Fine Art Inspired Holiday Cards - 2022


Camel - 18th - 19th C - Jaipur India - MET card

Every year, I create a set of holiday cards for my close friends and family. This year, I was inspired by Hieronymus Bosch but when I went to find images to copy, I fell down two rabbit holes: Camels from the MET and creature drawing from Books of Hours.

Camel - India

This is a multimedia card, created with watercolour paper, acrylic paint, some marker and gel pen, and modpodge. The image comes from a  photograph of a beautiful black and white miniature from the Metropolitan Museum site. Here’s the link to the original. The MET piece is Indian in origin, possibly from Jaipur. It was created by an unknown artist in the 18th or 19th century. I have imagined colour for the piece but the original is gold “enameled with champlevé, lacquered and set with diamond chips.”

Camel - China

A second multimedia card. The original is gold, so I used a variety of gold, yellow, and white paint. The card is watercolour paper, acrylic paint, some marker and pen and gel pen, and modpodge.

The MET describes the piece as being from North China from the 2nd – 1st Century BCE. See the original here. I love the way the artist fit the camel into the frame. It’s so neat to look back and see someone’s playful idea. I have given it a blue background to highlight the orange tones of the gold.


Here’s the first of three green bug cards inspired by a Book of Hours published in 1524. I stumbled on some references to Bosch influences. I found this amazing scan. The colour scheme is red and green for Christmas… except I split the green on the colour wheel to get it’s secondaries, orange and purple. And then I tinted the red… because pink is basically red, right? So, um, I’m not a fan of complementary colours. The creatures were created seperately. They’re painted and then inked. The card uses marker and gel pen.

Snail in the Window

The second Green Bug card. This one stared as a perspective drawing as a window. Again, that amazing Book of Hours. Very Christmasy, no?

Vine Snail

The third Green Bug card. This one is a little plainer. I added an extra bug to the back. Again, that amazing Book of Hours. Lots of rectangles in this one. I wanted to reference the big letters in the Book but ended up really getting into squares. Typical.

Strange Man

Strange Man from Book of Hours - outside
The Scanned Image removes all the pink! I've always found this effect so odd.

This one is bigger and weirder. My son thinks the strange man is “ew”. He is a bit. He is part of the Maastricht Book of Hours. Well, he’s a friendlier version of that creature. He was the beginning of the rabbit hole, actually, as I found him looking for Bosch inspirations.

Yellow Frog Card

Yellow card - inside close-up
This is a close-up of the inside of the card

This one is my first creature and my last piece. I love this funny little medieval frog. He’s so… not cute that he’s cute. And I love his lily pads. Good thing I didn’t start with this idea or I’d have ended up with 7 of the same. I really enjoyed making this. My poor mom! I think this would be the one she wanted if it wasn’t so… yellow.

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