Thursday, November 25, 2010
Tis The Season
What the heck happened? The last I recall I was working on my fifth drumstick, the gravy running down my fingers and pooling on top of the mound that used to be my flat belly. Mashed potatos smeared into my beard, turkey stuffing ground under my fingernails. Then everything went black, and here I am-- groggily holding my New England Patriots pom-poms, with the distant cries of pass the pumpkin pie! still ringing in my ears, completely unprepared for the next four weeks. You know, the Holiday Season! Fa, La, La, La, La... La La La La!
Before you start thinking that I am some old curmudgeon who hates everything, let me set you straight: I love Christmas. Really. I mean, c'mon-- I get things! What could be better than that? (I'm kidding. Of course all I want is peace on Earth, goodwill toward men). I always enjoy seeing the decorations outside my neighbor's homes. To me, nothing says "Christmas" like a six foot inflatable snow globe that's covered in real snow. Pure Currier and Ives. So for the next four weeks I'll have Christmas music fired up on the stereo as I paint. I can tell you what I won't be painting, though-- a portrait of Santa Claus.
It all started about thirty years ago, when I thought it would be fun to do a painting of Santa. I wanted to do something we could hang up over the mantlepiece. I had fun putting little touches on him like he was standing in our living room; The tree was in one corner of the room, while the TV was in the opposite corner. So I showed the reflection of our tree twinkling in his merry left eye, while the soft blue glow from the TV lit up the right side of his jolly face. I gave him a bright, happy look that said Merry Christmas! Everyone seemed to like it, so that was fun. The next year, I did another one and gave it away as a gift. From then on, I painted a Santa every year, and gave them to family members and friends as Christmas Gifts. It's funny how all the recipients think their Santa is the best. It got to be I had a line of folks asking me, "When am I going to get a Santa?" Then a funny thing started to happen. With each passing year, the last thing I wanted to paint was a Santa. It went from being a pleasure to a chore. And it started to showed in Santa's face. Maybe the twinkle in his eye wasn't quite so merry. Possibly his cheeks weren't as jolly as they used to be. My brother got one with a swarthy red face, who looked defiantly out of his frame with a glowering menace at anyone who dared wish him a Merry Christmas! I call him the "pissed-off Santa." I can only imagine the nightmare's that mean old Santa gave my poor nephew and neice. But my sister-in-law loves it...
So I stopped painting Santa. It's been awhile since I've done one. I'm not against it. Heck, come to think of it, I don't even have one in my own home. So, who knows? Maybe a Santa will appear on the mantle above the fireplace this year. I just hope he's in a better mood.