Welcome to a blog in which you will find examples of my work in two areas and comments on whatever topics come to mind.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Card

Oil on art paper 7.5 x 9.5in

I watch Dickens's 'Christmas Carol' with Alistair Sims almost every Christmas. It's become part of the ritual, along with the tree and the turkey -- although, in South West France, where I live, there is a tempting alternative to the traditional turkey: a magret de canard -- i.e. a sort of duck steak. Of course the film drips with sentiment, but the acting is superb, the black and white has a specially potent dramatic atmosphere, and when Scrooge flings open his bedroom window after his nightmares, and learns that it is Christmas Day and he is not too late to do some good in the world, and he capers for joy . . . well, I admit to having, at that moment, a lump in my throat and a slightly moist eye.
This was painted for Alice Thompson's Calypso Moon Artist Movement: artistalicethompson@live.com

Sunday, December 5, 2010


This letter, having wafted in my way during the recent windy weather, I print here, in hope that exposing it to public view may lead to its being claimed by the sender and redirected:

The Atheneum
Baffin Island June 31, 2012


From earliest infancy it was borne in upon me by my elders and betters that I must avoid giving offence to others; how a careless word or unintentionally snide remark, or the wilful continuance of a questionable custom, could effect this. I was therefore not surprised when I read the other day that all dogs -- even small pugs and poodles -- were to be shipped to an obscure country of continental Europe. On precisely these grounds the Bill to ban pork,
currently being debated in the House, has my approval; even the clauses relating to roast pork, together with censorship of Charles Lamb's celebrated essay on the subject -- recounting this delicacy's chance discovery in medieval China and Ho-ti's regularly setting alight his piggery in order to partake. Thank goodness most banks have already removed piggy banks from their savings account counters.

The sensitivity to possibilities of offence now generally shown is surely to be applauded. We hear that the mayor of a great city has enjoined that when fasting is the requirement for some, others, indeed all, should likewise fast, in order not to give offence. I understand that church bells are no longer to ring, even at Christmas and New Year's, as being offensively clamorous to sensitive ears. It has been argued (meretriciously, I submit) that liberty consists in being able to tell others what they do not wish to hear; yet personally, I am relieved whenever I learn that certain public speakers, the content of whose intended discourse was deemed likely to give offence, have been turned away or denied a venue. Equally so, at developments in the education of children; I mean the curricular toppling of bygone national heroes and heroines from their pedestals, along with their feet of clay being bared and scrupulously dwelt upon to the last baby toe-nail.

I do wonder at finding nothing as yet said or written about Art; surely an egregious omission from public discourse. Human figures in landscape paintings, all portraits, and certainly Greek and Roman statues, brazenly unclad, are likely to cause offence. Let us hope that in the near future measures are taken to, if not destroy, then at least banish, such works to less enlightened lands; and close the galleries and museums which contained them.

But all these other positive developments, which I have mentioned -- taking place gradually and without being much noticed by the population, like the movement of the small hand of a clock -- are welcome; and for those responsible for having given offence to feel offended at no longer being allowed to do so would be manifestly unjust, and perhaps even racist.

Yours truly,

W. C. Struldbrug