This was something I’d painted in NY but didn’t have a chance to post. It’s yet another bottle holder doll (don’t worry, I’m working on a more traditional nesting doll at the moment and am really excited about it…)

I always love the idea of clueless relatives giving questionable gifts to children—be it a box of epsom salt or a crossbow. Here Uncle Drosselmeyer has given his niece Clara a doll which also doubles as a kitchen utensil  for Christmas in “The Nutcracker.”

I came across an original version of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, by E.T.A Hoffman. It was quite dark and not full of whimsy like the ballet…Let’s just say I was dreaming of vicious rats with gnashing teeth and glowing red eyes for many a night upon reading this book!

…I took the dreams as an omen to paint the rats on this piece.