"Christmas Train"
by Franz Brown / John P Falstaff

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Acrylic 24x48
2007

Santa wasn’t supposed to be in this painting, which was to be more like the scene with engine 110 in the 4th of July setting. This was supposed to be a Christmas scene with people standing in line to see Santa to be out of view in a caboose. I was doing each of the three locomotives of the 1880s train in Hill City.

This gradually evolved with elements like the people and a caboose disappearing, suddenly there’s Santa outside decorating a tree. I painted “Oh Christmas Tree” (Fkb1215) to figure some things out artistically and then proceeded with this painting. In the meantime I was running around Rapid City, SD trying to find a suitable bear to use as my model. At the Salvation Army one day I spotted a little white dog sitting on a shelf, with his big eyes he grabbed at my heart. I tried to ignore him but weakened while looking for bears in the rest of the store. Finally I returned to the shelf where he sat and freed him for 50 cents. I admit to its being a bit strange but I’ve come to look on him as a special companion; I’m pretty sure there is a real life in there somewhere under all that fluffy white fur. Any way he came home with me, received a name, “Sidekick,” took a position in this painting and a later portrait and now sits on my kitchen counter watching me while I paint.

Santa and Sidekick both have halos. A delicate gold light shines from the engine’s headlamp as Santa’s magic swirls about as it lights up the locomotive. A puff of stars bursts from the smoke stack. The constellation Leo romps to the right of the smoke.

Fkb 1212

Copyright  Franz Brown