Tuesday, January 1, 2013
9"x12" Oil on Stretched Linen
We have a poinsettia nestled in a tray of Christmas bulbs on our coffee table. The little arrangement is beautifully backlit by the white lights on our tree. I have pondered this scene, considering how I can translate some of the beauty I see onto a blank canvas. This is the result.
Our Christmas decorations will stay out until January 6, which is the twelfth day of Christmas, also known as Epiphany, the manifestation of Christ as the son of God. Christians commemorate this as the day that the three kings recognized the infant Jesus as the son of God, bringing him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
The poinsettia's association with Christmas began in 16th century Mexico, where legend tells of a young girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson "blossoms" sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations. The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Jesus.