Nativity Revised, oil on canvas, 31.5×24 in., originally uploaded by ahtravis.
Matthew 2:7+ “…magi from the east ..set out…And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place were the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on [trying to enter their way was blocked by artists with their easels set up painting] the child with his mother.”
I dreamed this painting. No kidding! I actually dreamed the wise men, of the Bible version, and the barn animals could not gather around the family as typically depicted because artists had gotten there first and were in the way! The dream occurred several weeks after our December in Italy. I can only imagine I had admired so many crèches, in so many churches, and looked at so many versions of the nativity in museums and churches that my brain rebelled and made this little joke.
I decided to render the dream in paint.
The painting was a challenge for me in several ways. I have many sketches of artists painting. However, the central figure I settled on here is actually from a painting I had painted in 2009 of an accomplished plein air painter friend painting in Fleishmanns, NY. Those who know her may recognize her stance. I also have sketches of cows, sheep, and chickens but I had none of camels. For those I turned to photographs posted on Flickr. I sketched appealing camels from my computer and later used elements of several in my camel.
The Madonna figure is from a sketch of my daughter and grandson that I have used in several paintings.