Thursday, 31 January 2008

Drug-Induced Optimism

When I wrote on Tuesday, I was still full of those drugs that they used to sedate me with when the dental work was being done. I now know that the drugs left me feeling much better than I have felt since they have worn off!

I am just as certain that I will eventually recover, but I no longer expect it to happen quite so quickly.

Also, I had hoped to use this time stuck at home to get lots of work done on my drawings; however, my pain medication -- which I really need -- keeps interfering with staying awake!

So, I put this drawing in tonight from my Christmas selections as we have 20 cm of snow predicted (that's 8 in for all you Americans) for tomorrow. Unfortunately, I have neither a sleigh nor horses so I suppose I will be staying at home.

May we all have a peaceful night and a safe tomorrow.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

I Survived

I not only survived my dental surgery, but I even think my recovery period may not be too awful!

I am definitely going to look like I was in a very bad fight as I am turning black and blue already. I am swollen on both sides of my face, but thanks to some excellent pain pills, I am not suffering much at all!

However, these pain pills do make me very sleepy which is why I am posting at this very late hour -- I have been asleep already since late this afternoon. miz k.d. seems very pleased -- she thinks I have finally turned into a cat!

This drawing I have posted is one I have been working on for the last little while. It is called "Guardian Angel of Souls".

I really like it as I tend to believe that there is a Guardian Angel waiting with a soul as each child is conceived -- so their job starts at the moment of conception and lasts until death. The original that I worked from is obviously Orthodox as shown by the cross design and the Jesus beads.

Comments, as always, would be appreciated. Send them to me at

Well, the pill I took a short time ago is starting to do its thing so I had better get back to bed. Thanks for all your good wishes and prayers.

Peace be with you.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Advocates for Nature?

There was a big article in today's Toronto Star about whether the different aspects of the natural world needed legal advocates -- needed some sort of standing in our legal system.

The photo and caption I have included here were at the top of the newspaper article... and the damage resulting from oil spills was included as one of the serious problems caused by mankind with which Nature is frequently confronted in the modern world.

Also included was a photo and an account of Joyce Burnell and the oak tree. Ms. Burnell is an 80 something year old woman who fought developers who were determined to cut down an ancient oak to widen a highway. The oak in question was estimated to be at least three centuries old and stood 8 stories high.

Ms. Burnell won the battle. It cost her $300,000 but the highway now makes a slight dip and the oak tree stands.

Just recently there was a photo in one of the papers of a section of Yonge Street after a snow storm. As can be seen, it is full of trees. I was thinking to myself after reading today's article: "what if they wanted to widen Yonge Street?"

First of all, I don't think that would happen, especially not at this point which is near Mount Pleasant Cemetery, and the citizens would never allow them to cut down all those trees anyway. So, it is almost like these trees already have legal advocates.

This train of thought caused me to recall a photo that one of my regular readers sent me several months ago of her favourite tree.

This tree is located, happily, in a city park which means that it is very safe

I can't imagine any reason for cutting down a beautiful tree in a park other than illness or old age.

So, we have laws and protected areas in this part of the world but even here someone has to fight to save an oak tree.

In other parts of the world, trees and animals and birds and plants may all be destroyed to the point of extinction.

If they were being destroyed to feed the hungry that would be acceptable; however, they are usually being destroyed due to some rich man's greed -- enabling him to become a wee bit richer.

How God must weep at what we are doing to this beautiful Earth He gave us.

Leaving such sadness aside for the time being, I have included a drawing of the brother of a dear friend of mine.

This brother lives in the mountains just outside Taos, New Mexico, USA. He is a wonderful artist.

The reason I have drawn a picture of his face is that I am busily working on creating a special drawing that my friend can give him for his birthday.

He always sends her hand-drawn cards for special events and now, after much discussion, we have decided that she should send him something that will really surprise him.

I will let you see what we finally come up with.

Meanwhile, I am getting myself all prepared for my dental surgery on Tuesday. Please pray that it finally happens this time!

Peace be with you all.

Friday, 25 January 2008

More Icons

Well, here's the new icon of the Archangel St. Michael that I was mentioning earlier this week.

I am also re-posting the original icon of St. Michael that I did late last year so you can see how different the two of them are.

Maybe some of you will even be inclined to send me an email to let me know which one you prefer and why! I would really appreciate that.

I am not feeling too great tonight as my teeth have finally started bothering me. So now I am more anxious than ever to see next Tuesday arrive so I can finally get my mouth taken care of properly.
As I mentioned previously, I have been keeping myself distracted by drawing a lot. Here is another icon of Christ which I am calling "Merciful Saviour". This is the first-draft stage and I am far from certain as to whether I will continue to keep it so GREEN!
I am also working on another cat and dog drawing which should be ready for posting by the 27th. Of course that depends on how I am feeling between now and then.
May peace be with you.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Another Wednesday

I don't know how many of you Torontonians read today's Toronto Star, but if you did, you were probably also impressed by this beautiful photograph.

Unfortunately, as you can see by the headline, it is something beautiful that we may soon lose due to global warming and rising sea levels.

This is what was written underneath the photo: "A spectacular rock formation on the Northern Irish coast could soon become difficult to access because of erosion and flooding over this century, the National Trust warns. The causeway comprises about 40,000 interlocking mostly hexagonal basalt columns formed by volcanic activity. More than half a million tourists visit each year. Celtic legend says giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool) built the causeway as stepping stones across to Scotland."

Personally, I would be more inclined to believe that Finn MacCool made the "more than 40,000 interlocking ... hexagonal basalt columns" than to think they were formed by "volcanic activity". But, hey, that's just me!

Seriously, it is a beautiful photograph of a magical place. How sad that we have to lose it along with all the other stuff we are supposed to be losing during this new century.

Today was a quiet day for me and miz k.d. She ended up sitting in the chair near my computer for quite some time.

She was sitting in her favourite position: hanging over the arm of the chair with her legs stuck straight out in front of her. It looks terribly uncomfortable, but she has been sitting this way since she was a kitten.

It was fun to have a live model for a change -- and best of all, she only charged a few kitty treats!

I have also been working on a new icon of the Archangel Michael. I will probably be posting my first draft on Friday. As you may recall, I did of drawing of St. Michael a number of weeks ago but this new one is quite different -- as you will soon see.

Wishing you all much peace and joy.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008


[Quebec City in Winter drawing by Sallie Thayer]
Due to a little snow storm, Wheeltrans (the handicapped bus service) could not reach me in time for me to have the dental procedure done. So now I will be having this work done on the 29th of January! This is the 4th time I have had to reschedule.

So, I should definitely be posting to my blog as usual in the days ahead.

Thanks to everyone who sent their good wishes and prayers. I will save them for next week!

Monday, 21 January 2008


Well, this time tomorrow I will be at the dental clinic and the nurse will be preparing me for some serious sedation. The IV will be started and I will, thankfully, be asleep for the dental surgery that will be performed. When I awaken, it will all be over with except for the pain and the healing.
In an effort to keep from thinking about it, I have been continuing to spend a lot of time on the computer, working on drawings. I reach the first draft stage on one drawing and then move on to something new.
Like the drawing above.
I am calling it "Doggy with Best Friend" for the time being -- maybe even permanently. I need to live with it for a few days before I decide.
This next drawing is a rather strange one.

Recently, while looking through a collection of Greek and Russian icons, I came upon one that really surprised me.

I was so taken with it that I decided to try to draw it. The drawing you see is the resulting first-draft.

The icon that I used as my model had a lot more Greek writing at the top on both sides and if I am ever able to figure out what all the letters are, I will add them to my drawing.

What this icon made me think of the moment I saw it was what Catholics and Orthodox believe happens during the Liturgy (Mass). The words of the Liturgy, spoken by the ordained priest, actually change the elements of bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.

As strange as this belief must seem to those who do not share it, it is, for those who believe, an unbelieveably holy and sacred event -- for what we believe happens is that God truly becomes present on the altar.

That is why this icon affected me so profoundly.

I have not done it justice so far and I know I will be working on improving the drawing for some time yet. As always, any suggestions would be appreciated.

Meanwhile I need to think about getting everything organized for the morning. Wheeltrans will be picking me up fairly early.

I hope I will be posting again on the 23rd; however, that will depend on how I am feeling.

Until then, I wish you all peace and joy.

Saturday, 19 January 2008


I have been dealing with some issues this past week.
One of my main coping techniques is to spend more time than usual working on drawings. When I am doing art work, I get in my "zone". I am in the present moment and totally focussed on the drawing I am working on.
That is why I am showing you two brand new icons tonight!
This first one is a very modern interpretation of St. Francis of Assisi. Since I can't find the Greek for his name, I have identified him at the bottom of the icon. If anyone out there knows the Greek abbreviation for St. Francis, please let me know.
The second icon is of St. Joseph and the Holy Child. This is a more traditional icon.

The young Jesus looks more like a little man than a boy which is the way he always appears in Orthodox icons. I have heard it said that this indicates that he was always both divine and human.

His right hand is blessing us and the left hand holds the Book (pictured as a scroll in this icon).

St. Joseph holds the lilies, as usual, which indicate his purity. His name in Greek is not absolutely correct since I don't have access to a Greek letters such as Theta.

Anyway, I would appreciate your comments and suggestions about both of these icons.

Meanwhile, I think I will get back to my art work. I have some unpleasant dental surgery coming up on Tuesday and I really would prefer not to think about it!

I wish you all peace and joy.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

This Earth We Share

This photo was in today's Toronto Star Travel Section. It is a picture of a beach in Antigua which I took the liberty of cropping just a bit.

What remains is a incredibly powerful natural sculpture Nature has created from a dead tree.

I don't know what it looks like to you, but to me it looks like the upper body of a woman. I feel she is trying to pull herself out of the wet sand which has her trapped.

Or maybe it is the skeleton of a woman who died while trapped and as she died she raised her eyes to the heavens and cried out that eternal "why?"

As I said, you may see something different and I would really like to hear about it if you do.

Speaking of things that are trapped, look at the drawing below.

This is just some doodling from this afternoon as I thought about the TV show I tried to watch last night. It is barely even a first draft and is probably headed for that file I spoke about in my last post where I put things I should probably delete but can't bring myself to.

Anyway, back to this show on TV. It was on last night on the CBC -- the Fifth Estate -- and was a look at how little progress has been made in the way that many captive animals are kept. This drawing was one of our fellow creatures appearing in the show who spoke volumes without saying a word.

Actually, I really could not watch more than a few minutes of the show, but this image has stayed with me all day. Maybe it affected me so much because I had just been working on the drawing of monkeys sitting in the wild, grooming one another.

This old fellow stood in a dirty cage staring at nothing, waiting for death -- or so it seemed to me. If I decide to continue to work on this drawing, I will have to make those white bars dirty and marked with peeling paint -- among other changes.

It is interesting that I also started working on an icon of St. Francis of Assisi today. It seemed fitting somehow.

In the midst of so much suffering may we somehow become channels of peace.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Gift for a Friend

I have spent time during the past couple of days working on this new drawing. I have reached the first draft stage and wanted to show it to you.

However, I really want to show this drawing to one regular reader who, I know for a fact, is very fond of monkeys!

I have been telling this special person for some time that I would take a try at drawing monkeys one of these days -- I have never tried to draw them previously -- and so I finally did it.

The title of this drawing is "Monkeys Grooming" and although I still have more work to do on the drawing, I do hope my effort is appreciated! As always, I would be pleased to receive any comments or suggestions that might help me make it a better drawing.

The other item I have been working on is one of the very first Pantocrator icons I tried to draw.

I know the image is a bit overwhelming with its strong neck and shoulders, but I really do like the idea of Christ in His Resurrected Body looking very strong and masculine.

It is not the way that icons are normally drawn as they are supposed to try to express the meeting place of the human and divine -- and too much masculinity makes the drawing seem more human than divine.

That said, I still find it appealing and so I have been working on it to see if I can't "resurrect" it somehow! It may not be possible and, if not, it will end up in the file where I keep all those drawings which I can't bring myself to completely delete -- yet.

Our Toronto weather, by the way, seems to be getting a bit colder each day and I hear that snow is predicted for the weekend. Oh, well, it is after all just the middle of January!

Peace be with you one and all.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Weather Woes

This cartoon (above) was in today's Toronto Star newspaper. It is so true of what our weather has been like -- especially these past weeks.

A week and a half ago, the daytime high was something like -25 C (factoring in the wind chill). Less than a week later, the temperature was 16 C (almost 60 F)! The past few days have had above normal temperatures once again, but snow is forecast for tonight and tomorrow. By this time next week, we will supposedly have record-breaking cold weather again! Mixed in with all this has been high winds so strong that signs were blowing off downtown skyscrapers! Truly, it takes real detective work to figure out how much or how little clothing you need each day before going out.

In spite of all this crazy weather, I have been feeling much better and so have been able to get a bit more work done on the computer.

I got some really helpful comments from a friend about my recent icon drawings and I have been trying to make changes as suggested.

These two icons are still not finished, but I feel that I am making progress on them.

The one of St. Peter now contains the Greek for his name. As well, I have changed the colours in his clothing in an effort to give more of a contrast between the foreground and background.

As many of you may be aware, when St. Peter was to be martyred by crucifixion, he asked to be crucified upside down since he felt he was unworthy to be crucified in the same way as his Lord, Christ Jesus. Thus, I have tried to indicate this by showing an upside down Eastern cross on the end of his staff. I am not sure that this works so would appreciate some comments on whether what I have done is effective or confusing.

I have also done some editing on this most recent version of the Pantocrater-type icon.

The background colour has been softened and brightened. I have also been working on the facial expression in an effort to convey both solemnity and wisdom.

This is definitely the part of "drawing" icons that requires prayer as I realize that I am trying to give human expression to something that is, in truth, inexpressible.

As always, any additional suggestions and comments would be greatly appreciated

Finally tonight, I want to show you a very recent drawing. This is the type of drawing that I do when I want to relax.

This is obviously a still life and I have, in fact, entitled it "Floral Still Life". As you can see, I haven't lost my ability to create really clever names!

The design is such that it provides me with a lot of opportunity to play with colour -- mostly variations of pink and blue -- in this first draft. After I live with it for a few days I may well decide to make changes. Once again, your feedback would be appreciated.

So I come to the end of another posting. God willing, I will post again on Tuesday.

Until then I wish you peace, joy and more predictable weather than we are having here in Ontario!

Friday, 11 January 2008

A Good Day for Business

Well, this has indeed been a good day for business!

I took two of the angel icons with me when I went to meet our co-op manager. She had expressed an interest in seeing what type of work I was doing with angels as someone in her life collects angel images. The two I took were the one of St. Raphael the Archangel and the one of the Guardian Angel with the two children.

When she saw them, she asked if she could purchase both of them! I, of course, said a very pleased "yes". I really hadn't been expecting to sell them so quickly so I did not even have the information attached to the back of each icon and had to hurry home and print it off and return to attach it.

This is the information for the back of these particular icons:

Next, the person who had ordered two large and two small icons came by to pick them up. He seemed to be very pleased with them. The large and small versions were of the same two icons -- Our Lady of Tender Mercy and Christ in the Manger.
I feel like a really professional artist at this point; however, I am sure once a few days go by without any more sales, I will have to face reality. In other words, I shouldn't expect to have an exhibit at the AGO any time soon!!
Turning to other types of art work, here is the first draft of a drawing I have been
working on between working on icons and kitty cats.
This is the sort of drawing that I find relaxing to work on. It is entitled "The Three Swans".

As the swans glide silently along, I think I will go and rest a bit. The tiredness is catching up with me again.

I am feeling much better these days, but I still seem to get tired very easily.

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Cats and Saints

Well, I survived to write another day! It turns out that I have been suffering with pneumonia -- no wonder I felt so bad. Now I am on my way to getting better thanks to still-effective antibiotics.

While I have been spending so much time at home these past days, I have often felt well enough to do a bit of drawing. I even decided to try to clear up a number of small projects that have needed doing but just somehow never seemed to get accomplished.

One of these projects was a request from a friend of mine to adapt one of my cat drawings to "sort of" look like her cat (pictured above). I asked her if she wouldn't like for me to actually do a drawing of her cat, but she said that all she wanted was for me to take my drawing of miz k.d. and adapt it to look a bit more like her cat. I agreed to try.

This is the result of my efforts.

I have since sent a copy of this "adaptation" to my friend via email, and have just heard back from her. She evidently wants to talk about making a few changes.

As always, you are welcome to make suggestions also.

I will show you the final result.

One other project I have been working on is a new icon of St. Peter.

I was inspired by a copy of a 6th century icon of the saint located in St. Catharine's Monastery on Mt. Sinai.

Some of these early icons are a combination of developing iconography and Classical art. This is an appealing example of the combination.

I still want to do more work on it including getting the Greek letters inserted for the name Peter. I am also open to suggestions from my readers. And, as always, I will let you know what the finished picture looks like.

I was inspired to do this drawing because the person who has been one of my most important companions in the spiritual journey is named Peter.

I am so grateful to be feeling a bit stronger. I still have a ways to go before I get my strength back, but I shouldn't be making any more postings about how bad I am feeling -- at least for a few weeks!

I wish you all good health and much peace and joy.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Another Difficult Day

As you may recall, this is a photo of me taken back in the mid-1980's. I am holding a friend's baby at the end of a long and tiring day.
I posted this photo because it shows better than words how I would like to be held and comforted in a mother's arms.
I am still feeling quite bad physically and will be seeing my doctor in the morning. She thinks my so-called cold has turned out to be bronchitis!
So, rather than trying to post anything artistic this evening, I am just going to back to my bed.
I would appreciate all prayers and positive thoughts anyone would like to send my way. I hope to be better soon.
Peace and blessings to you all.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Sniff,Sniff, Cough,Cough

I wasn't going to post anything tonight, but I am so uncomfortable at this point that I can't sleep anyway -- so here I am.

I do have a new drawing to show you. A new icon, actually. The original that I worked from is entitled "Christ the Teacher" so that is what I will call this one as well.

It is really just another version of the Pantocrator icon that I drew some weeks ago only this one has an open book instead of a closed one.

As always, I would really appreciate some comments or suggestions that might help me as I continue to work on this drawing -- this is just the first draft, remember.

And speaking of continuing to work on things, here is an icon that I showed you several weeks ago.

I have made a few changes and also worked on the shading on the face a bit more. I am not completely satisfied with it still, so if you have any suggestions regarding it, they would be appreciated.

Actually, I am finding that this icon becomes more appealing to me the longer I work on it. The name that I have finally given it is "Christ, Man of Sorrows".

Anyway, as I indicated at the beginning of this post, I am still not anywhere close to being well. Whatever this is, it is most unpleasant and I hope that none of you are so unfortunate as to become acquainted with this bug!

I have just finished another cup of hot, ginger tea as I have been typing away here so I am hoping that will settle my stomach a bit. I am feeling a bit more hopeful now that I might be able to finally get to sleep -- sleep, the best medicine of all.

I pray you all keep well.


Thursday, 3 January 2008

Revisions and Completions

The first drawing I want to show you tonight is a revision.

As you may recall, this is an icon of the Archangel Gabriel which I showed you for the first time a few posts ago. As usual, I asked for comments and suggestions.

Thankfully, one of my most helpful readers wrote to me and pointed out something that had already been bothering me -- I was just too lazy to do anything about it until someone else noticed it too!

If you go back a few posts and look at the first draft of this icon, you will see that the right hand is almost at the bottom of the drawing and looks as though it is closed into a fist. As my friend pointed out, Gabriel, of all the Archangels, is the least likely to make a fist as he has always been presented as gentle. He was, in fact, the one whom God sent to the young Virgin Mary to tell her that she was to become the Mother of God.

So, I redrew his hand (actually angels are neither male nor female but it is convenient to use the masculine pronoun) and then decided I would show him gently holding a staff.

Let me know what you think about the new arrangement.

This next item is the completed first draft of the partially completed drawing I showed you just recently.

I only made a few changes in the parts I had already drawn and just completed the remainder of the drawing.

There are still parts of the drawing that I want to continue to work on so if you have any suggestions or ideas for making it more effective, this is the time to speak up!

As for me, I have developed a very unplesant cold in the past 36 hours -- and I am not pleased about this at all.

I rarely get colds but somehow this one snuck up on me. Everyone who has spoken with me today and heard my raspy voice has asked "did you get your flu shot?"

I told them, "yes" I got my flu shot in November, but what I have is not the flu. It is just a plain, old-fashioned cold with headache, stuffed sinuses and sore throat. I have already lost my ability to taste food and smell odours.

Oh, well, nothing for it except to let it do its thing -- hopefully, it will be one of those fast-moving colds and be over in 8 days instead of 10! If you want to write me and tell me how sorry you feel for me, I am sure that would make me feel much better!

Meanwhile, I hope you all stay cold free.


Tuesday, 1 January 2008

A Work in Progress

This drawing is not what I consider to be a work in progress, but is, instead, the first draft of a completed work.

I finished drawing this picture, entitled "Bunny and Me" about a week ago. As I have mentioned previously, whenever I finish drawing another icon, I take a break from the intensity of that type of drawing by drawing something that makes me feel happy.

As you may recall, this is the third drawing of 2007 which featured a bunny rabbit. Not sure why I am feeling attracted to drawing bunnies these days -- who knows. Maybe it is because bunnies are one of the few wild animals that are not presently being driven to the point of extinction!

Anyway, what caused me to choose the title of tonight's post is the drawing that follows. This drawing has not even reached the first draft stage yet.

As I was working on this drawing of a child care worker, it suddenly dawned on me that I have never shown you what a work in progress actually looks like. I thought you might like to get an idea of how I work.

When I find a photograph that appeals to me, I set it aside as a possible future drawing. Then, when I am looking for something new to start working on, I go through my collection until I find an image that makes me say "yes, that's the next one."

I always work on getting the faces, heads and upper bodies in place first. Usually there is one part of the picture that appeals to me most -- in this one it is the child care worker's face. Once that is in place then I build the drawing around it.

Actually, in this particular case, I find I am quite moved by the child's hand placed so trustingly on the caregiver's arm. I will definitely try to find a way to create some focus on that area as well.

I hope you had a good New Year's Day.
Wishing you blessings and peace.