Wednesday, December 2, 2009

In Search of a Star


It all started last week as I began putting out my Christmas decorations. Luckily John does the heavy lifting, such as assembling the Christmas tree and hefting all the boxes down from the attic. I get the fun job of arranging and re-arranging and re-re-rearranging stuff.

One of my most precious items in my decorations is a nativity scene made by my mother and given to John and I for our first married Christmas. As I set each piece into the wooden stable and stepped back to appraise the placement, it just seemed to me that something was well.....lacking. Hm.

The usual suspects in the scene were all there - Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, angels, shepherds, sheep, cows, donkey, wise men and their camels. The camels were tied to the stable railing with twine.

My dad has always advised us to tie up our camels.

"Can't trust a camel. Those buggers will run off at the slightest chance, and then what would you do? Especially if that pesky little drummer boy starts banging away on his drum and spooks the livestock. Next thing you know you got animal chaos. You'd have camel poop everywhere and then the cows will get out and all hell will break loose. You'd have frankincense and myrrh flung around - you know what a mess frankincense makes - then you'd have wise men galavanting all over the pastures chasing camels and shepherds trying to corral their sheep. And Joseph would have to go collar the wise men and tell them to get back over to the manger and keep their eyes on Jesus and the star of Bethlehem!"

OK, Dad. Camels secured. Check. Adorable and adoring angel hanging from the peak of the stable. Check. Festively decorated trees positioned around scene. Check. Still.....the scene just needed something to make it complete.....then it dawned on me.

Aha! The star of Bethlehem! That's it! That's what's missing! Brilliant!, I thought.

I immediately began to search for a star. Which is where my delusions began. What I need is a painting of a star! Hung just over the stable.....yes, yes......and of course it would have to include something representing Bethlehem......maybe a cityscape.....all in colors complementing my decor.....perfectly sized for the wall.....should be easy to find..... 

Oh, brother. Of course this artwork was not out there, at least not in my budget, which required cruising Walmart and Big Lots. And with this realization, my delusions of grandeur appeared.

How hard could it be to just paint the darned thing myself? I thought. I'll go over to the craft store and get a canvas, let's see......24" x 36".....hm.....that sounds about right. Go big or go home, I always say. How hard could this be? The fact that we paid for our daughter's degree in art must confer some artsy-fartsy abilities for me, shouldn't it? Like osmosis?

I scrounged around the house and found some leftover acrylic paints from my Norman the Gnome project, some colored pencils, and gee whiz! -  found some crayons. I thought it shouldn't matter if they were about twenty five years old. I Googled the web for images of stars, did a rough drawing on the back of an envelope, and faced the blank canvas.

Which is when I also faced the fact that I had absolutely no idea how to paint anything, much less an enormous star painted perfectly in glowing jewel tones.

What could I possibly have been thinking? Honestly, Julia....how delusional can you get, girl? Yes, I am Michelangelo. Or Georgia O'Keeffe. Sigh.

But, but, but, but, I still want a star. I need a star. I can't finish decorating for Christmas this year without my star.

Oh, hey! A stained glass star! Now there's an idea! Wouldn't that be awesome? Beautiful pieces of gorgeous ruby reds and golds and greens softly lit from behind...I could rig up some kind of light for the back.......I think John has a bunch of soldering lead in the garage and a blowtorch somewhere.....

How hard could it be?

Public domain image found here.  

3 comments:

Doug said...

Okay, some items from the Creepy File here. Reading this latest post and seeing you mention an artist's rendition of a star I thought, "Hey, I draw (except people, I could never get people right) I could fashion her a star picture and send it to her." Then you mention your daughter has an art degree and I thought, "Oh, that trumps my casual talent. Why doesn't her daughter draw/paint her one?" So that little strain of commonality weirded me out. Then you mention "Norman the Gnome." I have a Gnome, dressed in black and gold Iowa Hawkeye garb... it was a b-day gift. My wife wanted me to name him "Norm," Norm the Gnome. WEIRD! I didn't name him Norm though, I named him Dave. I just thought if someone ever asked, "What is that?" it would be funny to say, "That? That's Dave." Anyway, good luck with your star.

Julia said...

Wow! You were going to help me out with my star? How cool is that? Actually, after my daughter quit laughing at the thought of me painting something, she is going to do one for me, bless her heart.

Norman sends greetings to Dave. He says gnomes have to stick together.

Suz said...

Of course I'll help you with your star, mums!
But you can still paint your own you know, you just might to have to go more... abstract...
Google Jackson Pollock :D

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