Welcome to my newsletter for September, 2009! 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:
. Notices of events and items of interest are at the bottom of this email.
There are 3 new paintings posted on my website, and all are Tolkien-themed. These include: "The Road to Rivendell", "Tuor and the Swans", and "The West Farthing". You can see all of these by going to http://www.JefMurray.com
and clicking the "Newest Works" gallery button at top left, or by clicking:
I welcome your thoughts and comments on these new works!
Sometimes I'm sightless when sedulous. Recent weeks have seen me over-busy and overwhelmed; not harkening but harried. But meekness makes all things new, and `midst sparkling spiderwebs and dazzling dragonflies, I shall repent of my recklessness.
Right now, I'm ordering actuality: stuffing away for surprises; putting up against privation. Autumn ignites this in me. As acorns crack like pistol fire on the tin roof, I'm scouting for chinks in chimneys and affixing flashing against foul weather.
And make no mistake; foul weather is afoot, whether you reckon literally or metaphorically. Folks are fearful, yet a solvent summer has lured the lax back into bad behavior. "The recession is over!" opine Bernanke and Obama. But, I'm not buying any
Nothing has been fixed, and, as Tibbitts' Law states, "problems that go away by themselves come back by themselves."
I'm running the fences and testing the new metal door for drafts. We'll have none of cold vapours as the days draw down. We'll not heed the nightly noises of orcs, nor the wiles of wight nor wraith, provided there is steel betwixt us and them. This plus, presto! Floodlights that will quell the dankest devourer of domestic delight!
Figaro the fig tree is spent. I harvested 508 figs
just shy of 24 pounds(!). These will yield 18 gallons of fig wine. Coupled with the spoils of two cases of scuppernongs plus pickings from the front yard vines, they'll stock a sunless sea of liquid gold, mellowing in midwinter's chill. Perfume of peach and grape and strawberry and apple will punctuate the feasts that are forthcoming. And, whether or not we find we are suffering for the hubris of the Keynesians, there will be cheer and to spare for weary wanderers at the MooseNest.
So, bring on the "Lean Years, Happy Years", as Angelo Pellegrini says. Let fumes unfurl over Mordor, and let Jadis pummel Cair Paravel; we shall gather friends and family `round a snug hearth. We'll light candles and take trips to cellar for wine, and oil, and flour. We'll bake crusty loaves and fill cups to brimming with the finest of treasures
captured liquid sunshine that will stoke courage in the craven and delight in the despairing. We shall fortify ourselves with triumphant tales of old, lest the darkness quell our courage.
For this is what we are called to do. In the "long defeat" of this Middle-earth, we are led to listen to the One who is Wisdom. We are counseled to care for those around us, knowing that we are each struggling against wickedness, and that every soul is given a sacred gift to share: a poem, a painting, a song, a story. These will be what nurtures us as the darkness descends.
So, I ask forgiveness from those I've slighted. I ask for prayers for myself and for everyone in need of goodness, guidance, and grace
and that's all of us.
Then, as winds howl and foul things tap! tap! tap! on frosty panes, we'll once again trust that "all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well
May God bless you, and may you and yours be safe, and serene, and ever vigilant as the gloaming gathers...
- Well. Dragon*Con (www.DragonCon.com ) has come and gone! This year, I gave a presentation on "Black & White Ogre Country" as well as on some of my recent paintings and sketches. I also exhibited a few "teaser" illustrations from a book to be published in the spring. It was great seeing old friends, and there are many photo postings from the event already on Facebook. Some of these you can see by going to www.facebook.com/JefMurray , but there are many more photo albums available if you search
- Many of you know that my wife, Lorraine, is a columnist and author of four non-fiction books. But, she is now a published novelist(!), and her first mystery, entitled "Death in the Choir", is now available from Tumblar House on Amazon.com and BN.com. Please see a description and links at http://www.LorraineVMurray.com
. You will need to click on the "My Books" button at the top. And, yes, for those who asked before, I did create the cover illustration and cover design for the book.
- Teresa Knudsen has written a short article about the history of Green Dragon Inn for suite101.com, and has kindly used my painting of the same name in her article. You can see it at http://activism.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_green_dragon_in_history_and_literature
- The last "Amon Hen", the bulletin of the Tolkien Society, includes a review of "Lands of Enchantment", the latest exhibition of work by Ted Nasmith, Ruth Lacon, Peter Pracownik and myself. Written by Liz Stephens, a loyal Moreton-in-Marsh attendee and erstwhile Ranger of the North, the review captures a lot of the sense of fun and
adventure that attends these yearly gatherings. In addition, the September issue of "Amon Hen" should feature my "Green Dragon" painting as the cover image.
- The latest issue of Mallorn, the journal of the British Tolkien Society (see http://www.tolkiensociety.org
), will feature a couple of my recent paintings, including (possibly) the cover image(!). Many thanks to Henry Gee for continuing to graciously include my work in this wonderful journal!
- The next issue of Silver Leaves, the journal of the White Tree Fund (http://www.whitetreefund.org/)
, will also be featuring a couple of my painting images. The issue focuses on fantasy art, so I am particularly delighted that they will be including my work. I also have a short article in this, the third issue, of Silver Leaves.
- ADC Books now has an online catalog featuring Tolkien-themed original paintings and prints from Ted Nasmith, Ruth Lacon, Peter Pracownik, and myself. In addition, you'll find collectible items and rare books featured in the ADC Books catalog. Please take a look at www.adcbooks.co.uk.