"Unto Us" by Miriam McClung, 1985. Pastel on board. 48" x 60". Framed.
"Unto Us" by Miriam McClung, 1985. Pastel on board. 48" x 60". Framed.

Part 2: Unto Us and Birmingham

This work depicts the biblical story of Christ’s birth with Crestline Village in Birmingham, Alabama as the backdrop for the scene.

Miriam says, “I again was influenced by a show at the Birmingham Museum. The work of William Dunlap with all the letters and words mixed into a Civil War work made a real impression. It was the first of many pastels done with words.”

“This painting “Unto Us” started out in the oven of color and landscape around Birmingham. I had done a pastel of Crestline Village from the Tot Lot with all its huge red oaks, The Steeple Arts Building, and figures of the mothers and children in the playground in the fall.”

“A year later before Christmas, I was thinking of the wonderful passage from Isaiah “Unto Us a Child is Born, Unto us a son is given” and decided to use the Crestline background for the theme. From memory and a few photographs, the pastel was made. I remember dragging out this piece of Masonite each morning for the limited hour I had free, and reading the printed words as I went along.”

“The Tot Lot became the stable, the Steeple Arts became the Inn where there was no room and from the side of Am South Bank came the three wise men.
The stable was visited by ordinary men and Mary and Joseph were inside the little shed with the new baby Jesus. There were many cold mornings outside working and that is reflected in the blue colors.”

This work is one of three in the series.