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The List

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013
"The List" By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

“The List” By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

THIS PRINT IS AVAILABLE FOR SALE AT

http://artist-alley.artistwebsites.com/featured/the-list-j-a-george.html

“The Night Santa Saved Christmas” By: J.A. George

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.

-The GYPSY-
http://artist-alley.artistwebsites.com/

“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


The Arrival

Monday, April 15th, 2013
"The Arrival" By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

“The Arrival” By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

The Arrival Was Used As The Cover Art For The GYPSY’s Book “BLOGGING KANSAS: MUSINGS FROM THE LAND OF OZ” which is available on WWW.AMAZON.COM

A couple of weeks ago a, Leslie paid me and my wife Debbie a visit. We had a wonderful Spaghetti dinner and then spent the evening drinking wine, doing shots of Crown, painting and enjoying our friendship. I started a work that night that I titled “THE ARRIVAL”  I was not been happy with the started work from the moment I started it.

I have been looking at the canvas for the past couple of weeks and trying to reconcile the work within my own head and I have not been able to wrap my mind around the work. An artist is never truly satisfied with any thing they create. The curse of the artist is the constant striving for a perfection that can never be achieved. There is no Nirvana for the artist! So I set out to salvage what had started out as a vino induced idea.

I sat in front of the canvas, palate in hand. The principal oils that I felt I would need glistened on the face of the stained wood like tiny colored Easter bunny droppings. One brush clenched tightly in my teeth while the other brush rested in my hand I stared at the taunting canvas. No inspiration was forth coming;

OK, OK, you know what you have to do. Work on your background until something grabs you. No that’s not right, paint over it. Try this mixture, that looks retarded, brush it out. I know, I’ll try the small brush and work out a detail here to…. NO, NO, NO, that’s not it either, ARGGGGGHHHHHH!

I looked down at Nuisance, my black Labrador Retardo who was sleeping at my feet, “Nuisance?” He lifted his head and looked at me. “Should I brush out the canvas and cover what I’ve already done?” He wagged his tail and I took it as a “Yes. ” So grabbing my sanding block I lightly sanded away the raised areas of paint then took my two inch brush in hand. I aggressively attacked the canvas with green, red and yellow until I had a segmented and blended background and that was when inspiration hit me.

I do not, as a rule, dwell within the world of abstract but for the power that I wanted to bring forth in this painting abstract was the best solution. Yes, that is exactly what I wanted to demonstrate, a “Powerful” image and that is what had been lacking within in the original work, raw power.

For the next hour I worked and reworked each stroke, line and image pulling and lifting it into natures most powerful force. I stepped back and looked at what my brush had brought forth;
Hmmm, let just sweep this up here, pull this down here and blend this over to here. That’s it! Now I can sign it.

So now I am pleased to present to you my newest work for your critique and comments. It is a 18″ x 24″ Oil on Stretched Gallery Finished Canvas entitled: “The Arrival”.

If you think you know what my inspiration for this work is then you are probably right.

-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!”


Sea Lion Women And Mermaids Doing Autopsies On Things While The Bad Ass In The Corner Looks On.

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

“Sea Lion Women And Mermaids Doing Autopsies On Things While The Bad Ass In The Corner Looks On.” By: J.A. George – Oil and Acrylic on 18″ x 24″ Gallery Stretched Canvas

This Painting and Prints For Sale At:

http://artist-alley.artistwebsites.com/featured/sean-lion-women-and-mermaids-doing-autopsies-on-things-as-the-bad-ass-in-the-corner-looks-on-j-a-george.html

Inspirations From A Baroness and a Princess

Inspirations From A Princess And 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. 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 a graceful Princess to breath life back into my lifeless form. Debbie, being a caring Princess and taking 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 is an artist and she 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.

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 is discovering, more and more, her own artists soul. It is a young soul and needs much nurturing but very passionate. I am here to help her grow and become strong within the talent she so recently discovered that she has. She is a quick learner and is learning the language of the Artists Life. Her tongue is still thick however and though she is slowly learning the language she is not yet fluent with it. Enter the linguist Jana.

Debbie reads Jana’s communiqués with the same intensity that I do. She admits that she does not always understands but she is still held fascinated by the images Jana paints with her words. Jana too is teaching the fledgling artist to discover the language that lies within her soul.

As Debbie breathed life back into my artists soul Jana has 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, backlit 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.”

Recent 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 thought about mermaids and Sea Lion Women, and wondered where they must live, in the ocean.” – “….he is the badass sitting in the corner, waiting for somebody to fuck up.” – “….here come those 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.”

Debbie breathed life back into my artistic soul and Jana breathes 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 à trios Ladies you both leave me spent and satisfied!

-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!”




Whore’s In The Alley Smoking Their Lucky Strikes

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Whore’s In The Alley Smoking Their Lucky Strikes By: J.A. George – Oil and Acrylic on 18″ x 24″ Gallery Stretched Canvas.

 This Painting and Prints For Sale At

http://artist-alley.artistwebsites.com/featured/whores-in-the-alley-smoking-their-luck-strikes-j-a-george.html

A TURN OF PHRASE

A few years ago my friend and fellow artist the Baroness Ampersand posted a Blog entitled; “THE ARTIST’S LIFE– A BOSS VALENTINE’S DAY” The Blog was about restoration work that the Baroness was performing on a banister inside the old Buford Hotel in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

The Baroness filled her Blog with worded images of the old hotel and it’s past glory but one paragraph stood out among all the others and caused every single creative juice within me to explode into a fountain of glorious inspiration. It was a moment that the artist lives for it is, in the end, what truly drives us: The inspiration to create that which has never been created, that which has never been thought of before, that which comes up from the deepest and darkest depths of our soul. We bring it into the light and breath life into our creation, our inspiration.

I emailed the Baroness and told her that her words had inspired me. She asked if it was the sentence; “I hear gun belts hitting the floors in some of the rooms, the snap of a shoe shine boy’s chamois below me, and sobbing from the walled up staircase.” I told her that, no it wasn’t, though in and of itself inspiration can be gleaned from a sentence such as that. I told the Baroness that she would just have to wait and find out what had inspired me at the same time everyone else did.

Now is the time to reveal the paragraph that created what I like to refer to as “A mental erection that ejaculates creative juices all over the place”, the paragraph that flipped my switch and turned on my brain on was;

“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, backlit by the dim light of the interiors, calling out into what was an alleyway.”

I could explain what I wanted to accomplish with the surreal world that my brush has created but that is not my job. My job is to paint the scene your job is to discern it’s meaning. So without any further ado I present here, with all due thanks to the Baroness Ampersand, what I was able to create:

“WHORES IN THE ALLEY SMOKING THEIR LUCKY STRIKES”

-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!”