Before the craziness of the Christmas season overtakes us….take a little deep breath and remember the reason for the season.

I know for most of my readers, what I call the “onslaught” of the season hasn’t begun yet – that’s most often closer to Thanksgiving and then in earnest in December. But in my world….it’s already halfway through!

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I’ve been making videos for Christmas cards for a few months, putting together classes that take months to go from concept to filming to launch. My tag series takes a lot of energy and concentration to organize and pull off. And while I’m still “behind” on getting enough cards made, I’m nearing that familiar precipice where I want to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head! Most folks hit that around December 20th….but I needed to take a deep breath now and be ready for the last couple weeks. Today’s card was that deep breath.

The color theory behind this card

My vision for this card was to create a view from the inside of the Inn where Joseph and Mary were coming to knock on the door…with this stamp being one of those with the heads cut off, creative solutions are needed! The setting in my mind was nighttime, with strong light of the moon shining on the travelers.

I built up the coloring in layers; Joseph’s outfit is colored in E8’s —a rarity to even use those colors, but they’re a nicely desaturated brown. Mary’s outfit in B9’s didn’t end up dark enough when in context with the whole image, so B99 was added in a later layer to darken up the shadows.

The soil in the foreground is more saturated in color; the whole ground area began with E55 but the distant ground needed to be greyed out, so it was knocked back with N4; the sky was also far too garish for the scene so grey covered that as well. E7s darkened the land in the foreground to add deeper shadows and more punch; E5s proved to be too bright with that E55, so I stepped it down in saturation.

Layout-wise I left extra foreground in to put some distance between the Inn and the travelers; the stamp has no lines down in that area but marker work made up that distance. The figures’ placement at the top of the window makes them passers-by; had they filled the window completely, the story wouldn’t have been told as well.