Friday, August 30, 2013

Are Holidays blurring together or am I just seeing Double?

"Kayla" enjoying her squash, surrounded by pumpkins.
I recently got an announcement for a Christmas project and I haven’t even planned for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Do you ever see your life just whizzing past; the constant hubbub of what to buy and when turning your calendar pages into an animated blur?

Of course, it’s necessary to plan ahead. But why can’t we ever just enjoy the moment. Writers and artists especially must work six months in advance; so must retail markets to stock their shelves and plan their staff far in advance of any sales.

September is “back to school” and the harvest season. Fall leaves and apples dot advertising pages. Halloween and Thanksgiving appear on the same shelves and eventually get crowded out by the upcoming Christmas Season.

"Americana" 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas in barn wood frame
But who am I to deny pleasure and profit to anyone? If I’m slow to get on board or always playing catch-up, I have only myself to blame. It does seem that we hurry from one event to another with little time to enjoy the moment.

When my boys were young, they spent every summer building a spook alley in our basement. They created crawl through tubes out of blankets and boxes. They placed dishes of slimy spaghetti in strategic places, and used flashlights to transfigure innocent faces into ghoulish creatures. What else they did is best left to the imagination.

I wasn’t small enough to crawl through their maize, but they were convinced that each year’s spook alley was better and scarier than the last. The Ring Leader of each year’s project was the “King of Creep,” my son, Sid. He had decorated his own bedroom with the remains of cicada shells pinned to his cork ceiling tiles; would that I could fall asleep under such crunchy canopy.

"Sand crane's Dreams" 18 x 24 mixed media on canvas
What is it about being scared and horrified that people love? I’m a wuss when it comes to horror films. I’d rather not see them. But when I was a child, I reveled with everyone else as mummies and zombies crept from under slime and out of caves to attack our heroes. We screamed with delight and shuddered with fear; the scarier the better.

Maybe it’s an age thing or the “feminization” of our culture. Today on Halloween we see cute little carved pumpkins with grins and missing teeth. Costumes, along with the usual array of goblins and witches, come in a range of harmless monsters like Shrek and Casper.

Of course, zombies have made a comeback. Zombie festivals are making waves throughout the country. Adults who felt deprived in their youth for having missed those early horror films are the first to don a costume and bloody make-up for the thrill of parading down the streets in hopes of scaring someone.

"Raccoons at Sunrise" 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas in barn wood frame
Now is the time to gather together your ideas for crude cards and pitiful paintings to celebrate the season. Black is in and pastels are out. The Season was originally devised to scare evil back into hell. It was called “All Saints Eve.” It was not a day to celebrate evil, but to put it back in its place.

If we’re lucky, perhaps we can make it a day and evening of harmless fun. When did the evil pranks begin, the putting of razor blades into apples, and the destruction of property and people? Keep your kids safe and enjoy the day. Use your art creatively to scare and frighten, but do it wisely and in good conscience.

Featured Artist:
Shijun Munns from Atlanta, Georgia. Here is a link to her post:   Followed by her painting: "Blue Boat in the Bay"