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The Claus Factor – by Robert Genn

The Claus Factor
by Robert Genn

Clausism is one of our most endearing and unique superstitions. Even when people stop believing in the Jolly Old Guy with the nighttime chimney-work, they tend to carry on his regimen of giving and receiving. Remarkably harmless to innocent bystanders, you seldom hear of anyone driving sleds into tall buildings while shouting "Claus is Great!"

Santa urges his followers to go forth and be generous. Some years ago there was a movement to make him the Patron Saint of Artists. "An artist gives," said Veronica Roth. "He gives visually, through courses, with free advice, through generosity of spirit and through a need to share."

Fact is, artists are in the Claus game all year 'round. "Art is the giving by each of us of our evidence to the world," said Robert Henri. "Those who wish to give, love to give, discover the pleasure of giving. Those who give are tremendously strong."

And it's this time of year when we artists get a chance to show just how strong we are. It's not surprising that most charity fundraisers back their carts up to the Santa Season. When you think of it, we love doing the work--one fine way to help a children's hospital, a dance centre, a small village in Africa, or further research toward a cure for cancer.

Then there are the little gifts we give on our own. I like the unwrapped, offhand ones--perhaps a small painting or drawing given with no clatter on the roof, no cookie crumbs to clean up. I think Santa likes to hear about these little services--and besides, it lessens his load.

More than anything, a gift that happens to be personally crafted by the giver is most likely to be a treasure to the receiver. It seems these days that Santa's up-north workshop, once hands-on and all abuzz with creative elves, has now been transmogrified into a Chinese factory. All the more reason to get out your brushes and chisels. "It is when you give of yourself," said Kahlil Gibran, "that you truly give."

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy, a whole heart, and a free mind." (Pearl S. Buck)

Esoterica: Just being an artist is a big sack of abundance. Our blessings come down the chimney every time we squeeze our paint. A small effort is required to think and start, some fortitude is needed to stay with the vexing parts, some patience to stay and watch the miracle of the magic process, and some final joy to sign your name. It may as well be "S. Claus." Ho ho ho, and by the way, Merry Christmas. "I am so rich that I must give myself away." (Egon Schiele)

Robert Genn has given ARTAZINE permission to post from his twice-weekly newsletter. For more of his artistic insights, visit his blog at www.painterspost.com.

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