‘The Month Ahead’ for The National Post
Tomorrow’s edition of The National Post will feature my illustration for the ‘Month Ahead’ calendar on the cover of the Arts & Life section, many thanks to AD Geneviève Biloski for the gig. The brief was wide-open, the theme being ‘December’.
As it happened, shortly before the commission I had received an email from my father in New Brunswick with photos of his lovely country house under a thick blanket of snow and was itching to draw the scene. The detail that jumped out at me most was the bird house, weighed down with snow and nicely mirroring the cabin behind it. In the end I used an old-fashioned Austrian ‘Almhütte’ rather than the cabin on my dad’s land.
The main figure, more intended as a kind of Old Man Winter character than a Santa Claus, also owes a lot of its look to my Austrian surroundings. The differences between the Austrian Christmas celebrations and those I’ve grown up with have piqued my interest in the earlier ‘pre- Hallmark’ traditions, and while a certain Santa-ness was almost inevitable with this character I have tried to steer away from the big red Coca Cola Santa.
The piece is very tall and thin (over 20 inches in height) so I’ve posted it in a reduced format at right, but below is a larger version. Despite all the very legitimate critiques of Christmas consumerism, I still love Christmas time, and I’m waiting eagerly for the first good snowfall here in Austria, so I was very happy to have the chance to indulge my love of winter with this job.