ARTISTS: Salvador Dali’s Surreal Christmas Cards

Ho Ho Ho my Gosh; ‘Tis the Season for Surrealism 

In 1960, before the visuals arts had withdrawn into their current status of hostile, insular irrelevance, greeting card benchmark Hallmark had an idea to bring people some culture for Christmas. 50 artists were featured on Hallmark Christmas cards, with the noble intention of sharing some Modern masters with the mass market. Along with staples like Norman Rockwell and Currier and Ives, more avant-garde figures like Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Paul Cezanne were presented.

One of the artists recruited was Surrealist Salvador Dali. The choice was not as strange as it might seem. He had already created a Christmas image for the cover of Vogue in 1948.

Dali’s Christmas Vogue Cover

For a flat fee of $15,000.00 and promises of complete artistic control, Dali produced a series of Yuletide images. Unfortunately, the executives at Hallmark decided he went a little TOO cultural for the tastes of the time, and only a few of his tamer paintings were used.

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Two of the Dali Images used: Tame compared to the others

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But now, thanks to the magic of the internet, we can enjoy some surrealism for the season. Here are some of Salvador Dali’s unused Christmas card pictures.

 

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Merry Christmas!

 

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EXPLOITS: The Christmas Tree Painting

Tree Detail 3

Our Christmas Tree: A detail shot from our work-in progress tradition

It started in 2012.

It’s a little hard when you are adults, with no kids around, to find the proper level of Christmas decorating for the home.

To not decorate at all would be bleak. It would be an unhappy break from a lifetime cycle of excitement and fun around the holidays, as well as missing out on commemorating one of the definitive miraculous events in human history.

But to go for an 8 foot live tree with all the trimmings and a giant outdoor display seems excessive. There are other complications as well. Our cats were too intrigued by even the small artificial tree we used for a few years, leading to some unfortunate episodes. And we don’t even have an outlet on the outside of our house to plug lights into.

In 2012 my wife Michele Bledsoe came up with a great solution. We were both painters-why not make a painting of a Christmas tree that we could bring out for the holiday?

Inspired, we made a quick trip to the art supply store and got to work.

Tree paint 1

2012: I began with the star and some vague spots of color as a base coat for ornaments

Michele’s sister Sherry Weiss was living with us at the time, and joined in creating the tree and decorations. The idea was just to roughly block in the shapes at first. Then, every year at Christmas time when we bring out the painting, we would continue to work on it.

Tree paint 2

Sherry and Michele, adding details

Michele took on the role of clean up and enhancement. Since her paintings are so precise and intricate, she excels at getting images resolved.

Tree paint 3

2015 marks our fourth season of painting on the tree. There’s still room to add new ornaments, and plenty of opportunities to refine the elements we’ve already depicted. We haven’t even touched the background yet. I imagine we will be working on this the rest of our lives.

When the tree is not on one of our easels, we put it on our family room floor, surrounded by presents. It’s been a wonderful tradition. And the cats don’t try to climb it.

Merry Christmas!

Tree

“Christmas Tree” acrylic on canvas 36″ x 24″

Michele Bledsoe, Richard Bledsoe, Sherry Weiss