The second is an icon of St Victoria. I chose this subject because I painted it to give to a friend for the baptism of her baby daughter, Victoria. It is much smaller, about 10 inches long and painted on good quality watercolour paper. This took me about eight hours to paint. St Victoria according to the source I read, died in 304 and lived in Italy. When she refused marriage and to sacrifice to pagan gods because of her faith, she was martyred (that is why she is holding a cross in the icon). The guard converted because of her witness to the faith and was himself martyred.
It is interesting to not that my source makes two observations. First is that very little is known about her life, and secondly that the story that we do have is 'probably a pious myth, though they did actually live'. I would love know why this final comment is made. I might be wrong, but the word 'probably' makes this sound like the historical-critical method at work to me. Historical-critical analysis is an overly skeptical form of analysis that assumes that something is untrue unless confirmed by historical evidence. So by this method, the main source of this information, which is tradition, is not accepted as a valid source of information. I prefer to work the other way around and assume that tradition is true unless proven otherwise. So in the absence of any other information I say wholeheartedly, St Victoria pray for us!