For the Love of The Nutcracker

The Stahlbaums’ Christmas Party, 2020, oil on canvas, 38.1 x 76.2 cm, 15 x 30 in, $450

The magic of The Nutcracker has been part of my family’s holiday celebrations for ten years now. Two of my daughters joined the cast of our local production when they were 7 years old. Every year, rehearsals would begin in the summer, and continue until the performance at our gorgeous local theatre in early December, right around now.

Painting of Clara dancing with the Nutcracker Prince.
Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, 2020, oil on canvas, 61 x 61 cm, 24 x 24 in, $575.

I’ve always loved the extravagant beauty of this classic tale. From the glamour of holiday parties of a seemingly more civilized time, to the courage of young Clara in defeating the evil Mouse King, the tender and innocent love between Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, and the magical fantasy world of the Sugar Plum Fairy, not to mention the heart-swelling Tchaikovsky and other-worldly ballet performances, well, the magic of this show has been a joy in our lives that I will love forever.

This was to be my daughters’ senior year in the production. It has been wonderful to work behind the scenes alongside so many creative, talented and dedicated volunteers. I miss everyone this year.

So this December, when we were to be overwhelmed with meetings, rehearsals, costume repairs and backstage preparations, instead I work on this series of paintings, to celebrate the culmination of our 10 years of love and dedication to this timeless work of art, The Nutcracker Ballet. Stay tuned to and social media accounts for my next work: Dance of the Snowflake Fairies.

Wishing comfort and joy, and a magical holiday season to all.


  1. Carol Pippy

    Love it-so beautiful!


  2. I feel as though if you were to make reproductions of these gems, you would have a very high demand for them!!
    They are beautiful and mean so much.


  3. I feel like I am standing at the front of the stage !
    Watching carefully as our dancers strive for perfection, and ultimately being drawn into the story. Your paintings have the warmth and the immediacy of the performance Darlene ! Congratulations ! A wonderful Nutcracker experience ! Thank you !


    1. What a beautiful message, Mrs. Logan, thank you! We are so grateful we were able to be part of your gorgeous production.


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