Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

The 2011 Vander Stelt Gazette

It is hard to believe another year has passed us by again. We have a lot to be thankful for here at the Vander Stelt household and looking back on the year we have some really great memories. If you click on the photo above, the link is suppose to open a copy of our annual Christmas newsletter. I'm not sure if I got the code embedded correctly, so if it doesn't work I guess you're out of luck.

I need to admit that every year I complain and threaten that this is going to be the last year I write it because it is too much work. We send out more of these than I'd care to admit. I suppose it is my yearly contribution to help save the United States Postal Service.

This is the 23rd consecutive year for the Gazette. We always save at least a couple copies of each issue, and each year when I begin writing, I grab all the old issues to get inspired and to reminisce a bit. It always brings a smile to my face as I read stories of the vacations we have taken or of the things the kids have done over the years.

Typically we start working on the content a week or two after Thanksgiving, and try to publish by mid-December. It has always been a two page document, but it started in black and white 23 years ago and in 2000 it was upgraded to color. You can also see the improvements in computer technology, printing and probably my design skills because looking back at some of the early issues, they look pretty crude in style compared to issue 23. But even though it is 23 years later, it is still an awful lot of work. Maybe I'll give up doing it next year.

Merry Christmas from the Vander Stelts

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Angels' Song

It's hard to believe that Christmas is less than three weeks away. Our little town is rather known in the area as a place to come and view outdoor Christmas lighting and displays. I have shown some of my lawn displays in the past, and decided to paint a new one this year.

I also thought it might be fun to take a few snapshots of it as it progressed so you could see how it developed. Above you can see the first shot I took.

This is at the point where I started to block in the fiery bright angelic colors. It started to come to life a bit more at this point.

Here is a close-up at an early stage of a shepherd's face. This particular shepherd is probably my favorite. I didn't put a lot of time into any of the figures, mostly because people are almost always driving past and viewing it from the road. Viewing from that distance forgives a lot of errors.

This is a closeup of the lower part of the angel. This was probably the most fun to paint. Free flowing paint and brilliant colors.

We put it out in the front yard on Wednesday of last week. The paint was not fully dry, but we put it out anyway. It snowed 3-4 inches this weekend, so it looks really nice surrounded by a fresh layer of the white stuff.

The Angels' Song
Here is a little better look at the entire finished piece. It is what I would call a very traditional interpretation of this scene–one you might see in a Sunday school classroom. I think people are drawn to the traditional images and music that permeate the Christmas season.

If you are in the area, I invite you to come view the lights as well as the new painting at the Vander Stelts.