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Along The Shunga Trail Oil Painting By The GYPSY

The Artists Life: Along The Shunga Trail


Oil Painting By Romani American Artist J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

I get bored easy. Because I get bored I have to constantly be doing something which may explain my artistic nature. I create to keep my hands, eyes and mind from becoming too idle. But I do not create the same things over and over again for to do that would once again bring me back full circle to boredom. So it is that as I create I explore. I explore new ways of doing what I do best; Create art.
When I was a child growing up in Topeka, Kansas I explored not knowing that my explorations would bring about a lifelong need to see what was behind a closed door or around the next bend in the road. Growing up always near or by the Shunganunga creek which meanders through the Capitol City afforded me many opportunities to explore, learn and reach out to a world I would embrace not only as a child but also as an adult.
Long before Shawnee County Parks and Recreations conceived of a pathway following the Shunganunga there were those, like myself, that knew of and explored the many twists and turns that ran alongside the creek. Shawnee County did not create the Shunga Trail, it has always been there since the beginning of time; all they did was to cover it with concrete and put up pretty signs.
So it was as I started out to create my painting, “Along The Shunga Trail” that I sat out to explore a new path I had not traveled before. I usually will create the background for my paintings using acrylics. They are fast drying and allow me to move ahead quickly with my oils on the foreground. With this painting though I had in mind to create the entire scene using oils and a pallet knife. Unfortunately for me however that exploration led me down a path that I did not enjoy.
I laid the canvas to one side and stepped away from it, my attention drawn off on to other adventures and other artistic explorations. Then one day I placed the canvas back onto my easel and let it occupy my mind for a few days. I let it call to me, pleading to be explored and finished. Today I answered it’s call.
Forever the explorer I looked at the path I was to create and follow and thought to myself; What can I do different? Looking at the textures the failed attempt with the pallet knife had left on the canvas a solution came to mind. I determined that the best way to forge this trail was to create the scene with one brush. When I paint I usually use a large assortment of brushes to complete a painting especially when I am painting a scene. Yet this day I would attempt to explore my memories using one simple brush; a number 6 half inch flat synthetic bristle brush.
As I child I would poke and prod at the tadpoles and crawdads that inhabited the calm pools along the banks of the Shunganunga. As I had once poked and prodded at the creatures of the creek I poked and prodded at my canvas until I was satisfied that my hand had captured what my eye had seen within the flowing waters of my mind.
So without further ado I present to you my newest exploration; “Along The Shunga Trail”.

-The GYPSY- January 21, 2022

“Art must evoke an emotion in order to be art. If it only creates indifference then it is not art, it is garbage!”

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"Fritz Durien Hall Of Fame Warehouse" By: The GYPSY

The Artists Life: Fritz Durien’s Hall Of Fame Warehouse


Water Color on 9“ x !2” Cold Press Paper

What Carry Nation did to keep Kansas dry, Fritz Durien did to keep Kansas wet. From his Hall of Fame Saloon Topeka Barkeep Fritz Durien kept stashes of the good stuff at various locations under the floor boards of his Saloon. Not one to go down easy Ol’ Fritz fought the battle against Kansas Prohibition all the way to the high court.

The photo that this painting is based on struck me for it’s stark simplicity of an act of defiance. Fritz is not making a grand gesture rather the gesture is simple and speaks volumes. You can almost hear Fritz thoughts as he stashes his treasure; My customer’s will not go thirsty. But more importantly neither will I. 

Fritz’s battle with the government hit’s close to home for me. I also had a battle with church people and a city government that wanted to close down my little neighborhood tavern in Baxter Springs, Kansas because of the evilness of liqueur and beer. I fought the good fight but eventually grew tired and moved on. Fritz also eventually gave up the good fight, closed his Saloon and headed off to Germany. In a strange twist of ironic fate the “Hall of Fame” Saloon went from selling hard liqueur to selling soda pop after Fritz had left the building.

-The GYPSY- July 7, 2021

“Art must evoke an emotion in order to be art. If it only creates indifference then it is not art, it is garbage!”

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Sealion Women and Mermaids Doing Autopsies on Things While The Bad Ass in the Corner Looks On - Oil Painting By The GYPSY

The Artists Life: Sea Lion Women and Mermaids Doing Autopsies on Things as the Bad Ass in the Corner Looks On.

The Artists Life

“Sean Lion Women and Mermaids Doing Autopsies on Things as the Bad Ass in the Corner Looks On.” By: J. A. George AKA; The GYPSY was inspired by the writings of artist Baroness Ampersand and the sinking of the Titanic.
Inspirations From A Baroness
My friend, artist Jana Jones AKA; The Baroness Ampersand has a way with not only the tip of a brush but with the written word. She paints with vivid color in both mediums visual and literary. I sit fascinated and enthralled by all she writes because she writes of The Artists Life, as she calls it and which we now carry on with our art blogs. I understand her ramblings and can relate to the depth of the soul from which they pour for I live the Artists Life daily.
Understanding her metaphors and similes (is that redundant?), is like deciphering a foreign language for the beginning student unless of course you are fluent in that language. Which I am! For so long I did not use that language, then one day I discovered Jana and rediscovered my artists tongue. So long unused I, at first, stumbled over the phrases, words and inflections. But I am again becoming fluent with that language of cryptic images and layered meanings.
I slowly fell out of use with the language during my relationship with my first wife. She could not understand and thought that it was crazy that I insisted that she not talk with me when I was creating. My concentration was such at the time that any disturbance killed the soul of my work. She was not an artist, she did not understand. Over time my art took a back seat to the desires of my penis. My brushes and pencils laid virtually untouched for years. Once in awhile I would pick them up, brushing off the dust and cobwebs but the passion was gone and I had forgot the language and they would, before long lay again untouched.
Oh if she had just understood and had not suppressed the language what art I could have made. She was an exotic dancer and was art in motion what paintings I could have created, what magic would have been revealed upon the canvas. But alas she had no understanding and I allowed her to engulf me in her desires instead of my own. After twelve years her needs became more than I could fulfill and she, like the Succubus she is, left me to drain a new victim.
As I began to recover and was starting to rediscover the language I fell prey to another Succubus. This one envisioned herself an artist, a decorator if you will, but never understood that lime green and burgundy are not complimentary colors. She continued the draining the first demon had begun and I started to shrivel and my soul started to wane. She drank and drank until I had no more to give. She drained my emotion, she drained my passion, she drained my bank account and when all was drained that she could drain she left me, as the first one had, for her new victim.
Oh, I fought her, I strived in numerous ways to regain the language, I did not succumb easily but in the end I lost the battle. I knew I had lost the battle the day she said, I feel nothing when you touch me. Her draining was complete. She left me with, I was looking for a good father for my children and I at least accomplished that. Used, abused and thrown away I lay crumpled, broken, drained. The language was, or so it seemed, forever lost to me.
Enter the next moment in my Artist Life; Debbie. One day Debbie said to me, I wish I could paint. With those words the lock was turned within the door that held her artists soul. That door was flung wide and Debbie discovered, more and more, her own artists soul. Yet the day came when Debbie had no more use for me and tossed me aside like an old rag used to clean the paint off your brush. I was old, worn, tattered and of no further use to her.
I was crushed, my artist soul wounded and in danger of being lost forever then into my life stepped a true artist that had suffered similar triumphs and defeats as I had, someone that understood the Artist Life struggle; Raychel AKA; Mad Hatter. Being a caring beautiful Native Queen she took pity upon this poor peasant nursed and healed me at a time when I felt I was forever lost. Though neither her nor I knew it at the time, she as an artist, nourished me with her artistic soul. She fed me small amounts so that I would not become greedy and engorge myself and slowly I gained strength and started to again understand the passion and language I had lost.
As Mad Hatter breathed life back into my artists soul Jana reminded me of my native tongue. And in reminding me of that language so long forgotten she has struck up, within me, inspiration with her words. One example has already come to fruition and started with this phrase;
“A series of narrow doors, painted green, still line the side of the building, and if you don’t look too closely you can see the whores leaning on the door frames, smoking Lucky Strikes, back lit by the dim light of the interiors, calling out into what was an alleyway.”
This phrase from a writing of Jana’s inspired my painting “Whores In The Alley Smoking Their Lucky Strikes.”
Musings by Jana are the inspiration for two works I will be completing in the near future and one already completed derived from the same writing;
“Miss America contest, circa 1950, when it actually meant something and I thought about Mermaids and Sea Lion Women, and wondered where they must live, in the ocean. – I also thought of my father he is the bad ass sitting in the corner, waiting for somebody to fuck up. – And I imagined two Sea Lion Women, pecking at the drama because they like to perform autopsies on things.”
These phrases led to a work that I had, within my mind, “Sea Lion Women and Mermaids Performing Autopsies On Things As The Bad Ass In The Corner Looks On.” It took over a year to complete the painting. I kept getting blocked; my mind would not communicate with my hand and I could proceed no further. Outside of Jana’s phrases of inspiration I was missing the key element that would bring the work together. That element was found when I visited the Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri.
The next inspiration came from one of Jana’s writings in which she states;
“The local Madame DeFarge laughs and knits.”
When I show off my knowledge of Dickens Literature with a follow-up comment soaked in metaphors from “A Tale of Two Cities” Jana shoots back with;
“GYPSY I wonder if you will paint a Madame DeFarge, knitting and laughing wickedly. Don’t give her red hair. But hopefully, you’ll paint black tights with a little hole in them, on her legs.”
This has inspired a future work which is bouncing around in my head as “Madame DeFarge Laughs and Knits as Madame Guillotine Sings.” I find black tattered tights sexy so they will somehow be included in the work and whether or not the antagonistic Madame DeFarge has red hair remains to be seen.
Last at the moment, but certainly not least is a inspiration derived from a quote in one of Jana’s writings today. It seems as though the Baroness Ampersand has lost a very dear friend whose pleasant memory is a piece of her artistic soul. The memory and force of the loss is evident within the writing as you read the cryptic passage from her past;
“I’d read a book during that time that talked about The Third Reich’s entry into France . The title to the book was, Is Paris Burning? I don’t remember the contents of the book, except for one particular fact. Hitler called his general every day and asked the same question, until he got the answer yes. Is Paris burning? And I linked the three questions in my head, at the time. Every day when The Art Teacher asked, Are you still a virgin? Have you been in his bed? I would answer, Is Paris burning?”
The work that is even now germinating in my head will simply be called, “Is Paris Burning.”
Mad Hatter breathed life back into my artistic soul and Jana breathed life back into my work. Neither of these women set out to intentionally help me to rediscover my artists tongue but just by their words and actions both have helped me to rediscover the passion that lies within the language of the “Artists Life.”
Who knows what future inspiration they will give birth to within my fertile soul but I anxiously await that next rush of creative erection that will climax in what I refer to as “A Mental Ejaculation Spewing Forth Creative Juices.” Thank you for the artistic ménage trios Ladies you both leave me spent and satisfied!
“Art must evoke an emotion in order to be art. If it only creates indifference then it is not art, it is garbage!”

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Landscape Commissions

Landscape Commissions Available


Redecorating Your Office or Home? Have A Favorite Landscape Photo That You Would Like As A Painting? Do You Have A Vision Of Your Perfect Place? Then Allow One Of America’s Favorite Artists J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY To Bring Your Vison To Life By Creating A One Of A Kind Landscape Painting For You.

(785) 571-9500 –
Mespelbrunn Water Castle

Anatomy Of A Painting: Mespelbrunn Water Castle (Rework) – Part One

In this first part of a multi-part series, Anatomy Of A Painting: Mespelbrunn Water Castle (Rework), The GYPSY starts on the rework of a painting he did with his ex-wife. The series will follow the creation process as The GYPSY does a complete rework of the painting. There will be strong focus on the parts he was not satisfied with.

Paint On Print

Paint On Print

Paint On Print By J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

Paint On Print is a hybrid between an original oil or acrylic artwork and a canvas print. I order one of my oil or acrylic based prints on gallery stretched canvas. I then paint over sections of it with a lot of paint.

Each one of these Limited Editions Print On Paint pieces becomes a variation of the original work of art. It is my way to offer you an Acrylic or Oil variation of my original painting after the original has sold.

Paint On Print is not available for hand drawn art or watercolors. As a piece of Art comes available for Paint On Print it will be listed. Each Paint On Print is unique and comes with a certificate of authenticity.


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Madam Thorney: She Told Fortunes - Acrylic Painting By The GYPSY

Madam Thorney: She Told Fortunes


Acrylic On 16” x 20” Gallery Stretched Canvas
“SHE TOLD FORTUNES, This English Gypsy called Madam Thorney, and she held my right hand tight. I expected her to study my open palm; instead, she searched my face.” – Bart McDowell, National Geographic Senior Editor-


So what inspired “Madam Thorney: She Told Fortunes”? That is a long story…

When I was 15 years old my mother, Shirley Elizabeth Hummel, gave me a hard cover book she had ordered from National Geographic; ‘GYPSIES WANDERERS OF THE WORLD’. “Read this”, she said as she handed it to me, “it should answer most of your questions.” I had grown up knowing we were Gypsy and as I got older I had more and more questions. My mother suffered from mental illness and my endless questions must have been taxing on her. She smiled as she handed me the book, “It will fill in the gaps after you read this.”
I was an avid reader, I still am when I can find the time to do it, so reading this marvelous hard cover edition was no problem for me. I quickly read it cover to cover. My mother was wise in giving the book to me because it answered most of my questions. As I closed the book for the last time the only questions, I was left with were those that concerned my own family.
I found the history and life of my people contained in this volume fascinating and intriguing. The book made me even prouder of my heritage but the thing that captivated me the most was the photographs by Bruce Dale, a National Geographic Photographer. What author Bart McDowell had captured in words Bruce Dale had captured in his photographs. It was the perfect blending of words and images in this one book that started me on my own path of combining my words with the images I create.
As I looked at the marvelous photographs that documented the life of my people in the late 1960’s, I could see my own face within their faces. I told my mother, “Someday I will paint the people in the book.” My mother had always been encouraging of my artistic endeavors. “I know you will”, she said. Life moved on and I was well into adulthood before I did my first painting based on a photo from the book; ‘Romani Messiah: Tattered Canvas’.


The flood of 1993 robbed me of the cherished book my mother had given me in 1971 and I thought it was gone forever. Until one day in 2001 I received a package in the mail that contained a first edition copy of ‘GYPSIES WANDERERS OF THE WORLD’. Scrawled on the face page was, “To Gypsy, the only real Gypsy I know, (first name illegible) Dempsay. I wish I knew who this person was so I could thank them, but alas, I never found out. I was overjoyed to have the book again and I re-read it. I renewed my commitment to paint my version of the photographs in the book.
When I painted my first version of ‘Romani Messiah: Tattered Canvas’ in 2007 and I was not happy with it. There was a time I would destroy things I created I was not happy with but this painting I gave away to someone that liked it. I tackled ‘Romani Messiah: Tattered Canvas’ again in 2020 and was happier with the result which encouraged me to tackle the next photograph that had inspired me to paint my versions of them; ‘Madam Thorney: She Told Fortunes’.


At this point you may be looking at the large gaps in time between my first commitment to paint the photographs that inspired me to the point that I am doing it. Any artist can tell you that distraction is our curse. It is way to easy for us to get distracted with other projects and put other things on the back burner. The other curse for an artist is that when they are dissatisfied with a project, they walk away from it. There are projects an artist will walk away from and never come back to; there are projects that take a while to come back to. So, it is with this project. But with my satisfaction with ‘Romani Messiah: Tattered Canvas’ and now ‘Madam Thorney: She Told Fortunes’ I am encouraged to create more of my versions of the photographs from the book.
The photograph of Madam Thorney and her description intrigued me:
“I studied this fortune-teller with puzzled respect: her arresting, heavy lidded eyes and her strong, gentle features – a face suggesting nose-jewels and saris.”
As I set about to capture Madam Thorney, I took quite a few artistic liberties with my rendition of the photo. Those things in my painting that remain unchanged are her sign, her posture, general features and eyes. Notice that I said, “General Features”. As I looked at the photograph of Madam Thorney by Bruce Dale and Bart McDowell’s description of her, I saw all her ancestors that had made her who she was. As I painted, I did not even try to copy the photograph, that was not my intent. My goal was to capture the spirit of what the photograph had captured, her heritage, her history and her bloodline.
Madam Thorney, in the photo, appears to be in her late sixties or maybe early seventies. The photo was taken at her wagon where she was telling fortunes at Epsom Downs for Derby Days in 1968. I am sure that Madam Thorney left to meet her ancestors an exceptionally long time ago. But here she is, still smiling and reading fortunes within the pages of this book and her essence now captured upon my canvas.
The day that Bart McDowell met Madam Thorney she told him, “You are writing something, a book perhaps. And you are planning a journey. Yes, a very long journey. Where are you going?” Bart McDowell took his journey to trace the history of my people, the Romani people; he wrote our story.
For a one pound note Madam Thorney pulled out a small crystal ball and gave Mr. McDowell this final warning: “Be careful. Beware of things others may write down or tell you. Write only what you find for yourself.” I would like to believe that Madam Thorney would be pleased if she knew that her insights and warning had reached across time to touch me. For I too am taking a journey, a journey to capture in paint upon my canvas the essence of the Gypsies, my people. I will always write only what I find for myself but more that that I will only paint what I see with my heart and soul.
-The GYPSY: January 24, 2021 – Topeka, Kansas-
This painting is for sale at

Mad Hatter and The GYPSY

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