So as most of you know I have a friend in PA named Eric Armusik (you can see his stuff here) who is a very good painter. Most recently he created a few paintings for the parish of St. Sebastian. For the longest time I thought of commissioning another painting just for myself:
The painting would be based on G. K. Chesterton's essay, "On Lying in Bed." It would be, of course, a bit tongue and cheek. If you would like to read this essay you may find it here.
As you can tell, the phone call did not seem to be going very well. He seemed distracted and dodgy (if that is a word.) Maybe he didn't want to do what he might think a trite painting even though I thought it would be wonderful. The world needs a lot more mirth and this would fit the bill - and I believe that our hopefully-saint-to-be would get a kick out of it himself. Plus I thought that if he made prints out of them he could sell them to some eccentric Chertonians such as myself.
Three days passed and I received a package (wrapped in 12 layers of tape!) in the mail from Erik.
Mystery of mysteries. Mind you, this was only three days later. So it was with great curiosity that the package was ripped open and lo . . .
There it was! The painting of GKC in bed drawing on the ceiling with his burnt broom handle and smoking a cigar! But . . . but . . . but HOW? It came snail mail. That alone should have taken three days! Did he start painting it while we were on the phone - work furiously through the night, walk it directly to the post office and mail it to St. Sebastian??? This was incredible and I in wonder and at a loss. So I texted a friend who would understand.
We hadn't agreed on anything. It was a mere description. No talk of money. I was hoping I would not be too wowed by the sticker price. Anxiously I prayed about a phone call I would have to place to Eric when this text came:
Ha! What a relief! What a great surprise! What a great gift! Can you imagine what Eric was doing on the other end of the line when I was discribing the painting that he was already painting to him? The first thing he did was call Fr. Pfieffer and told him what happened. What a great laugh they must have had.
Anyway, the painting has been on display in the rectory. There is usually one of two reactions: the polite "Oh, how interesting," from those who have no clue what to make of this painting and the burst out of laughter and joy for those who know exactly what it is. It was greeted warmly by the St. Sebastian Chesterton Society last evening. Thanks Pf. (Makes my gift to you seem rather cheap! HA!)
Chesterton - ora pro nobis!