Sunday, December 20, 2009

magic and Magi

I mentioned I've been painting again and want to share Mr. Crane who appeared this weekend when I sat at my table for a few quiet hours.

Among my favorite Christmas stories is the one by O. Henry called 'The Gift of the Magi'. I've linked to the original for those few who aren't familiar with the story of the poor young couple on Christmas Eve each of whom gave up their only physical treasure in order to buy a present for the other. It's a sweet and wonderful tale whether you think the two of them were idiots or not. Grand gestures are sometimes what love is about but not always. Every gift, no matter how small, is a sacrifice of the heart for the hope and beauty of the future.

O. Henry goes on to say:

'The Magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the Magi.

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas.


  1. Thank you for sharing this lovely image, and the story which I had not read in decades, now so new and fresh to me. Have a wonderful Christmas, Susan!

  2. Happy Holidays to you as well m'dear. It was so nice to get to know you a little better this year. One of the gifts of blogging is finding such interesting and creative people in this world.

  3. oh i love your blue! yes, i know you have some colors you keep for special occasions...
    and mr. crane is wonderful.
    it's been years since i read the gift of the magi. but i think when love is involved, grand gestures are rather beautiful. it's making someone else happy, right?
    and every love story is a little tragic anyway.

  4. Wishing you the very best this season, as well. Love the picture. Now I'm off to read the story.

  5. Now that is utterlyn delightful. I love rhw imnage of Mr Crane. A very happy christmas to you!

  6. awww... that was always a favorite story....

    .... Have a great holiday...

  7. ...but that really looks more like a Stork to me. Gees, everyone knows Cranes wear sandals and Storks wear boots!! Wowsers!

  8. I love that crane! Did you ever consider a career as an illustrator for children's books? The one thing that always attracted me to the books I'd read to my kids and the children I cared for where the illustrations. Some of the books had the most amazing and beautiful illustrations that I would spend time just looking at the wonderful detail and colors.

    Your Crane picture reminds me of the illustrations of Alison Relyea-Parr.

  9. Oh, and I forgot...I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  10. I'll take one of their magic hats. Very stylish.

  11. marja-leena - Yes, it's a sweet one. Merry Christmas to you too!

    liberality - I feel exactly the same way about having got to know you too :-)

    sera - You're right that I love blue and it was perfect for Mr. Crane and his little friend. Thank you so much for that and a surprise that came today which I will save a few days longer :-)

    nancy - I hope you enjoyed it and that you have a Happy Christmas too.

    jams - All the best :-)

    okjimm - Hah! I didn't know you were an avian fashion consultant.

    nunly - Maybe you should read 'baby days' - the one children's book I ever completed. I think you'd like it :-)

    randal - They were spiffing, weren't they?

  12. Love the stork and his hot-damn shoes.

    Wishing you all the best, Susan - hope the new year brings you much joy and success.


  13. oh gosh, that should have gotten to you overnight. i sent it friday. sighs.

  14. the crow - Yeah, his docs keep him grounded :-) Sooo good to see you out and about. Happy Christmas.

    sera - Time of year and remember they downsized too :-( Happy to get, happy to wait and see :-)

    btw - do you deviant? I signed on but all looks too hip and fastfastfast.. still, some very good stuff there.

  15. why doesn't somebody design shoes for birds. birds sometimes have to walk in snow, don'cha know?

    Look what else somebody thought of: "Bird Diapers are cleverly disguised, soft, stretchy, reusable. They allow your feathered friends out of their cages worry-free from embarrassing accidents (poop) or dangerous fly-aways. The patented "poop-pouch" safely keeps droppings away from birds and you. Sorry, but for obvious reasons this product is not returnable."

    Crow should be so lucky.

  16. Hi Susan
    The best to you and yours at Christmas. I have enjoyed all your stories and paintings – especially the latest combination and look forward again to your company in the New Year. We are immersed in singing here at the moment with the usual hymns, carols and melodies.
    Best wishes

  17. Oh, I love your new painting. It carries that message you so lovingly convey in all your creations; a message that is hard to put into words but which I feel dearly when my eyes and heart encounter your work.

    Happy Christmas to you, too, dear Susan. And to your loved ones.


  18. Merry Christmas to you and all you hold dear.


  19. I love the painting, too. And I love the wisdom of the O. Henry quote. May we have the courage to give lavishly and foolishly. Merry Christmas!

  20. Lovely. The art, the writing and you.

    Merry Christmas Susan!

  21. it's christmas! yay! i love my little silk purse and the book. i hope you are enjoying this beautiful day.

  22. sera - How about little airplanes for birds so they wouldn't have to flap so much :-) Perhaps it hasn't happened because they aren't so silly as humans who'd invent diapers for them.

    lindsay - I've always enjoyed your thoughtful essays and hope to do so far into the future. Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas.

    pagan - I'm thankful every day my hands can interpret what my speech cannot. The images are a gift to me first that I'm happy to pass on. Happy Christmas to you and your dear family.

    spadoman - Best wishes for Christmas are what I send in return to you and your family.

    border explorer - You continue to exemplify the very heart and soul of generosity. May Christmas delight your heart and soul.

    gary - The same to you dear friend. I'm looking forward to more photos from Australia.

    sera - I am enjoying this day and that's in part because I have a very happy Crow relaxed on his perch this morning. He's eating fruit cake and promising to visit you with his personal thanks :-) Happy Christmas!

  23. wishing you joy and fulfillment, and many, many blessings. (which, being who you are, i selfishly know you'll share in your art and stories)

  24. gfid - I wish the very same for you. A blessing shared is a blessing multiplied :-)

  25. I love that story (though our FAVORITE O'Henry is "The Ransom of Redchief" !!! "And you dasn't catch toads unless with a string...").

    I am SO delighted to see this new painting! I LOVE Mr. Crane's shoes and the simple open gesture of the little girl. The scale of each thing to the other, too (shoes, bird, balloon, girl) and the simple beach-scape so there is no distraction from the simple relationships... Wonderful.

    I have some "Glee" paintings coming soon. The glad loveliness of this painting of yours brings them closer to the surface, sooner to paper.

    Merry Christmas to you, your family, and your readers! Thanks for posting this!

  26. Merry Christmas, hope you have a wonderful New Year too!

  27. steve - The Ransom of Redchief is indeed a good one. Do children even study short stories anymore?

    I'm glad you like the little painting and I knew you'd notice the composition. When it's right it's right, yes? I look forward to seeing your next 'Glee' paintings. Your work is always such a treat and you're far more generous than me in describing the process. I just like to do it and then talk about something else :-)

    Happy Christmas.

    mauigirl - Nice to see you again. I wish you all the best of the season too.

  28. this is lovely, pure and simple...i am hoping your holidays are restful and full of happiness and peace with maybe just a small gift or two thrown into the mix...and happy new decade!

  29. What a delightful picture! I have a necktie just like that. Merry Christmas, Susan!

  30. linda - I'm so glad you've been by to see it. Thanks for the very good wishes which I return to you with a cherry on top :-)

    dr. zaius - I'm glad you got it. The world would be a better place if everyone who must wear a tie had one like it :-)

    :D wolf - All the best to you and your family too.