Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Lost Gift Of Christmas

                                                   An original mixed-media painting
                                                   18 X 24", unframed - ( mat & frame, 24 X 30")
                                                   $70.00,  ( plus $25.00, pack & ship )

                                                            ( click on image to enlarge )

     There are a number of small, English villages, known as "Picturesque" villages, which
are deliberately maintained without any modernization, to look much the same as they did
a couple of centuries or more ago.  They are a big draw for the tourism business.   But
during the height of the tourist season, they are much less picturesque, because the
narrow, crooked streets become jammed up with tourist buses, cars and people with
cameras, snapping photos in all directions.
     In this painting, looking up a street in a village called Bibury, I tried to imagine how the
village might appear, as a soft, fluffy snowfall began to coat the roofs, streets and shrubs,
creating a scene which would be something like gazing into an antique snow-globe.   I
hope it conveys the feeling that one of Charles Dickens' characters, or Dickens himself,
might imminently come down the street, whether by pony-cart or carriage.
     It would be easy for a wrapped gift to get jostled off the back of an over-loaded,
horse-drawn cart or wagon, and then soon become lost in the falling snow, as I depicted
it, lying there, waiting for rescue.  So, what would you imagine is in the lost Christmas gift?
I'll give you my answer
     It is the same gift which has been getting lost every year, in every village and city, and
in every country, all around the world.  The gift was first offered a couple of millenniums
ago, when a thoughtful, young reformer, stood up to all the entrenched religious and
political powers, which controlled everyone's lives, and offered some words which could
bring peace to all.  "Love thy neighbor as thyself!" he said.  But they were not ready to
change, and his words cost him his life.
     So, when will will of mankind finally be willing to hear the message?  Change will not
come until everyone is willing to stand up and say that no one has the right to impose his
beliefs, or his religion, on any one else, or suppress their rights of freedom of speech, or
deprive any one else of life, liberty, property or their own, personal pursuit of happiness.

     What is in the eternally lost, Christmas gift?  It is love and peace!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Visit From Horatio H. Hamster, as Bob Cratchit

   My little friend, and sometime model, Horatio, has popped up again, wanting to take this
opportunity to wish me and all the blog viewers a Merry Christmas.  He arrived in his new
guise as Bob Cratchit, because this month, he has been playing that part in the annual
production of Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol, at the local, neighborhood, Quadruped
     Today he says that the middle initial in his name stands for Holiday, as in "happy",
not as in "Doc", the western gunslinger of O.K Coral fame.  I told him that I doubted  that
any of the blog viewers would mistake him for a gunslinger of any species, human or
otherwise.  And then, since he was in a hurry to get to the theater for the evening
performance, I thanked him for his good wishes, and sent him on his way.
     I have been glad to see that he has received some critical praise for his roll as the
kindly father of Tiny Tim, praise which has not been quite so glowing for all the cast
members.  But he still feels that the show must go on, despite the lack of talent and
intelligence of some who are not capable of carrying out their parts.
     The critics have all been particularly vocal in pointing out the ineptitude of Donald
Skunk, who was cast in the leading role of the production.  It did seem like the choice
of Donald Skunk to play Ebeneezer Scrooge, was perfect type-casting, since he is so
naturally odious that his very presence pollutes the air around him.  But it soon became
evident that he was completely lacking in the ability to act, in any role of importance.
     On the other hand, Barack O'possum has received high marks from the critics, for
his performance as the Ghost of Christmas Past, perfectly illuminating those days when
kindness and caring for our fellow creatures was more important than personal greed
and the accumulation of excess wealth.
      Then there was also another bad casting decision, when Vladimir Piglet was
picked to play The Ghost Of Christmas Present.  Evidently Vladimir constantly hogs
the stage, gobbling up anything he happens to see, and carrying off anything which he
wants.   And, all the while, he never seems to properly acknowledge the reality of all
the poverty, disease, death and destruction happening in, in the world around him, as
his role requires.
     Sadly, for Horatio, during most of the performances, by the time of the entrance
of the Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come, the critics and most of the audience have
already left the makeshift, old, barn theater, which the Quadruped Players call home.
So, the play usually stops before there is a satisfactory conclusion.  Still, Horatio says
the show must go on, and he keeps on trying.  Next year perhaps he will have better
luck with casting.  We can only hope!