Daddy's Christmas Angel

Friday, December 21, 2018

An Angel Painting for Christmas

A few years ago, I started creating a work of art for our Christmas cards. Perhaps it all began when our children were small, and I carved a wooden block with two angels for a print. They represented the two young children, Allison and Alicia, we had at the time. Later, I wished I could add a third angel to the woodcut, but that wasn't possible. In more recent years with the use of my camera, computer and printer, I have tried to use the media and process in which I am working at the time to make my Christmas angels. A lot of those paintings have been small works on paper. Some have been larger, more abstract pieces created with watercolor on Yupo.

"Angel of the Valiant Cross" ©Mary Montague Sikes
This year, I decided not to work in my current processes of mixed media on paper and/or canvas or cold wax on board. I wanted a more traditional angel, so I painted her with Golden acrylics on a 20" x 16" gallery stretched canvas. Since adding texture to my paintings has become an important part of my work, I developed gold and silver halos with incised lines patterned in. The wings are textured as well. Also, I couldn't help but use my ink roller to print bubble wrap designs on the angel's gown.

The lovely crystal cross my daughter, Amy, gave me served as the model for the "Valiant Cross" my angel is wearing. Because I had just watched a movie about Winston Churchill, who praised the young men landing on the beaches on D Day for their valor, the cross became the "Valiant Cross".

So my 2018 angel was born on a blank canvas. For me, her silent presence brings meaning and joy to a world too often unaware of the goodness that can exist and the beauty we might see.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What Is the Glow of Sedona?

"Coffee Pot Rock Formation" ©Mary Montague Sikes
In November, my husband and I spent two weeks in Sedona, Arizona. As we completed the two-hour drive from Phoenix, we saw the iconic red rocks rise up on the horizon ahead. And we felt the glow of the desert mountains.

The Sedona landscape encompasses and touches us like no other place on earth. Peace and quiet surrounds us as the dark night sky approaches. In Uptown Sedona where we spent the first few days, there are no street lamps, so it is exceptionally dark. Flashlights are provided at the Hyatt where we were guests.

"Bell Rock" ©Mary Montague Sikes
Years ago, when we first visited Sedona, silence surrounded us everywhere we went. There were many fewer restaurants, and the vortexes were quiet places without hoards of visitors.

Things have changed. Roads are wider now, with many "round-abouts".

When we visited in 2014, I was disappointed and worried because the highway construction confused the landscape and changed the "feel" of the area. I feared that civilization had encroached too far, and the Sedona glow would never be the same.

I was wrong. This time, the highway construction was gone, replaced by a more peaceful glow. The roadways seemed more congested than in the past, but there were places where respite from the everyday trauma could be found.

Looking into the sky over Bell Rock, I discovered the image of an angel, flying high above the formation. Perhaps the angel is symbolic of the glow of Sedona. Perhaps it explains a little of what the glow is all about.


Perhaps I shall return and question the meaning of the glow one more time. Perhaps I will see more and understand at last why so many are called to the Red Rock Country. Perhaps then, I shall have no need to ask, "What is the Glow of Sedona?".