Last year I decided to create a St.Nicholas canvas inspired by iconic images of the saint. Born Greek in the 4th century, he became the Bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey. That initial idea developed into three canvases: Byzantine St.Nicholas, Holly St.Nicholas, and Snow St.Nicholas.
Two of the canvases have just returned from the finisher, The Big Finish, and I am thrilled. ‘Snow’ is still in the stitching stage.
Each of the three ( 9″x 22″ on 18 count) has a different palette and elements, but several aspects remain the same: the crozier, the miter, the halo, and the crosses between the shoulders. All have the same Gothic arch silhouette.
Above is Byzantine St.Nicholas, inspired by ancient mosaics, with a palette of gold, purple, ruby, emerald, and sapphire. (I’m sorry the color in these photos looks “washed out”. The fibers are vibrant.)
His miter looks a bit like a fur hat, and in his left hand he carries a candle, symbolic of Jesus, The Light of the World. There is a small cross at the very top. Below you can see the detail of the “jewels” in the crozier.
Below is the beautiful Bargello purple coat and some of the crosses in the front panel.
The second canvas is Holly St.Nicholas. Red and green and white are prominent on a black background. I had fun turkey tufting the “ermine”, and beading the tiny berries on the hanging mistletoe.
A descending dove holds a sprig of mistletoe overhead, and a dove nestles in his mitten. There are large holly leaves, vines and berries around the figure, and small beaded holly leaves down the frontispiece as well.
The third canvas is Snow St.Nicholas. Under a canopy of snow covered branches and the guiding star, he comforts a young deer. A snow hare rests at his feet. This depiction reminds me of the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.
My original idea was to have a pale blue background with white snowflakes. After trying half a dozen different stitches, I decided to cover the background with a snowflake pattern in blue Silk Lame Braid, but white snowflakes on blue sky would be beautiful. On the frontispiece are beaded snowflakes as well as crosses.
His halo is a beautiful laid pattern with beads, and his miter is the most traditional shape of the three canvases. I am working on creating stitch guides for all 3 canvases and painting master canvases to send to Dream House, so that these canvases will be available to you.
I had a fantastic time stitching these three saints, and I hope you do, too.