And welcome to my belated newsletter for September, 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.
I have posted three new painting images on my website. These include “Reciting the Signs”, “Glorfindel”, and “The House of Beorn”. These are located in two different places; the first is in the “Once upon a time” gallery (in the “Paintings inspired by C.S. Lewis” section), and the second and third are within the Tolkien gallery (“The Third Age – The Lord of the Rings” and “The Third Age – The Hobbit” sections, respectively). 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.
Do let me know how these new works strike you!
The greatest prayer in the world is simply saying “Thank you” to God. And yet, I know for so many of us, this can be the most difficult prayer of all.
Lorraine and I are going through a difficult patch, because of two separate issues. The lesser of these is that my drawing hand has suddenly been stricken with multiple symptoms that ultimately are preventing me from drawing or painting. This might seem a minor issue for most, but being unable to draw is, for me, as Tolkien once observed about a temporary inability to write, like being a hen without its beak.
But aside from the personal angst and anguish of not being able to render images, our far more distressing dilemma is that my mom, age 80, recently had surgery, and is now showing full signs of dementia. Angry, frustrated, belligerent, paranoid, she cannot grasp that her stay in a rehabilitation facility is to help her regain strength and the possibility of returning to a more normal life.
Aside from distress in seeing someone we love disappear in a flood of disconnected perceptions, I see in her perhaps the worst traits that I often show when I’m similarly stricken; impatience, frustration, and most of all, a lack of gratitude for simple things.
I’d like to think that this lack of gratitude could be easy to remedy, but the re-inflammation of a painful joint, an unexpected problem at work, or at home, and there I am again, furious and self-obsessed. And, I fear, often those closest to me are the ones who suffer most from these failures on my part.
All of life’s crises present us with Christ in His most distressing disguise. And when we encounter Him in this guise, whether in the form of an Alzheimer’s patient, a delinquent child, a destitute panhandler, or in a co-worker who is unusually inexplicably short-tempered, we can either recognize this suffering on their part as the Cross, or we can shrug it off and try to avoid such folk in the future.
More importantly, ofttimes it is we who are the ones suffering. And in those times, we can despair and curse our fate, or we can offer our sufferings up to God and ask for the graces of hope, of love for those around us who are seeking to help us, and most importantly, of gratitude.
Meister Eckardt tells us that “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Please, God, help me to remember that prayer.
• 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” images 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).
• 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!