And welcome to my newsletter for November, 2012! Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me! To receive these newsletters regularly, please drop me an email or subscribe online from my website (http://www.JefMurray.com ) or at: http://groups.google.com/group/Mystical_Realms . Notices of events and items of interest are at the bottom of this email.
The Jef Murray 2013 Middle-earth Calendar is now available! Featuring one large painting image and one smaller “watermarked” painting image per month, this Middle-earth themed calendar includes moon phases, international holidays, plus over 18 “Easter Egg” dates, marked visually, that reference significant events of interest to “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” aficionados. The calendar is $16.95 plus shipping, and can be mailed anywhere internationally (see www.JefMurray.com for details).
I have posted three new painting images on my website. These include “Boromir Fallen”, “Dawn Treader”, and “Many Meetings”. These are located in two different places; the first and third are in my Tolkien Gallery (“The Third Age – The Lord of the Rings”), and the second is in the “Once upon a time” gallery (in the “Paintings inspired by C.S. Lewis” section. However, you can see all of them by going to http://www.JefMurray.com and clicking on the “Newest Works” icon (the dragon!) at the top of the page.
Many of my posted painting image originals (oil on canvas) and graphite sketches are available for sale. Also, these and all of the images in my online galleries and on my Facebook page (see https://www.facebook.com/JefMurrayStudios ) are available as signed and numbered limited-edition Giclee prints. See my webpage for details.
Troubled times are coming. Just as Treebeard saw his world change, so are we seeing ours….
Right now, just after the elections in the USA, I see so many who are angry and afraid. The old bylaws are broken: banks are going bust, world markets are whiplashed. Enormous crowds gather, hypnotized, hoping that charismatic leaders will bolster balance sheets and forestall foreclosures.
You can feel it in the earth; you can feel it in the water; you can smell it in the air.
Bad times are not new. And elections will not change them. The fruits of foolishness must be born, and in a few years, the messiah elected today will be the ousted and disgraced demagogue of tomorrow. This is the nature of idol worship…what was once thought divine becomes despicable. Hell hath no fury when
we find that our false idols are, indeed, false….
But, the flip side of the impotence of the elected is that they can sometimes help us all see where the real power lies, and that is with God and with each other.
This last long lesson of lack was taught to us in the 1970s, when I was in high school. In those days, there was no such thing as a personal computer, few folk had color TVs, and most new cars were compacts because of skyrocketing oil prices.
My family lived in the country, and since we were only able to pick up a couple of TV stations, we had to make a lot of our own entertainment. We read a lot, but we also gardened, raised dogs and rabbits, and collected eggs from the wild chickens that ran in the pastures. We hunted and fished. We wrote stories and drew comics. We built stuff. We gathered muscadines to make jelly, and I tried my hand at making peach wine from the syrup my stepfather brought back from the school lunchroom. This latter attempt ended in a spectacular explosion, and my childhood bedroom to this day smells like fermented peaches when the weather turns wet.
G.K. Chesterton once said “”It is true that I am of an older fashion; much that I love has been destroyed or sent into exile.” But what I learned during the exile of the stag-flated seventies was that it was always more fun to _create_ than to _consume_, to ponder than to be pandered to. It was always more exciting to _give_ than to _get_. But from 1982 on, all the world seems to have forgotten these lessons. All the world now worships the idols of consumerism, of fame, of glamour, and those idols, like the idol of the messianic politician, will fall.
The best and most important things in life do not require credit cards. They do not require big brazen bureaucracies and multi-billion dollar bailouts. They do not require the clever counsel of craven commanders-in-chief.
The best and most important things in life are love of God and love of neighbor. And as the world changes and our houses of credit cards collapse, we may find ourselves rediscovering both. We may learn how to once again trust in God to help us through the rough spots. We may learn how satisfying it can be to care
for friends and family. We may learn how interesting our eighbors are, once layoffs or the need to mow our own grass gives us the time and opportunity to get to know them.
We may, as a result of these changing times, rediscover what Frank Capra and Angelo Pellegrini once taught us: that lean years can be our happiest years, and that bad times can sift souls and feed one’s faith.
The world is changed. The current president will disappoint and disillusion those who worship him now, as all false idols do. And the pain of lost homes and layoffs will certainly be real. But we will be the ones who decide whether these pangs are harbingers of havoc or of healing; of ruin or of rebirth.
May God bless you and yours in the lean and happy years ahead….
• The Atlanta Tolkien Fans Meetup Group will convene at our house for their regular gathering this month, on 11/10, 2012, from 2-5pm in the afternoon. In addition to regular food, drink, and comeraderie, I’ll be giving tours of studio and paintings gallery. Come join us!
• My first book, “Seer: A Wizard’s Journal”, has been formally released as the inaugural offering from Oloris Publishing, a new imprint of the Middle-earth Network (www.mymiddleearth.com). Oloris is dedicated to bringing new multimedia works to fantasy, mythology, and sci-fi fans worldwide, and I am honored to have
had “Seer” chosen as their first publication. You can learn more than you’d likely ever want to know about Oloris, and about “Seer”, by clicking on of the following link: http://olorispublishing.mymiddleearth.com/
• A frame-able full-sized poster/print of my painting Home Again is now available in the Middle-earth Network Store ( http://store.mymiddleearth.com ). This is among the first offerings of the store, and the works of many talented artists, writers, musicians, actors, etc. will be featured there over time. Do take a look!