Children at Christmas Collection Erik's Delight by Donald Zolan.

Children at Christmas Collection - -Erik's Delight- by Donald Zolan. Issued for Christmas 1983. Third issue in the series.
Plate size approx 10.25 inches.
Suggested Retail $80.00

This is a picture I had thought of doing for years, and this Christmas series gave me the perfect opportunity. Erik is my son and my first child, and I'll never forget how he was this particular Christmas morning.

He was twenty-one months old, and he came downstairs in his new red-and-white pajamas and found a giant Christmas tree all decorated in the living room. His eyes grew wide and he just stared at all the ornaments and lights for a moment. He must have thought he was still asleep or dreaming. Then he walked straight over to one gold ball and touched it. He seemed fascinated by its shininess and silky texture.

It stayed one of his favorites for years, even though it started to get frayed.

I don't think I've ever worked so hard at getting the right expression on a face. I wanted Erik's face to show the wonder he's feeling at discovering Christmas for the first time. I especially wanted his eyes to convey that sense of awe that Christmas seems to bring to very young children.

I used translucent glazes, especially rosy tints, over the basic flesh tones to give the skin a look of youth and freshness. I painted the lips slightly parted to show how intently he's concentrating. It was hard to get just the right expression in the eyes. They had to be focusing directly on the gold ball, with a wide-eyed, wondering look.

Painting the Christmas decorations was like an artist's holiday for me. I had fun using so many different colors and textures. I wanted to give the painting a festive look. I deliberately left the background somewhat sketchy in order to keep attention on Erik and the gold ornament.

When Erik grows up. I hope he'll be able to look at this and remember how he felt that first time he discovered Christmas. I know it will help me remember how I felt when I saw him.
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