Christmas Pomanders - Fragrant and Festive Symbols of Prosperity and Good Luck

Have you ever smelled the spicy fragrance of clove studded oranges? The wonderful fragrance of citrus and cloves filled the air as I worked on this painting of "Spicy Christmas Treats".

For my painting, I made orange pomanders by piercing fresh oranges with whole cloves. Click here for more about making pomanders.

Next, I positioned the orange pomanders on a plate so that the pattern of cloves made an intersecting line with a red bow and candy cane. This strengthened the painting's composition by using both line direction and color contrast in the center of interest also called the "focal point".
I used a cool greenish gray background to contrast with the warm red and orange colors of the fruit and candy. In art as in life, contrasting elements add impact and interest. The important thing is to keep it all in balance.

Clove studded fruit has been a favorite holiday tradition since the 15th century. England's Queen Elizabeth I was reported to have always worn a pomander. Read more about the history of pomanders at this link.

In the ancient customs of Europe and China, oranges have been given as New Years gifts to symbolize a wish for prosperity and good fortune.
With this painting of orange pomanders, I too wish you peace, prosperity and good fortune in the New Year.

"Christmas Lights on Shem Creek" - A Painting by Katherine M Schneider

"Christmas Lights on Shem Creek"
Pastel on marble dust prepared panel
12" x 9" unframed
Due to recent recent interest in my painting of holiday lights on Shem Creek, I'm re-posting the essay describing the process used to create the pastel on panel painting... Best wishes to you all for a Merry Christmas and and a peaceful New Year.

Christmas is a time for boat owners in Charleston to decorate their boats for the annual "Parade of Lights" in Charleston Harbor.

I recently saw a decorated sailboat docked by a popular seafood restaurant on Shem Creek.
The sight left me with a strong impression of the colorful lights hanging from the boat's rigging in the night sky and the bright reflections of the lights in the dark creek water.

I began working on the painting "Christmas Lights on Shem Creek" from drawings and photos back in the light and warmth of my studio. Here's a quick look into my studio set up for working in pastels.

My pastel taboret is custom built to hold many different types of pastels and drawing materials.

It's a design developed by master pastel artist, Daniel Greene, with whom I studied in New York.

The base of the taboret is made from an antique cast iron drawing stand that was used by the Charleston sculptor, Willard Hirsch, with whom I also studied.

When working in pastels I often use prepared pastel panels such as Ampersand pastel boards. I use many layers of pastel, often working into them with water and bristle brushes. I've found panels are sturdier than paper supports when using these vigorous pastel techniques.

For this painting, I used a grey sanded panel. I began with a light drawing in a mid tone, grey hard pastel to reserve the "tooth" of the painting surface for additional layers of softer pastel.

I worked from mid to lighter and darker values to establish the composition, checking often in a mirror to correct drawing errors and adjust my values.

A folded newspaper "dust catcher" under my forward tilted painting keeps excess pastel dust from falling onto the floor where it can become a toxic hazard if tracked around by shoes.
Barrier cream or plastic gloves are useful to keep pastel dust off my hands.

Although safeguards are important when working with pastels and the dust they produce, modern production techniques and less toxic pigments have made them safer to use.

The purity of the pigments and intensity of color in pastel paintings makes them well worth the extra effort in care and handling.

A Snowy Egret (aka: White Heron) Woodcut Intaglio Print by Katherine Schneider

This hand rubbed woodcut is a fine art intaglio print of  A Snowy Egret  also known as a white heron. It can be found in shallow waterways and ponds throughout the Carolina Lowcountry.

Patient hunters, these beautiful birds can be seen stalking minnows and fiddlers crabs on their long stilt like legs.

In my woodcut painting, an egret stands among the tall marsh grass as tidal waters fill the area.

"Marsh Watch"
Image size: 12" x 10"
Paper size: 22"x 15"
Price: $225.00

This hand rubbed woodcut painting is an artists proof of a small series of hand pressed paintings on French Rives BFK paper.