Monday, December 22, 2014

12 Days of Christmas

Hello Everyone,

I hope that everyone is getting prepared for this joyous season which is now upon us. Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of the year, but as a child I always got somewhat depressed on the night of December 25th because I thought it was all over. As an adult, I learned that December 25th was actually the beginning of Christmas, whereas the time before is known as Advent. Traditionally, as the song says, Christmas lasts for 12 days, beginning on the 25th. I wish I would have known that as a child.

The Southeastern Wildlife Expo is celebrating this with their exhibition of The 12 Days of SEWE Christmas. While the exhibition is happening well after the Christmas season, it promises to be one of the most unique exhibitions to ever happen in the field of wildlife art. I have the honor of being selected as the artist to create all 12 paintings for this one-of-a-kind exhibition that will happen from February 13-15, 2015 in Charleston, SC at the Charleston Place hotel.

So far I have eight of the paintings completed, and only a few have been revealed to the public. Below are some of the paintings with an explanation as to how they correspond to the song The 12 Days of Christmas. The entire set will be featured at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo, along with some of my other newest paintings. The 12 Days paintings will be sold via silent auction, and you can bid on the entire set or an individual painting. All paintings are 9"x12", oil on linen panel, and will be framed identically. If you are interested in placing an early bid on any of the 12 Days paintings, please let me know. I hope to see you at SEWE to celebrate with me this incredible honor of being selected to create this once in a lifetime exhibition. Have a Merry Christmas!


Jason Tako

12 Days of SEWE Christmas
Three French Hens
Pretty self explanatory, I saw these hens in central Pennsylvania in a barn. It was a joy to paint them with their simple yet beautiful soft feathers. I combined soft and hard edges to create a pleasing variety of textures in this painting.

12 Days of SEWE Christmas
Four Calling Birds
In my research on the song The 12 Days of Christmas, I learned that the song has gone through numerous lyrical transitions since its first known documentation in the 18th century. The original version of the song was not "four calling birds" but "four colly birds," which was a regional English expression for "black." These immature ravens have both bases covered.

12 Days of SEWE Christmas
Six Geese a Laying
I couldn't think of a better goose to show in a Christmas-themed painting than Snow Geese. These geese are resting/laying on the shoreline of a pond. Once again this painting shows a beautiful handling of edges and values.

12 Days of SEWE Christmas
Seven Swans a Swimming
Once again pretty self explanatory, this was actually the first painting I did for the series. This painting combines palette knife work with soft brushwork and has received praise from both artists and collectors alike. The swans are painted in a manner not usually seen in wildlife art.

12 Days of SEWE Christmas
Eight Maids a Milking
This one may make you scratch you head a little and is probably the last thing you would think of when you hear "Eight Maids a Milking." Applying the phrase to wildlife art was a challenge until I learned that female Monarch butterflies love milkweed blossoms for laying eggs in. I guess if they are laying eggs then technically they would not be maids, but it was close so I went with it.

12 Days of SEWE Christmas
Ten Lords a Leaping
I agonized for a long time on what I would do for this phrase in the song. Some people suggested lions but you usually wouldn't see 10 male lions in one place jumping over something. In Wyoming, I saw some mule deer leaping over a fence and it clicked. One use of the word "lord" in Renaissance times was to refer to someone of the male gender. After the rut, deer will eventually form back into bachelor groups. This shows the last of 10 bucks jumping over a ranch fence.

Other paintings available

Absaroka Elk Study
While in Wyoming, I saw a large bull elk while wandering around the Absaroka mountains late in the evening. This painting expresses the feeling I had while in the vast wilderness as night quickly approached.
9x12, oil on linen panel
$1,000, framed
Contact Jason at to inquire.

Thunder on the Prairie
The prairie is known for incredible storms, and bison are a trademark of the American west. The word "thunder" has a double meaning, for both the storm and the sound of bison roaming the prairie.
18x24, oil on linen
$3,000, framed
Contact Jason at to inquire.

Blue Barn and Hay Bales
This was such a unique and beautiful barn, how often do you see blue barns? Its color was a perfect compliment for the surrounding late autumn foliage and rust on the aluminum roof.
12x24, oil on linen
$2,600, framed
Contact Highlands Art Gallery at 908-766-2720 to inquire.

One Last Look
Almost every morning we were visited by mule deer at the cabin we were staying at while in Wyoming. This beautiful buck arrived toward the end of our stay. Mule deer are well known for their tendency to look back one last time before running off. Of course this tendency doesn't help them during hunting season. I have been asked which scenario applies in this painting. I leave that up to the viewer to decide.
18x24, oil on linen
$3,000, framed
Contact Jason at to inquire.


Jennifer Marie Lawrence said...

Jason, these are all very beautiful! The maids milking is just perfect! I love Monarch butterflies - I'll never look at that part of the song the same way again! Congratulations on your exciting opportunity!

Kimberlee said...

Shucks, these are all awesome, Jason! Congratulations on this most unique honor and opportunity. They are all so beautiful. I like how the song prompted you to think outside numerous boxes, including your own usual subjects. The monarch ladies are so lovely, and the birds are ALL stunning. We, too, will now think of the song when monarchs return to our milkweed in summer.
It would be so fabulous if some (wealthy!) collector could purchase the whole set and keep them together. Again, congratulations on so much gorgeous artwork!

Kimberlee said...

And Merry Christmas to you and yours!