December Hibernation




This month I had big plans to hibernate.   The kind of hibernation that calls for unflattering pajama pants, cups of hot chocolate laced with brandy, a hefty stack of magazines, and more than just a few sugar cookies.  For reasons that I don’t even want to mention as they are so painfully obvious,  this December has turned out to be a very somber one and perhaps the urge to hibernate may not have been such a bad idea.  Yet, as the month unfolded,  these great plans for escape vanished as Christmas orders kept coming in and my social calendar unexpectedly filled up.   Finally the other night just as John and I put our feet up after shipping out what appeared to be the last big batch of Christmas orders,  John came up with the clever idea to watch ‘The Red Shoes’.   I know, it’s a strange suggestion coming from a man, but his taste in film seems to run the gamut from classics like ‘The Red Shoes’ to ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’- which fortunately I’ve been spared from watching.

The strange truth is that I have never seen ‘The Red Shoes’.   It always eluded me until John purchased the Criterion Collection copy of the film a short time ago.  I knew that I would love it if I ever got the chance to see it as  I’ve gleaned enough from film stills and quick excerpts to know that it was a film for me.  I wasn’t disappointed.  It’s a stunning film with a very unsettling undercurrent.  A true fairytale.  You are never unaware that something dark and shadowy hovers around the pretty edges of the story but doesn’t really present itself until the end.   It’s a very painterly film as well.   Not just with the set design (how I love to see painted sets) but with the colours throughout the movie- vivid reds, pastel pinks and icy blues.  And I can tell you, Moira Shearer’s fantastic hairstyle has already made an appearance in a painting that I’m working on. It felt so good to feel the tingle of inspiration again.

It’s clear that this holiday season will not be a joyous one for many people but I hope everyone finds a little room for escapism whether it be through spending time with family and friends, or simply reading a great book or watching a spectacular film.   Cups of hot chocolate laced with brandy wouldn’t hurt either.




9 Responses to “December Hibernation”

  1. Great post! Glimmers of inspiration can come from everywhere and anywhere, even when we’re feeling uninspired. It’s a great feeling when you’re in a rut and a slim sliver of light shines through and inspires. Happy holidays Janet!

  2. Mary Ellen Fitzer

    Marvelous thoughts and insights. So sorry about your battle with plagiarism of your work.
    I will watch ‘ The Red Shoes ‘ this season , and I’ll look for Moira Shearer’s hairstyle in your painting. Here’s hoping you keep good spirits with more creative inspiration coming, and maybe a little time for hibernation with that hot chocolate laced with brandy. I’m a big fan!

    Best Wishes,
    Mary Ellen

  3. I knew as soon as you mentioned that film that it would inspire your work. I will look forward to seeing the paintings.
    Yes, it will be a tricky Christmas for a lot of people. I hope they all find a moment to smile.

  4. ahhh the Red SHoes! it’s my Mom’s favorite movie. Michael Powell directed a few others of interest…..if you can get hold of Peeping Tom —it’s very sinful – a psycho-thriller (actually quite sick). And I think there is some good ’50s style in there for inspo if I remember correctly. I have been hibernating myself with Cary Grant oldies and some Thin Man’s and some Barbara Stanwicks. It feels so homey with oldies on all the time. I started to clip out some stills myself. You have to see what I have been up to on my Etsy shop with Anna Karenina printed pages…..took some stills from the current movie and painted them. I want to try some old Greta Garbo’s next from her version of Anna K which I have yet to watch….maybe tonight!
    Happy Holidays, Janet!

  5. Merry Christmas Janet.
    May a goog sound hibernation allow you to empty yourself of some of the hardships that came your, and our worlds way in 2012.
    It is worth remembering that 2013 will be a new and fresh start, and that we are all fortunate actually, when we see what some families have to cope with the loss of their angelic child.
    I wish you all the best!

  6. I am with you and the whole hibernation thing (books, magazines, and movies). Next week after Christmas is over it is pajamas, the couch, and my Cavalier King Charles George! Think I am looking forward to that as much as Christmas.

    I just wanted you to know that your art is such a gift to all of us! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

    Merry Christmas

  7. THE RED SHOES is one of my favorite films – I’ve seen it at least five times. Not only is it beautifully shot, but I love the message in the film; as women we are often torn between pursuing our careers and having a family. This also happens to be one of Martin Scorsese’s favorites too; he collects all types of memorabilia associated with this film. I look foward to seeing your paintings that will surely be inspired by this film.


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