Our Hebe is a calligrapher, letter-cutter in stone and general jobbing artist. The masonry where she does much of her letter-cutting is attached to A.C. Towner funeral directors.
Ed Towner is a lay reader at St Matthews Anglican church just along the road from where we live, and at Christmas time Towners has a crib scene filling the whole window.
The stable was made by Duncan Brown (one of the funeral directors who also makes beautiful sacred objets d'art) and Stephen Groves a one-time Anglo-Catholic priest, now a Roman Catholic. Hebe painted and gilded the 'Puer natus est pro nobis' ('For us a child is born') on the front edge of the nativity, and the little holly leaves on either side of the lettering.
Then this year she was asked to paint a backdrop to stand behind it. She has painted the town of Bethlehem just before sunrise. The exposure of the picture means you get the impression the sky is pale blue: in fact it is dawn colours of luminous rose and gold as well as soft blues deepening into mystery, and in the sky can be seen the stars that would have been visible at dawn on the day Jesus was born, including the constellation of the Southern Cross which she has painted over the stable.
I'll see if we can get a photo that shows the sky better, and add it on.