmas card recipients are very lucky.

freebird said...

I wish I could get such pictures in my head and then transfer them to paper. This is super. You are right to be proud and happy with it.

Kelly said...

Vicki...thank you! Happy Holidays to you too!

Claire...I did my time with the big computers. I prefer Macs now!!! They are so much friendlier...and cooler too!

Kathy...thank you. I'm glad Rick came up with the idea.

Timaree...thank you! Usually, images like this just don't pop in my head. I usually have to think about them and let the stew. She just appeared. I LOVED that!

Jeni said...

Simply beautiful Kelly!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Fabulous, Kelly.... I would frame that if I had it... WOW---love that little angel holding that Chickadee... TERRIFIC.....

Hugs,
Betsy

holdingmoments said...

Kelly, that is a beautiful picture.
A lovely story to go with it too.
Thank you.

grammie g said...

Hi Kelly..that is very lovely both in drawing and in story!
Thanks to you and Rick for sharing!!

Tammie Lee said...

Kelly,

This is so beautiful! There is a spirit in this that is alive, soothing and hopeful. What a beauty.

I love how this piece came to you, as though an angel wanted to come to life in our world as a piece of art to touch the hearts of those in your life and now us. Thank you.

Anna said...

Kelly this is beautiful. I do to make my own cards every year, but not like you, I make them digitally, print them on photo paper and assemble. The difference is that my bird on the photos is my Matthew. Happy holidays if I don't see you around. Anna :)

Elaine said...

Kelly, she is gorgeous! I love how she just came to you, and I know all of the recipients appreciated your gift. Thanks for sharing her with us.

Penny said...

She is beautiful.

Caroline said...

How lovely! I look forward to seeing a few more!

Laure Ferlita said...

Such a warm, happy feeling comes from this! Gorgeous, Kelly!

Roy said...

A superb sketch Kelly.
I particularly like the way the coloured holly leaves and berries contrast the rest, it really works.
Its surprising what you can recall about sketches and photographs. I can look at images I made or shot from years ago and remember where they were created and yet I can't remember what I did yesterday sometimes.{:)

Wanda..... said...

Such a beautiful illustration, Kelly...love the serene look of it and the beutifully drawn wings and curls!

JKoenig said...

Simply Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing the your picture and your story. You have blessed my day!

Montanagirl said...

Kelly, this is just beautiful! I love how her wings are formed by individual feathers. The touch of color and the little Chickadee are the finishing touch.

Out on the prairie said...

You are amazing what you draw just from a thought. I always need a model, but have drawn a few things,like things I will build .My dad used to draw things we asked him to draw and tell a story he made up to go with it.I did the same with my girls.

Warren Baker said...

What vivid and marvellous imagination you have Kelly :-)

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is so beautiful. I am glad you shared with us...your card recipients are treated to wonderful gifts of your talent.

Cicero Sings said...

Love this drawing. Very nice. Merry Christmas to you!

E said...

Kelly, we were some of the lucky ones. Thank you. I still have it and it is in the wall. It is so beautiful, you are a wonderful artist.
Have the best Holidays, hugs to all.

Jayne said...

That is so very beautiful Kelly. How special your cards must be to those who receive them!

troutbirder said...

What beautiful artwork. Some people were very fortunate to receive one. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

Kelly said...

...thanks everyone for the kind words. I'm glad Rick thought it was a good idea to post old Christmas cards. I'll continue to throw a few up now and then. It was fun to relive the memory!!

Margaret Bednar said...

Your past few posts and the one above (!) have been (are) stunning. If I was a recipient of you Christmas cards I would frame them. Just beautiful.

The Early Birder said...

FABulous talent. Thanks for sharing this lovely memory Kelly.

Mary Huttlinger said...

KELLY! I can totally see this in stained glass ... have you ever thought about that?!?! Mary