I was so excited to have the opportunity to paint these! The first piece is about Clement Clarke Moore, going out on his sleigh on Christmas Eve to bring home one more turkey for his wife, who was cooking up turkey dinners for those in need. As he rode, the jingle bells on his horses inspired him to write a fun little poem for his children, called "A Visit from St. Nicholas."
I found a great photo with backlighting to use for these beautiful horses, and I combined the background with different elements. I think these are the best horses, trees, and snow that I've painted, and I am really pleased with the atomspheric perspective with the faint house and trees in the background.
It's interesting, when I receive these commissions to paint historical events, that I learn much more about it through the research. I learned that they had six children at the time he read this to them. His five-year-old girl (whom I have portrayed in red in his lap) asked him to read it again after he was done. Sadly, she died when she was twelve.
I needed to find a family who fit the profile the best so I could take their picture for this painting. Moore was 42, his wife was 29, and his six children were between the ages of nine and zero. My friend Amy Brown's family fit this almost perfectly, but there were only five children, so I used Brooke as a twin for Mandy. (Mandy's in yellow, Brooke's in pinkish-purple.) They were so sweet to model for me! I joked with their son that he'd have to be in ringlets, since that was the style in the 1820s. I decided to be nice and only give him longish hair.