I have been busy designing Christmas cards for my Zazzle shop and have done a slew using this digital painting of a beautiful wreath made of dried oranges (both slices and whole), cinnamon sticks, star anise, and white tipped pine cones on a twig frame. The colour was hard to capture in a photo due to lighting but you get the basic picture. Like everything in Zazzle, the words both on the outside and inside of the card, as well as the placement of the image, can be customized. For example, you can change the colour and font.
So far in my Zazzle store online, this item has sold better than the others within the Christmas category. If you visit the link, you’ll see that the back is completely customizable so you can change the color of the background and write whatever text you like, such as “Smith Family trip to Scotland, 2017”. I like this photo of the famous Old Course since we rarely have snow here in St Andrews. Continue reading “St Andrews Golf Christmas Ornament”→
This is the St Andrews Castle and Castle Sands on a tranquil late autumn day. The castle must have been pretty nice in its day but now is sadly badly ruined. There is a siege mine underneath that has a cool history.
The story is that in 1546, the cruel Cardinal David Beaton, whose residence was the castle, burnt the Protestant preacher George Wishart at the stake out in front of the castle. This very public execution was a spark to intensify the wars of the Reformation in Scotland.
The Protestant friends of Wishart (including several lairds of the area), snuck inside the castle dressed as masons since there was construction going on at the time there. The Cardinal was stabbed and his naked body hung from a high tower window facing the front of the street. These Protestants began to occupy the castle and then were attacked by supporters of the Cardinal, primarily the Regent, the Earl of Arran.
The famous Protestant preacher John Knox, who was primarily responsible for the Scottish Reformation, was smuggled into the castle to be the minister for the defenders. The besiegers could not breach the walls after a long struggle and so began to dig a tunnel under the gatehouse to get in from below. When that was discovered, the defenders began to dig a counter-mine to meet it. Both mines were cut through solid rock. The defenders tried three times to reach directly to the mine since they were guided only by the sound of the pickaxes. Finally the fight was joined as the tunnels met yet the defenders were able to keep the invaders out. It took a French force to bombard the castle with powerful canons for the castle to surrender. The defenders were either imprisoned in France or sent to the galleys, as John Knox was.
The tunnels were only rediscovered in 1879 and you can go there today, and as I did last year, to creep down the clammy, cramped tunnels and imagine the hard labour it took to carve them. The attackers’ side is smooth, decently large (for a hand carved tunnel) and the defenders’ side is very narrow and jagged. Rank moss grows inside the tunnel and there is a constant drip of water from the walls. Not for those who are claustrophobic! You can see in the paving stones in front of the castle the initials of George Wishart made of cobble stones.
A friend who is starting a local Community Hub asked me to design their logo. Their proposed charity involves gathering many different types of charitable organizations in one building to serve many needs in the less affluent members of our town. This would include: food bank, clothes bank, job training, financial counseling, a cafe that serves healthy and inexpensive meals, mental health support groups, and more. The pieces of the “pie” in this logo represents the different branches of this hub. I hand wrote the name for a more distinctive look. It’s a work in progress. Continue reading “Community Hub Logo”→
New realist digital painting of mine that I made into a greeting card. In local stores I often see beautiful wreaths made with dried oranges and cinnamon sticks and they inspired me to paint this. I like the contrast between the vivid oranges and the dark green-blue wood background and love the textures of the pine cones and fruit. Great for any occasion in autumn or winter, but especially Christmas. I hope you enjoy it! Continue reading “Orange, Cinnamon and Pine Cone Wreath Zazzle Card”→