REFRESH AND REGROUP
Sometimes You Just Have To Get Away From It All
Every Year Our Church, Topeka Bible Church (TBC), Sponsors A Retreat, “Family Camp”. It Is A Time To Get Away And Spiritually Recharge.
My wife Raychel “Mad Hatter” George and I first experienced Family Camp the summer of 2021. After the pandemic stress of 2020 the retreat was a welcomed chance to relax and escape for a few days. This year was no different. After the horrors of our studio and home being violated and Raychel’s battle with cancer a getaway was desperately needed.
We arrived at New Life Ranch: Flint Valley in Colcord, Oklahoma around 2:00 PM on Thursday Afternoon August 4th. We would have arrived at 1:00 PM but there was a man hunt underway in Pryor, Oklahoma and all traffic was being diverted around the city.
We quickly found our cabin and started unloading our rental car. If you recall our car was stolen a day after the studio break in. Our car was totaled by the thieves, so we were grateful that our insurance policy included a rental car. After the car was unloaded it was time to relax. Raychel took a nap (she does not travel well), and I kicked back on the deck of our cabin to enjoy a peaceful afternoon.
Family Camp is alive with lots of Fellowship and lots of Activities and Raychel plays a major role in one of those activities; Children’s Crafts. Raychel takes over the Activity Hut and leads the Children in Craft Activities every evening after Worship Service. Raychel looks forward to being with the children and spends weeks before Family Camp getting the craft projects together.
For my part I help Raychel set up the Activities Hut and I assist her in keeping order among 30 excited and happy children. Otherwise, I am on my own to create my own entertainment and this year that is just what I did.
I took my portable easel/paint box with me with every intention of doing a painting outside while at this beautiful camp. I had recently gotten the easel/paint box and was excited to use it. The design is based on the easel/paint box that Van Gogh created and with Vincent Van Gogh being my favorite artist well…
There was a great view of a hillside and a pasture from the deck in front of our cabin, so I decided to paint my interpretation of that view. New Life Ranch: Flint Valley is located in the Oklahoma Ozarks, so every view is great. But this one intrigued me. I cannot explain why, it just did so I set out to capture it on my canvas.
The first day I worked on the painting for 3 hours and the second day I finished it in 2 hours. I paint fairly quick but could be faster if I was not so meticulous. I recently read an essay by a well-known artist where his opinion was that “unskilled artists spend too much time on detail”. I disagree! I strongly believe the old adage that “God Is In The Details” and I love the details. For me that is half the fun of creating a painting.
Sunday came all too soon, and it was time to head home. To try and explain how special the 4 days we spend at Family Camp would be like trying to explain the feel of the first warm day of spring; there are no words.
I have something special in mind for this painting which is acrylic on 16” x 20” canvas board. I have entitled it “Flint Valley Pasture”. What will I paint next year when Raychel and I go to Family Camp? Who knows? But I can promise you that I will greatly enjoy capturing whatever scene it is.
I HAVE MADE A DECISION
I have finally decided what I want to be when I grow up: I want to be an Artist. I know, I know you are asking yourself; Will he go mad from eating lead based yellow paint? Will he catch an incurable STD while painting ladies of the night? Will he go blind while laying on his back having paint drip in his eyes while painting a chapel ceiling? Will he paint a self portrait of himself as a woman? Will his studio be in a room so hot that clocks melt? Will he spill paint on a canvas and pass it off as art? Or will he eat a can of soup and think to himself; some fool will buy a painting of this can if I proclaim it inspired. Well the answer to all your questions is YES! But the sacrifices will be worth it because of the Zillion of dollars I will make. Now shut up because you ask too many questions and I have art to make.
Little did I know, when as a child, I finger painted my first finger painting, that someday I would finger paint a self portrait of myself. But as a child I did know one thing… I would be an Artist. While other children had dreams of being Doctors, Lawyers, Nurses, Firemen, Policemen, Scientists, I had a dream of being an Artist; a dream that would come true.
I remember; when I was in second grade, being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said, “I want to be an Artist, I want to be Famous and I want to be Rich.” I take satisfaction in the fact that I have accomplished all three. I am an Artist; Body and Fine. I am Famous; in Body Art circles and the number of people that enjoy what I create. I am Rich; not monetarily but in the things that mater. But I did not accomplish these three things on my own nor easily I had help along the way.
On this long journey I have had the guidance of God. At times I was too blind to see and to self involved to understand that he was guiding me but guiding me he was. He gave me helpers that at the time I did not recognize as helpers. Some were friends, some were family, I loved some and despised others. Yet all helped me on my journey to being what I declared at 7 years of age I would be someday.
I was always Spiritual and believed in God. I believed that Jesus was his son and died for our sins but my faith was not what it should be. Though I had a successful career, that career came in spurts and had more downs than ups. I always thought; “This is something I can do on my own, I don’t need help.” But I did need help. I needed God’s help.
Once I realized that without God’s help I truly could not accomplish all I wanted to accomplish things started changing for me; for the better. I renewed my faith and have been on the right road ever since. There are bumps along that road but with God’s help I am able to maneuver around any major obstacles.
What do I want to be when I grow up? I want to be an Artist, I want to be Famous, I want to be Rich but most of all I want to be eternally grateful to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that have made my amazing life possible…. and I am all that and more.
-The GYPSY- “Art must evoke an emotion in order to be art. If it only creates indifference then it is not art, it is garbage!”
PASSION AND REDEMPTION
I sat in my Highschool art class and stared at the 11″ x 14″ canvas board on the table before me. I squinted my eyes trying to make the image on the board look better. I closed one eye and tilted my head. No matter what I did I could not make the image I had just painted look like anything I would be happy with.
The biggest critic an artist has is themselves and this day I was ultra critical. I had mastered pencils, charcoal, watercolor as well as pen and ink but this was my first step into acrylic painting. As far as I was concerned I had indeed really stepped into it and the canvas before me was a stink I couldn’t wipe off my show.
“Is that Jesus?” The question came from Karla Weigman. Karla was not only one of the smartest students in my small Highschool of West Platte RII in Weston, Missouri she was also one of the most popular.
I was not popular, I was poor and an outcast. My long hair separated me from the majority of the other students in my class who were country boys and girls. I was a city boy and different; a fish out of water. This never seemed to matter to Karla and she was always friendly with me and always had a smile for me whenever we met.
“Yes”, I said, “I guess so.” Karla picked up the canvas and looked at it. “I really like this” she said. “You like it?” I scrunched up my nose. “Yes, it is very nice.” I looked at her to see if she was kidding; she wasn’t. “You can have it.” Karla looked surprised. “Really?” I smiled, “Yes, really. I’m glad you like it.” That was the last time I saw the painting until a couple of years ago.
Karla had found me on Facebook and Friended me. Shortly after I accepted her friend request she posted a photo of the painting on my timeline. My jaw hit the floor. I had not thought about that painting in almost 40 years. I had almost forgot that it had existed and now here I was staring at my first attempt at acrylic painting.
I do not know what shocked me more; the fact that I was looking at a painting I had attempted at 16 years of age or the fact that my friend had, in all reality, archived my first attempt and preserved it.
As I looked at this painting that had come back to haunt me after all those years in obscurity I resolved that there was something I must do; I must see this as the zero mile marker at the beginning of my artistic journey. I could no longer regard this painting from 1973 as something better left forgotten it was now so much more. This poorly rendered acrylic painting connected my past with my present and the impact was palatable and enduring.
As I studied the painting the first thing I noted was the effect I had attempted to create; the head of Jesus on the cross emerging from the blackened shadows. I remembered that I wanted to make a statement on how the sacrifice of Christ brings us out of the dark and into the light. If I had done this painting in pencil the effect would have been dramatic. However my unskilled hand with acrylic paint made the head of Jesus look misshapen.
The next thing that caught my eye was the garish pinkness of the face. I am sure that in my feeble understanding on how to mix acrylic color kept me from getting a Caucasian flesh tone which I could have easily have done with watercolors. I did notice that I was at least on the right track with the shading in the face but oh that all too pointed nose. Which brings us to my next observation; the hair and beard.
Like most people my age I grew up with “Euro-Jesus” the Blond Haired Blue Eyed Nordic God of Jerusalem. Thanks to the Medieval, Renaissance and Contemporary Artists of my age I just assumed that everyone from the middle east, Jesus included, were Caucasian and of fair hair and skin. Heck, not even the Romans who sealed his fate were lily white or as my painting depicted Peony pink. Now knowing that Jesus was Jewish and not a Germanic ideal I shake my head in the deception that was perpetrated on generations by artists like Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Cervantes, Raphael and myself.
Looking at the crown of thorns I shudder. If I had created them in Pen and Ink there would have been depth and detail. These thorns looked like a mass of worms that had been executed with a pen cushion and the blood, oh the blood. I could have created more realistic flows of blood using my Charcoal Pencil than I did with the globs of red that I splash on the face of my unfortunate depiction of the savior. I had to remedy my artistic blunders and find redemption.
Now you will note that I used the word “Blunder” and not “Mistake”. There are no mistakes in art, just as Bob Ross observed, only “Happy Accidents. To my state of mind this blunder verged on the edge of an 18 car pile up at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I resolved to create a new acrylic painting using the same subject matter, The Crucifixion of Christ, and put into that painting all I have learned since 1973 and all I continue to learn. The only question was; when would I do it?
To try to explain to you when inspiration comes for me to create the art I create would be like me trying to explain what lies beyond a Black Hole in space; impossible. Just suffice it to say that I had to wait for the inspiration to hit me at the right time. That inspiration hit on Easter Sunday of 2022 five years after Karla posted the photo on my Facebook page. I set to work and documented each step of the process. As I worked I watched such movies as “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, “Ben Hur” and “Jesus of Nazareth” so that I could stay focused for the task at hand.
I finished the painting and named it “Passion”. The name was not only for the Passion of Christ but also represented the Passion I have had for my God given Artistic Talent my entire life. I sent it to Art Print Express in Topeka to be digitized so that I would have an archive copy for future printing purposes. I knew, when I set out to do this painting that it would never be one that was for sale. This painting would be a gift, a token of my gratitude to Karla Weigman for preserving my first attempt at Acrylic painting.
Now you might ask; if you disliked the original painting so much why are you grateful that she saved it? Because, without her preservation of my first effort I would have never had the opportunity to truly understand how far I have come on my artistic journey. I cannot tell you how many paintings I have created since that very first one, they are to numerous to count. What I can tell you is that each one was a milestone along my road. That road is one that will end one day on this earth but until it does I will continue to create art and mark each milestone. My hope is that by the time I get to heaven I am worthy to paint for eternity next to the masters that have come before me.
On Monday May 23, 2022 I mailed “Passion” to Karla. She received it on May 25, 2022. It is now at home with it’s ancestor, “Head of Christ”.
Acrylic On 16″ x 20 ” Gallery Stretched Canvas.
She stands on the tips of her toes
Letting the music ease her woes
Centuries rest within her line
A silken thread strong and fine
Her Gypsy blood courses true
As her dance entrances you
Rhythmic beat of tambourine
Silver coin with twinkling sheen
Turning twisting left then right
Dancing by the campfire light
Gypsy woman of ancient way
Lover at night Mother by day
The road it knows her secret name
Her Gypsy heart will never tame
This painting was my last of 2021 and my first of 2022 having started it on 12/22/2021 and finished it the afternoon of 01/01/2022.
The photo that this painting is based on comes from the National Geographic book “Gypsies Of The World”. This picture has always held a fascination for me. My family migrated from Sacro Monte, which is near Granada, Spain, to Enigen, Germany in 1543 to escape the Spanish Inquisition. My family consists of Artisans, Craftsmen, Healers, etc. and were prime targets.
Romani businesses and skills are passed from one generation to the next. I cannot help, when I look at the photo of the dancer in the café, but think that perhaps my ancestors visited the café and enjoyed a nights entertainment much as the people are doing that I have depicted in my painting.
I have taken liberties with the photograph and have added my own take on the people within the café. I have also included, in the photos on the wall, members of my family as well as the family crest. Most notable is a picture of Berta Hummel also known as Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel. She is a distant cousin of mine and the Artist who inspired the Hummel Figurines.
There are many surprises and a multitude of stories within this painting. I hope you enjoy them all.
“Art must evoke an emotion in order to be art. If it only creates indifference then it is not art, it is garbage!”
Anyone Can Create Art But Not All Art Can Be Created By Everyone
The Human Species has an ingrained desire to create. Whether planting a garden, building furniture, decorating a home, customizing a vehicle or creating works of art men and women long to create. It is one of the ways we leave our mark on the world and it has been ingrained in our species since the beginning of time.
But the desire to create is not just limited to our species. That desire can be found in many other creatures that we share the world with. Take for instance Djakarta Jim, a male Orangutan from the Topeka Zoo in Topeka, Kansas. Djakarta Jim came to the zoo as an infant in the late 1960’s. In 1971 Zoo Director Gary Clarke was approached by Jim’s Keeper who told him that Jim seemed to be drawing pictures with his food. They gave Jim non toxic paint, a brush and canvas and the rest is history.
Djakarta Jim won awards for his art and opened a door for other animal artists. Research into the artistic abilities of animals was in it’s infancy. But with the public acclaim of the orangutan artist more and more people took notice and more animal art was born and inspired. There are now famous works by Elephants, Horses, Chimpanzees and even dolphins.
If animals are able to create art then so can you. However understanding that you may not have the ability to create all types of art is the first step on your artistic journey. Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to become an artist…
I have people come into my studio all the time and say, “I have a friend that can draw really well and is thinking about tattooing.” My response is always the same, “Just because you can draw a pretty picture on a piece piece of paper does not mean you can tattoo; it takes a certain touch.” This is the same for all art. A Pottery Artist may be the greatest Pottery Artist to step foot on the face of the earth but may be unable to draw a straight line on a piece of paper. Being good at one thing artistically does not guarantee you will be a master in all things artistically and that is OK.
Discovering what your artistic talent is actually easier than you may think. Here is my advise on where you should start: get a pencil and piece of paper. Write down a top ten list of things you like and I do not mean artistically I mean those things you like that make you happy. Arrange the list in your favorite thing at the top and working down to number ten. Now make a separate top ten list of the type of art you like. Examples might be; pencil drawing, pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic painting, oil painting, block printing, decorative art, stained glass, graffiti art, pottery, plaster cast, digital art, pastels, crayon art, portrait art, landscape art, cityscape art, seascape art, animal art, jewelry art, sculpting and on and on and on. The possibilities are endless. Now arrange that list in the order of the type of art you like best with #1 being your favorite and #10 being your list favorite.
You now have two lists; favorite things and favorite art. What are your two number one things? Do you like Motorcycles? Do you like Stain Glass? Now think how you might combine those two things. Maybe make stain glass images of motorcycles or motorcycle events. Do you like Birds? Do you like Decorative Art? How would you combine those two things? Stenciled wall art feature birds or bird themed decorative trim? Do you like Trains? Do you like Graffiti Art? Well I wouldn’t suggest going out and doing graffiti art on trains but what if you painted a picture of a train using a graffiti art style? Are you starting to get the idea?
You can even go a step further; You like old buildings. You also like pottery and acrylic painting. What would stop you from creating artwork in acrylic paint of say an old barn on the side of a pot you made and then glazing that pot. You see where you start on this artistic journey is only limited by your imagination. Now that you have your key elements the next step is fairly simple… experiment and I mean really experiment! Do not just try something one time and say, “Well Gee I guess I can’t do it.” There is an old saying; “Practice Makes Perfect!” If creating art in a style you like is what you really desire to do then practice, practice, practice. But there is a Catch 22.
If you are unfamiliar with what a Catch 22 is it can be defined as a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions. Remember what I stated above, “Just because you can draw a pretty picture on a piece piece of paper does not mean you can tattoo; it takes a certain touch.” If you have practiced and practiced and practiced the type of art you have chosen and still cannot seem to get it do not let your frustration rule you or kill your desire to create. At that point it will be time to move on and try a different artistic endeavor. You may go through several different things you like and several different types of art combinations before you find the one that is right for you. But I cab assure you that you will find the magic combination that will have you creating art that you admire and that will be admired by others.
Here is a final word of advice; Do not be afraid to ask for help. Taking art classes or buying books that explain the creative process are things you should be willing to do. The greatest cure for ignorance is education. Become artistically educated and you will find that your art will improve along with your abilities as an artist.
One word of caution however for those thinking about tattoo or piercing art; though there are a lot of videos on Youtube showing how to tattoo or pierce. Those “How Too” videos are garbage. You can only truly learn how to tattoo and pierce properly under an experienced state licensed trainer. If anyone ever tries to charge you for Body Art Training you are in the wrong place. A professional Body Art Trainer makes their money when you start tattooing or piercing in their studio. They do not make their money by taking it out of your pocket and teaching you nothing. Contact your state licensing board for a list of qualified trainers.
So with all that being said I hope that this blog has helped to point you in the right direction on your artistic journey. It is worth repeating to say to you; Anyone Can Create Art You Just Have To Have A Desire To Do So.
The Night Santa Saved Christmas By: J. A. George AKA; The GYPSY
The wind rustled the plastic on the windows at 433 East High popping the artificial storm windows in and out like the breathing of some transparent rectangular monster trapped within the window frame. This was made even more unsettling by the fact that the plastic adorned the windows on the inside of the house and not the outside.
Jimmy and Patty sat on the couch, a blanket wrapped around their bodies to insulate them from the cold. The floor heater cracked and groaned but did little good to chase off the cold in the drafty un-insulated little house on Topeka’s east side. Jimmy and Patty watched the old GE black and white TV reflect back images of Bing Crosby as he, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen and Danny Kaye sang about a White Christmas. Jimmy looked over at the little tree in the corner, the red, green and gold bubble lights sending their tiny endless stream of bubbles up the tubes to go nowhere and disappear in the glass tip of the cylinder. He then looked back at the black and white image of the tree behind the four singers and though their tree was gray within the flickering image Jimmy knew it was a grander tree than he would ever have.
“Is Santa coming tonight?” asked Jimmy’s seven year old sister. “Yes”, Jimmy assured Patty, “But only after your asleep”. Jimmy was 13 and had stopped believing in Santa Claus when he was 9 or 10. Jimmy did pray however that if Santa Claus was real and he was wrong about his existence that he would brave this cold Kansas Christmas eve night and visit their house. Jimmy got up off the couch and led his sister to the bed room she shared with their Mother, Shirley. Tucking her into her bed Jimmy went back into the living room and curled up on the couch to wait for his Mom to come home from work.
As he watched a Cockroach scurry across the floor he prayed that his Mom would remember to pick up some bug spray when she came home from work. The roaches had been bad for the past few days ever since they had ran out of the deadly aerosol the week before. Jimmy watched the little brown creature explore the floor and wondered what went through a roaches head as they scampered to and fro. He hated cock roaches and had no remorse as he picked up a shoe and smashing it flat upon the bare painted plywood floor. Ah, thought the boy, a heel goes through their head. He chuckled at his own small joke. Jimmy left the carcass lie and turned his attention back to the old TV where the Norelco Santa was sledding down the hill on an electric razor.
Jimmy had dozed and was dreaming of dancing mice and singing slugs when the sound of the front door opening jerked him awake. “Hi Mom”, he said rubbing sleep from his eyes, “what’s for dinner?” Normally Jimmy would not ask such a question as he was perfectly capable of fixing him and his sisters meals when his mom wasn’t there but there was no food left in the house and the two children had not ate that day. Shirley looked at he son with a forced smile and said, “Tonight we are going to do breakfast for dinner.” She held up a bag that contained a loaf of day old bread and a carton of a dozen eggs. Jimmy knew what that meant for he had to eat breakfast for dinner before. It meant mom had no money so she had scraped together some change to buy the quarter a loaf bread and the thirty five cent carton of eggs. It was the cheapest meal his mom could throw together outside of a box of Macaroni and Cheese which was also a staple in this home.
Jimmy took the brown paper bag from his mom and headed for the kitchen to drop bread in the toaster and heat up the skillet for eggs. Before he dropped the bread into the toaster he turned it upside down and gave it a shake. The cock roaches liked to hide inside the silver box to feast upon the bread crumbs on the bottom. Jimmy hated the smell of cooking roach so he always checked to make sure none were in the machine before inserting the bread.
Shirley sat down on the couch exhausted. She worked three jobs and still could not make ends meet. She would finish her shift as a proof reader then rush across the street to Pelletier’s Department store where she would assemble bicycles for rich children and wrap presents for even richer parents. On Saturday and Sunday she worked as a PBX switch board operator for answering service near Washburn University. If it wasn’t for the “Aid To Dependent Children” check she received from the state every month to pay her rent and the government commodity allotment she received she might have had to give up her children to Social Services to be placed in foster care. Sometimes she wondered if the children wouldn’t be better off.
Shirley felt fortunate to have her job at Pelletier’s especially since her and her mother had exchanged words three years previous which had led to the eviction of Shirley and her children from her mothers home. Her mother could have fired her from Pelletier’s but didn’t. Her mother was the manager of the large upscale department store. Maybe, Shirley would often think to herself, she keeps me on to alleviate her guilt for kicking me and the children to the curb. The truth of the matter was this however; Pearl, Shirley’s mother, did not feel guilty nor had she tossed her grandchildren out. She had told Shirley to leave but that the grandchildren could remain but Shirley choose, through stubborn pride, to take her children with her. Though Pearl refused to speak with her daughter until Shirley apologized for what she had said to her mother during that argument 3 years hence, Pearl kept Shirley working. Shirley was a phenomenal gift wrapper and a skilled assembly person and Pearl knew it would be bad business to fire such a person from the Pelletier’s team, daughter or no daughter.
Shirley could smell the eggs Jimmy was cooking and looked up as her daughter exited the bed room rubbing her eyes. “Mommy I’m hungry.” the little girl said rubbing her eyes. “I know dear,” Shirley said as she brushed the child’s hair from her face with her hand, “Your brother is fixing eggs.” Shirley looked at her daughter and hoped she would go back to sleep quickly after eating her eggs and toast. Shirley wanted to finish knitting a poncho that she was making for her daughter. She prayed that Patty would believe that Santa had brought it to her for Christmas. Shirley did not know what she would tell her son but she hoped that he would understand why he was getting no present this particular year.
Shirley sighed and laid her daughter on the couch. Covering her daughter with a knit blanket she had made and told her that she would call her when the food was ready. Well, thought Shirley, I better go back and let Jimmy know that there will be no Christmas presents for him this year. Shirley was standing in the kitchen at the back of the house explaining to Jimmy how it is not important to receive gifts on Christmas when the knock came at the front door.
At first it was ever so soft and could have been just the wind shaking the door when the knock came again. A little louder and more urgent Mother and son both looked towards the front door as Patty cried out, “Mommy, someone’s at the door.” Shirley and son headed for the front of the small house. Shirley was concerned for it was almost 10:00pm and she couldn’t imagine who would be knocking on her door this late on a Christmas eve. Jimmy got to the door first and flung it wide letting a blast of cold air fill the house.
Jimmy stood slack jawed looking at the box upon box upon box that filled the front porch. Shirley was speechless and could not imagine that what she was looking at, dozens of brightly wrapped packages, was real. Patty put a name to it as she scurried towards the front porch and the gifts it bore. “SANTA” the little girl cried out, “SANTA” Jimmy, his mom and sister spent the next few minutes bringing packages into the house. As they got towards the bottom of the stack Shirley discovered several boxes filled with food including one box just full of wrapped meat from a butcher shop. One box had canned goods while another had things like pasta and cereal. But the box that fascinated Jimmy the most was the one that contained a turkey that was almost as big as his sister.
The children begged their mother to let them open the presents but she told them “NO, Santa wants you to open your presents on Christmas.” But the children weren’t listening all they knew was that there were presents to be opened so Shirley relented and let them pick one package each to open. Patty’s package contained a new “Malibu Barbi” doll while Jimmy’s package contained a Zorro Hand Puppet. How did Santa know that I like puppets? Jimmy wondered as he fell off to sleep later with a full stomach.
Christmas day the packages revealed a Cornucopia of presents for the children. Dolls, Games, Slot Car Race Tracks, Hot Wheels Cars, Doll Clothes just to mention a few of the children’s items. There was also clothes for the children from socks to shoes to sweaters to coats. New dresses, new pants and new shirts galore. Shirley watched as the children ripped open and revealed their presents and she knew that Santa had, in her hour of need, visited her children. She was a little sad, thinking that Santa had forgot about her when she saw the small Robin egg blue envelope at the bottom of one of the boxes with her name typewritten across it’s face. Shirley picked up the envelope and with trembling hands opened it. Inside was a note that read;
Josten’s American Year Book, Mass Ave. Topeka, KS 8:00am Monday December 29th. Shirley E. Stewart report to Proof Reading Department for orientation. Starting Salary”..
Shirley sat down hard on the couch and read the starting salary again. It was $50.00 per week more than she was making holding down 3 jobs. She swallowed hard and began to cry. “What’s wrong mommy?” Patty asked. Shirley looked at her children in their new clothes holding their new toys and she could smell the turkey cooking in the kitchen where the cupboards were full for the first time in a long time. “Nothing,” she said, “Not one damn thing.” She grabbed her daughter and pulled her close as Jimmy stepped on a cockroach. “I wish Santa had remembered the bug spray!” the boy said as he sent the pest to bug Heaven. They all laughed together, and each in their own way, would forever know that Santa Claus was real and had visited their small home on Christmas Eve of 1969.
In March 1981 during the last visit I had with my Grandmother before she passed away the subject of this visit from Santa Claus came up. I asked my Grandmother what she knew about it and if she had a hand in it. She smiled that smile that let the world know that she was up to some sort of mischief then sweetly and innocently said, “Now Jimmy as I recall I may have said something to Santa about Shirley needing some help but it’s been so long ago I hardly remember”. She then changed the subject and the matter was dropped and never brought up again until Christmas of that year.
Grandma sent a small package of presents to me, my wife and daughter for Christmas. For my wife she sent a antique silk hanky with a Parisian print on it. For my daughter, who is a Christmas miracle herself being born on Christmas eve, she sent an old fashioned small plastic doll with a knit outfit. My Christmas package from my Grandmother contained a Zorro hand puppet and a card that merely read “Ho, Ho, Ho”. I held that puppet close to my chest two months later when news came of her passing.
Is Santa real? Yes he is and I will never think otherwise for he once saved Christmas for my family.
“Art must evoke an emotion in order to be art. If it only creates indifference then it is not art, it is garbage!”
This story is included in my Book “Blogging Kansas: Musings From The Land of Oz” Available on www.Amazon.Com
Copyright Tatman Productions LLC – All rights Reserved. No pictures or text may be copied and or used without the express written permission of the artist and author.
The Artists Life
Copyright Tatman Productions LLC – All Rights Reserved. No pictures or text may be copied and or used without the express written permission of the artist and author.
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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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