Logo for 2020 Christmas in Doylestown

The Christmas in Doylestown House Tour, run by the hard-working volunteers at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church since 1992, needed to be re-imagined this year to accommodate social distancing. The highly-anticipated Tour is a holiday tradition for many in the Central Bucks area, allowing delighted attendees of years past to wander through four beautifully-decorated and designed homes in the center of a town filled with historic buildings. Throughout the years the House Tour has raised more than $193,700 for the Bucks County Housing Group to support the Doylestown Homeless Shelter.

My original logo for Christmas in Doylestown, which took place mostly during daylight hours, was this:

The team in charge this year has come up with a number of alternate activities to keep patrons entertained and healthy at the same time, and they hope to still raise some funds for the Homeless Shelter. To avoid crowds, the tour will be primarily in the evening, where anyone can drive or walk down the designated streets to see beautifully lit grand houses from outdoors. There may be entire streets of homes that will participate, so it should be quite a show! This outdoor tour will be free, though donations will be gratefully accepted on behalf of the Bucks County Housing Group.

In addition, St. Paul’s will still hold its popular Christmas Attic sale – with a twist – where shoppers can find great bargains on all sorts of holiday decorations. To keep this safe for patrons, the sale will take place as an online auction.

I updated this year’s logo with suggestions from the CID team, to reflect the changes for 2020, and I think it still makes an eye-catching design –

For further info on this December’s Christmas in Doylestown and Christmas Attic, and to learn how to donate to the Bucks County Housing Group, click HERE.

Illumination for the Lord’s Prayer

I was asked by the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, a lovely gem of a church in Doylestown, to create an ‘illumination’ around the Lord’s Prayer, which a friend had scripted in calligraphy for him. (I was happy not to have to letter it, that’s not my forte!) The illuminated piece was to be given as a gift to a retiring churchwarden.

illuminated_manuscriptTraditional illumination uses symbols and design elements to decoratively frame a piece of writing, like this one from the 1400s. Many illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages onward were created by monks copying the Bible, and so contain many examples of religious imagery, as well as animals and plants from nature. Since the printing press was not in general use then, hand-copying was the only method of reproducing the Bible.

To design my illumination I placed a print out of the calligraphy on 11″x 14″ paper, which was the size requested, and since there was a good bit of room near the bottom of the page, I drew a decorative border of lilies on the sides, leading to an illustration at the bottom of the page. I reread Matthew:6 and thought a Sermon on the Mount illustration would fit well, so I penciled in a drawing of Jesus speaking to a gathering crowd on a mountainside.

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This design was approved with minor changes by the priest and others in the parish he consulted.  I filled in a quick color version using colored pencils –

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I had my local printer, Cortineo Creative, print the calligraphy file on 4 different types of paper, to see which would best take the color washes I planned to use. Once I decided on a linen-weave paper, they printed the prayer centered on the 11 x 14″ sheet, and I transferred my drawing using a lightbox, and drew and painted the finished art.

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The framed art made a beautiful and meaningful gift for the churchwarden, and I am thrilled to use my God-given talent to memorialize this beautiful prayer.

Illustration of a Charming Episcopal Church

stpaulsstpledetailmottlMy friends at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Doylestown asked me to paint a keepsake for their much loved pastor. The pastor and her husband, also an Episcopal priest, will retire to their new home out-of-state soon; so in thinking about what they would want to remember of their time here, I settled on an illustration of this beautiful 1840s church building. But to make it something unique to this couple, I wanted to depict a specific event and also include the people of the congregation. I think any parish member knows that while the church building may be the body of this worshiping community, the people are its heart and soul.

I chose to illustrate the Easter Vigil procession.  Every year on the evening before Easter Sunday, the parishioners start this service around sunset in the columbarium garden, and walk solemnly around the outside of the church – a lovely tradition demonstrating the sacred importance of the holy day to come.

mottlsk1I made a little sketch to start off my concept. I knew I had to get good reference for the building and also the vestments and accessories of the procession, so I went over to the church and snapped some photos.  I saw I’d probably have to move my view to the right, instead of the head-on view in my first composition, to get the entire train of clergy, servers and choir and also the congregation wrapping around the corner of the building. I met with a friend on the altar guild, who showed me some of the vestments and gave me important details of the procession.

With this photographic reference, I drew a pencil sketch of the church on one piece of paper and sketched out the figures on an overlay of tracing paper. This way I could move the figures around to get the best effect for the placement of the procession. Originally I had thought to place the crucifix, which is carried by the crucifer leading the line, against the red church doors; then I realized it would not stand out much in color, and that the lighted Pascal Candle would stand out much better.

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I colored a photocopy of the sketch roughly with colored pencils. I made sure to include the incense from the thurible, a few birds perched on and circling the roof, and the hint of the red geraniums that the pastor plants annually along this side of the church.

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Tomorrow I’ll conclude showing the process of the finished art.