Monday, 31 March 2008

I Almost Forgot!

I almost forgot that this was the night for posting on my blog.

Part of the problem is this early Easter business once again.

Today we celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation -- when the Archangel Gabriel (see above) announced unto Mary that she would be the Mother of God. This Feast is normally celebrated on the 25Th of March. However, this year, because of the early Easter, the 25Th fell on the Tuesday following Easter Sunday. The Church can't celebrate anything but the Resurrection during that week so the Feast of the Annunciation got transferred to the 31st. Do you begin to see why I am confused?

Anyway, all is working out well and nothing has been forgotten. To quote Dame Julian of Norwich: "All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well."

I spent most of the weekend finishing off work for clients.

Remember my friend, Steve, who had asked me to do some drawings of his sons? Well, they are finished now.

The one above is of the twins (fraternal) when they were teenagers and the one below is when they were much younger, obviously.

Altogether, I had a number of items to do for him.

I had to get the 5 art prints of mine put on plaques and ready for hanging. I also was given an old photo of his grandfather that he wanted cleaned up a bit and mounted on a plaque. I did an arrangement of family photographs for him to display. The only things I have left now are finding the right kind of paper for reprinting his university degree and getting his approval on a World Religions collage he asked me to create.

The other job I have been working on is for a local opera company. They are preparing a production of "The Marriage of Figaro" as I may have mentioned previously.

I have been busily drawing a "portrait" of the duke which needs to look like the person who is performing that part. It has been great fun doing research on 18Th century silk coats and ruffled shirts as well as white wigs and side curls for men!

Once I have gotten further along with the drawing, I will give you a look at it so you can see what you think of my fashion choices.

So I come to the end of another posting and we all come to the end of another month. How quickly the days fly by.

May peace be with us all.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Earth Hour 2008

As you can see from the new drawing of the cat, I was taking a break from all things serious and difficult and just doing a relaxing piece of art work.

It still needs some finishing before I will be satisfied with it but I really enjoyed being aware of a "cat thoughts" during the hours I spent working on it.

At present, I am calling it "Miss Calico".

Now on to Earth Hour.

We are surrounded by the event and it is good to see everyone -- especially the young people -- taking it so seriously.

Here is a photo I came across of people at their evening prayers in a part of the world where electricity is off more than it is on! If you look closely, you can see that there are no lights showing in the background which would be unheard of in our part of the world.

All this talk of Earth Hour makes me think of the places I have lived in my life where there were almost no lights visible at night which meant that the sky was ablaze with stars.

The house where I spent most of my growing up years was out in the Alabama countryside. Our closest neighbour was over a mile away. At night there were no other human lights visible. I used to go and lie on the roof of the garage and watch the stars until I almost had the illusion that they were moving.

When I was a young adult and worked in New Mexico, it was only a short walk from my house to the edge of the small town I lived in. Then there I would be facing south, toward Mexico, at a height of almost 7,000 feet. The starlight would be so bright that I could almost read by it!

During the late 60's and early 70's when I first came to Canada, I was teaching at a community college. I spent most of every summer on a farm up in Renfrew County. There were neighbours on the farms nearby, but at night most lights were hidden by the trees and hills so that we seemed to be alone on the hillside overlooking the Madawaska River. The stars were always brilliant when it wasn't cloudy, but the most incredible sight (as I have mentioned previously) were the Northern Lights.

So often throughout my life I have recalled the first two lines of Psalm 19: "The Heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament* showeth His handiwork..." (*earth in King James English).

Well, it is getting closer to the time for the lights to go out. I had better go and get all my beeswax candles ready for lighting. I plan to listen to a book on tape until 9. Wishing you all a very enjoyable Earth Hour.


Thursday, 27 March 2008

Same old, same old

Well, the week is progressing as usual. I am as confused as I usually am on Thursday!

Why on earth I get Thursday and Friday so completely mixed up these days is beyond me -- but I do -- and it can make for some very laughable mistakes. The rest of the days are OK, but Thursday and Friday -- I don't know what's going on.

Anyway, as you can see from the drawing above, I have been busy on the computer as usual.

After I showed you the photo of the Redbud tree earlier this week, I couldn't stop thinking about them. So, I decided to try drawing a branch of a tree in bloom. This is the first draft stage which I reached late this afternoon.

I am not sure what its official name will be. At this point, it is listed on my computer as "close-up, Redbud, March 2008".

One rather different thing I did this afternoon was to stop by for a visit with my Tibetan friend at the Market (St. Lawrence Market, lower level).

I had a copy of the Tibetan protest drawing with me and I wanted to get her opinion about what should be on the sign the young monk is carrying.

First of all, she seemed very moved by the fact that I had drawn such a picture in the first place and asked me a few questions about it. She then became silent and gazed at the drawing for a few moments. Letting out a sigh, she simply said: "Peace -- peace is what I would put on it".

I am not sure if she said "Peace" because that is what she so desperately wants for her people or because that is what she really feels would make the best placard. Whatever, I was very grateful for her input.

Not counting my original slogan of "Let Me Speak Tibetan", there have been three suggestions: "Stop Murdering Hope"; "Peace"; "Free to Be Me (Let Me Be Me)". If you have thought of a slogan or if you have some thoughts on those already suggested, please contact me.

While I was visiting with my Tibetan friend, she showed me some drawings done by a Tibetan lady now living in India. This is a sample of one of the cards that are for sale.

Evidently, this lady was living in Tibet until about 9 months ago when her husband was arrested by the Chinese for something. He has since disappeared into the prison system and she and her children fled to India. She is earning money by doing paintings on cloth which are made into cards (small and large) and bought by vendors from Canada and the U.S. Part of the proceeds go to help the new group of refugees who are coming to India now. Anyway, the small cards are only $1.50 each and they are really quite lovely.

So ends another day which I must remember is only Thursday (tomorrow will be Friday)!! My next posting is supposed to be on Saturday night. I may be writing to you in the dark with my computer working off its battery! Anyway, it will be interesting to see how dark downtown Toronto will get for one hour.

Peace be with you all.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Signs of Spring

Crocuses have actually been sighted in many different parts of the city -- always a sure sign of spring.

This recent drawing of mine is entitled "Crocuses -- A Sign of Spring" and was inspired by a feature that the Toronto Star has been running lately in which local folks are sending in photos of signs of spring in their back yards, local parks, etc.

So, even though a big snow storm was predicted for today (it has never materialized), I felt like focusing on Spring.

All we have gotten of the predicted storm thus far is a bit of cold rain, some big, wet snowflakes and some wind gusts. I will be watching the evening news soon and will find out what the latest predictions are, but so far it looks as though the 5 to 10 cm of snow have missed us. Hooray!

Or should I say "Alleluia" in this Easter Season.

I could not resist taking a quick look under the heading for Spring today at Cross

This is one of my favourite web sites for beautiful photographs and even though you have to purchase the photo in order to get it without their mark on it, I just enjoy looking at the lovely images. Sometimes I get ideas for drawings from them as well.

This particular photo speaks to me so clearly about spring in the Niagara River area. During the years I spent in the convent living by the river, we would watch the willows that lined the river begin their change of colours. First would come this marvellous shade followed by the green leaves of early spring with the slightly darker green and gold of late summer and early fall.

When the trees had this early growth on them and the sun was shining through them, it would sometimes look as though they were made of gold. It was such a beautiful sight against the springtime blue of the sky.

Another item I found on Cross which is another reminder for me of Springtime is this view of a Red bud tree.

I am not sure if they grow in Canada or not, I have never enquired, but they were very common in Alabama where I grew up.

I only have to think about them to hear my mother's voice in my memory talking about another beautiful Red bud tree that she had seen. She had such a love for flowering trees and plants.

Now, changing the topic entirely, I wanted to re-post the Divine Mercy icon. Why, you may ask -- since this will make three times in two weeks!

One of my friends who has made so many helpful suggestions since I started this blog 7 months ago, recently made another comment. She was lamenting the fact that while she preferred the rays separated, she was saddened that she could no longer see the feet.

As most of you are aware from my previous comments, this software that I use is so primitive that I cannot make colours transparent. So, while thinking about her remarks earlier today, I had the idea of trying to move the rays around just a bit so that the feet could at least be glimpsed.

This is the result. Let me know if you think it helps to improve the image.

Peace be with you.

Sunday, 23 March 2008


Here are my Easter Lilies. These are the only kind I allow into my house since I have a cat who cannot resist nibbling on flower petals and these happen to be one of the most poisonous flowers that kitties can get into.

Plus, while Easter Lilies are very beautiful, I, like many people, can't help but think of funeral parlours whenever I smell them!

But when you have them like this in a drawing, they do make a beautiful greeting card -- especially at Easter!

This next item is the photo (with a few additions of mine) that I promised to show you of the REAL Easter bunny. Believe me, this is the one who lays only the beautifully decorated eggs that are solid chocolate inside. Yum!

Chocolate Easter eggs are one of the nicest things about Lent being over.

Here, by the way, are the particulars about this cute little bunny rabbit:

He weighs in at 22 pounds and measures a little over 3 feet. A breed of rabbit called German giant (how appropriate!). This is his owner, Hans Wagner, struggling to hold him up. From the NY Post article: I don't feed him an unusual diet, said Wagner. He goes through more than his brothers and sisters, but he eats the same food mix. His favorite food is actually lettuce. He can never get enough of it. !

Now, finally tonight, I want to show you the latest version of my "Free Tibet" drawing.

I got some good suggestions, as always, from reader, Brenda W., and I used her comments to made some changes. However, no one has yet to say anything about the one item I need help with the most: the sign.

So, I just left it blank this time. Originally, the sign said something like "Let Me Speak Tibetan" which is one of the rights that has been taken away from the Tibetan people over the past 50 years.

But with the way things are continuing and the ever-increasing level of violence, that somehow no longer seems sufficient.

The sign that has the Dalai Lama's picture and the word "RESPECT" is OK, I think, since the Chinese continue to accuse him so wrongfully. And the sign that is hidden partially that says "Free Tibet" is all right. But what should this young monk be saying? "Boycott the Olympics"? But the Dalai Lama is opposed to an outright boycott but might encourage non-participation in the parades, etc.

I need help with this. Please put on your thinking caps and contact me at

Meanwhile, Easter Blessings to you all and above all

Friday, 21 March 2008

Feast of the Brokenhearted

This is, of course, the Feast of Good Friday, but I call it The Feast of the Brokenhearted. Why? Because for Christians -- especially those first Christians -- it was the darkest day of their lives.

All their hopes and dreams seemed to be crushed.

When we have days like that, we say that our hearts are broken. All we have to do is look around us at the world to see how many millions of people are "celebrating" this feast day by suffering. They may have no idea that it is a special day for the Christian Chruch, but, nevertheless, it is their feast day as well.

The first picture I wanted to show you tonight comes from a Christian church where people would, indeed, know about Good Friday. The tragedy it reveals, however, is that it shows heartbreaking destrtuction. This destruction was done not by non-Christians but by Christians who happen to believe differently from those who worship in this church.

The poor, child Jesus, was not only crucified, He has now been decapitated as well.

This next photo appears to show three generations of women in a happy family. Don't be deceived. The young African woman was kidnapped as a young teenager by one of those so-called revolutionary armies to be used as a sex slave. The little girl was the child of rape -- father unknown.

When the young woman finally managed to escape and get back home with her daughter, she was ostracized by her family, especially her own mother, and forced to live as a beggar. Finally, after much persistance, she and her mother were reconciled and now lead a more or less peaceful co-existence.

The experience has made the young woman strong and determined, but left both her and her mother with broken hearts. And, of course, the young daughter has yet to face her "cross" when she learns the history of her conception and early life.

Then here is a photo of a Madonna and Child from a camp in Darfur -- both of whom seem to be starving to death!
The government in Khartoum has grounded all humanitarian aid flights to these camps -- seemingly indicating that they are no longer really necessary. Not only are these suffering people "heartbroken" so are those who are trying so hard to help and can't.

Another group that is suffering and seems to be fighting against insurmountable odds are the Tibetans. Here is the first quick draft of a drawing that I did. I saw a picture in the newspaper a few days ago of this boy monk leading a demonstration and I knew I wanted to draw him. The problem has been: what to do with the rest of the drawing?
While it is true that people are getting killed (on both sides), the Dalai Lama seems to be asking for something other than a "Free Tibet".
It seems to me that he is asking that Tibet have the kind of independence that would enable it, while still a part of China, to make its own internal decisions and retain its language, history, culture, tradition and religion.
They, too, are heartbroken as they long for their land, their sacred places, their monasteries. But, now their young people, no longer trained in the power of non-violence, are killing and being killed.
Returning to the more practical concerns of the life of an artist, however, I would really appreciate some help in finishing the "Tibetan" drawing. I am very undecided as to what I should have on the signs that are being carried.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I should be posting again on Sunday when I will be introducing you to a very special Easter Bunny that my friend in Alabama sent me. Wait until you see the egg this bunny laid!!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

A Colourful Collection

Before I get to this latest icon, I have a question for you: "Are you are member of Generation Y?" To find the definitive answer to this question, see the drawing at the bottom of this particular posting!

Now to my latest icon.

I came across a similar icon in some old papers I had saved. I have no idea where they came from originally but I am glad that I saved them. The icon that gave me the idea for this one was not even labelled so I can't even tell you what it was called or its origin. One of the things that drew my attention to it immediately was the hand touching the chin followed by those chubby, little legs!

I ended up calling it "Our Lady of the Tender Moment".

The most unusual aspect of this icon has to do with the colours I chose. As you know by now, I have a difficult time limiting myself to a narrow palette of colours and I am constantly tempted to experiment. As you also know, sometimes such experimentation works and sometimes it doesn't! That is why I am always asking for your advice and opinions.

This next item is a postcard I received in the mail this week about an ongoing exhibit by the artist I have metioned to you who lives in New Mexico. This exhibit is of Zuni and Hopi inspired masks for collectors only. He is the same artist who made the Spirit Birds cross I told you about. His work is really excellent. If you want to see more of it, Taos Blue gallery has a web site at

And, here, my friends, is the definitive answer to whether you are a member of Generation Y. If this is ever a back view of you -- especially when you are bending over or squatting down -- then you are a Gen Y regardless of the year in which you were born! [Just thought you might appreciate a bit of humour for a change!]

For those of us who are Catholic (and related) Christians of the Western Church, today is the last day of Lent and tomorrow the first day of the Easter Triduum which begins with the Celebration of the Institution of the Lord's Supper.

My next day for posting an entry falls on Good Friday. I hope to be able to post as usual. We'll see. Meanwhile, I wish you all much peace and joy whatever your faith may be.

Monday, 17 March 2008

A Bit of A Muddle

Well, this has been quite a day!

First of all, I had a visit from a client who spent three hours going over most of my collection with me. He said: "my living room walls are almost completely blank and I want you to help me fill them".

So, the first area we are working on is the large space above the sofa. He decided that he wanted two grouping: one group of three drawings and one of two.

The first group will consist of these first three items: the wild iris -- an early watercolour of mine --, the Japanese garden and the B.C. coastline. The finished size of each will be about 9 x 12.

The other "group" will be the Inukshuk and the drawing entitled "Fire and Ice".

The "Fire and Ice" drawing was his favourite one, I think, and started the whole process.
After this space is filled, we will consider what to do about the remaining walls.
He does have some other items that I am helping him with that I think would look good in his living room, but he, of course, will have to make the final decision.

This next item I included simply because I found it so amusing. I was working on this last night when it struck me how laughable it was that in the final week of Winter 2007/2008 I should find myself working on a client's order for stationery for their 2008 Christmas letter! Nothing like being ahead of schedule.
Of course, none of these things explain my rather strange title.
The "muddle" that I am feeling was caused by watching the news this evening where I saw a quick clip of Robert Latimer being interviewed as he arrived in Ottawa. And although I want to say lots more, I am not going to because if I do I will go from being in a bit of a muddle to being in a real dither! English is such a fun language!
As we continue into this holiest of weeks for Christians, I wish you all -- whatever your faith or lack of it -- a time of peace and joy.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Vigil of Passion (Palm) Sunday

We are a week away from Easter but I want to go ahead and show you my Easter Icon. I have been working on it for some time now and just finished this first draft last night.
I will continue to work on it during the coming week and show it to you again in all its finished glory (surrounded by that word we haven't been able to use during Lent [Alleluia]) next weekend!
Please let me hear from you if you have any comments or suggestions about the icon as I only have these few days before I will be sending it out to all my friends and relatives on their Easter e-greetings.
Also, tonight, I want to show you the latest version of the Divine Mercy icon.
A dear friend -- that one who so often makes such good suggestions about my icons -- put forth the idea that I might want to consider separating the rays of light coming from the heart of the figure.

The reddish rays represent blood while the bluish rays represent water.

After so many years of seeing this image with the rays together in one form or another, I would never even have considered separating them. However, this image is not part of her tradition so she was free to make the suggestion.

Let me know what you think. Look back at the earlier version with the rays together and compare it to this one. It is really difficult for me to decide which version is more efffective.

Also, tonight, I want to show you a couple of items I received in yesterday's mail.

The first is a flower basket drawn by my foster child in Guatemala -- Sandra Elizabeth. I put my drawing of her next to her drawing. She is in the 6th grade and I think she did a really good job.

What I like best is that the flower basket makes me really feel like Spring is truly almost here!

This next item was drawn by my foster child in the Philippines. Her name is Myka.

In order to send items to one another, we have to send them through the agency that monitors our relationship which means that everything can take much longer than ordinary mail would take.

So, her drawing is of her local church at midnight Mass this past Christmas Eve.

I believe she is also in Grade 6 (maybe Grade 5), but she also did a lovely drawing for me.
I keep encouraging them both to draw things for me and I tell them that I publish them on my blog. I also print their drawings on notecards which I send back to them so they can see how professional their work looks.
My third little girl in Africa is still quite young and is not really able to do much in the way of art work yet. But she shows promise already and I am encouraging her with each letter.

So ends another entry. I have a few more serious things I want to post, but I think I will save them for Good Friday -- it seems more appropriate.
Meanwhile, may peace be with you all.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Do Cats Snore?

First of all, I would like to introduce you to my photographer friend I keep referring to -- the one who inspired this drawing.

I showed you the moth version of this drawing two nights ago and here is the butterfly version.

I got permission from my friend to give her name: Brenda Whiteway and the link to her Flickr page.

Go and take a look at some of her beautiful photographs as you will no doubt be seeing more drawings on my blog inspired by them in days to come.

The next matter I would like to discuss has to do with my cat, miz k.d. Whenever I work on the computer, miz k.d. feels it is necessary to either get in the wing-back chair nearby or else in her bed located under my desk. In either case, she is quite close.

As I work away, she gets very deeply into her sleep. As she does so, she begins to make this strange noise. I have never heard a cat make such a noise in all the years I have been living with them! I would think she might have serious sinus problems if I did not know better, but there is also just a touch of a purr involved as well. If any of you have any suggestions about this feline mystery, please contact me at

This next item is a new greeting card I have created for a client of mine. What do you think?
You may recall that I had, at one point, created a greeting card which was a "take-off" on the famous Polish Solidarity union logo with the Canadian flag instead of the Polish flag. It was decided that this was not really appropriate since that logo was practically a sacred symbol to the Polish people -- and rightly so.

Thus, since the word "solidarity" is a good union word throughout the world and is used by many organizations, it was decided that we could do something totally different that would make it our own. We'll see if the p0wers that be agree with my artistic efforts!

Finally, tonight, I wanted to show you the latest version of the "Divine Mercy" icon. I decided to include the original Polish along with the English translation at the bottom. I have made a few other changes as well including softening the colours just a bit in an effort to make the image look a bit more gentle.

As always, any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

For those of you who live in southern Ontario, have you noticed that there seems to be just the smallest touch of warming in the air? Maybe, just maybe, the snow storms are over!

Peace be with you all.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The Letter "B"

The title for tonight's posting "The Letter B" comes from the fact that all three pictures are taken from the "B" section of my picture files!

What makes this of interest to me is that this first drawing started out as an imaginery butterfly but then morphed into an imaginery moth.

The flowers and leaves were fairly distinct in the photograph I was looking at so I was able to restrain myself somewhat when it came to drawing them, but since the butterfly was not too clear, I just couldn't control myself. I kept playing with it and playing with it until I had to admit that I had drawn a moth and not a butterfly. Oh, well...

The original photograph that inspired me was taken by the regular reader I was telling you about recently who takes such beautiful photos.

Then, when I was making certain that the butterfly/moth file had ended up where it should be, I noticed this item I had saved from 2006.

This is a watercolour wash by an artist named R. MacIver and the painting of a butterfly is named "Deep Purple". He had a web site at one point if you are interested in seeing more of his work.

Then I also noticed another item in the B's that I don't think I have ever posted before of two kitty cats at play.

This is called "Black and White" which is how it happened to end up in the B section of my picture files.

You know, it isn't easy drawing any kind of face upside down!

I am working hard on several orders these days. But since art and related activities are never really work for me, I have to admit that I am having lots of fun.

Wishing you all much joy and peace.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Snowstorms Are Productive

Well, not being able to get out on Saturday meant that I was able to finish up a drawing that I had started earlier in the week. So the snow storm enabled me to be more productive than usual!

This drawing is a new icon of sorts. It is based on the traditional drawing of the Divine Mercy image and is normally presented looking like this (see the image of Christ in the backgroud):

This image appeared to St. Maria Faustina, a Polish nun, in the early 1930's. She was instructed to ask permission to get it painted with the words written underneath (in Polish, of course) "Jesus I trust in Thee (You)". She was never satisfied with the work of the artists who tried to capture what she described to them -- which is as it should be since she was trying to describe something supernatural. This is why it makes more sense to me to try to present the image as an icon.

This is truly just a first draft and I have a lot of thinking to do about it as I continue to work on it. All and any suggestions will be appreciated.

This next drawing actually did not get drawn because of the snow storm but because I had to stay home all day on Friday waiting for batteries!

That's right -- batteries -- for my wheelchair. Shoppers Home Health Care promised to deliver two new batteries for my power wheelchair on Friday and asked me to please stay at home all day and wait for them.

I stayed at home all day and waited -- but, guess what -- they never showed up. Not only that, when I tried to call the sales representative, all I got was the voice mail.

So, rather than get angry, I spent the whole day working on this new drawing and listening to a book on CD.

It is entitled "Columbine Blossom" and although I still plan to keep working on it, I feel happy with it already.

What do you think?

I have heard from several more of my regular readers lately which always makes me feel good. One person really liked the sad-faced Chimpanzee drawing from a week or so ago. The one where I asked if Chimpanzees can feel sadness too. Another reader sent me a link to a really lovely collection of photos she has taken. I am hoping that she will soon be making that information available to the general public so you can all enjoy it as well. I have gone back several times to admire her work.

Meanwhile, I was pleased to see that we are going to be having above freezing temperatures for most of the rest of this week -- no more snow -- just watch out for the flooding!

Peace be with you all.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Deep Space

Here is the latest version of my most recent icon.

I called the first version "Our Lady, Theotokos, of the Universe" with the star chart in the background. This version is named "Our Lady, Theotokos, of the Galaxies" and in the background is a photograph taken by the Hubble telescope looking out into deep space.

As well, many of the solid forms, such as the halos, have been replaced with open space in order that the photographic background might show through.

I am trying to show my belief that the God who became man in Christ Jesus was, as St. John said in the beginning of his gospel, the One through whom all things came into being: "all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made".

If you are interested, you might want to go back to the entry for February 28th and take a look at the first version and see which one appeals to you more -- if you have a liking for icons at all.

These next items are not my drawings but are pictures that I have in my collection because I really like them.

This first one is a photograph (I think) by someone named Robert Golden Holman. I found it somewhere on the Internet several years ago and was really struck by how beautiful the trees were in their regimentation.

If you inspected each one of those trees carefully you would find that they were uniquely different and yet, in this photograph, they look like soldiers in uniform.

Which is why, I guess, that I was so struck by this painting by Peter Colbert.

It is one of the items being featured at the Art Expo currently underway and when I first saw it in the newspaper, I thought: "hey, I recognize that painting".

It took me a few moments to remember why it looked so familiar and that it was, in fact, not the same as the photograph.

I cut it out of the newspaper and quickly added it to my collection of trees.

I hope that all my readers in Ontario are prepared for the big snow storm that is just getting underway. Stay home tomorrow if you can and watch the neighbourhood children make snow angels from inside where it is warm and dry!

Peace be with you all.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Strange Trees

While searching through my papers last weekend, I also came across this "treasure" which I had cut from the Toronto Star back in 2004.

Entitled "Jewelry for the House", the sculptor spent over a year creating these two steel and copper trees in the front yard of a rural Pennsylvania house. I guess the most positive thing you could say about them is that you would never have to rake the leaves!

The obvious question for me is "why"? Why would you go to all that trouble and expense when you are living in a place where trees grow so easily? Why would you opt for steel and copper which don't clean the atmosphere in one of the most polluted parts of the northeast?

Oh, well....

This next picture is a very recent drawing of mine. If it has a title, I guess it would be "Steve's Boys".

This is one of the drawings in a series of items I am working on for a friend of mine. His sons are grown and he would like to have some of his small photos made into large drawings that he could hang on the wall. This is the first draft of the first drawing of the first photo. You will be seeing more of these lads in the days ahead.

I have had some recent feedback from a couple of my regular readers and I want to say thank you. Even though I know people are reading what I write, when I don't hear from anyone for days at a time, I truly do begin to feel as though everything is lost somewhere out in cyberspace -- including me!

Hope you are on your way to where there is warm sunshine and no snow or are there already. Spare a thought or two for those of us stuck in the snow and expecting more tomorrow!

Peace be with you all.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Life is Hard and Then

I came across another of my old tree photos this weekend with a commentary attached. It was entitled: Life is Hard and Then...

Before I show it to you, let me show you a recent drawing entitled: "Haitian Princess".

I found the photo of this young, Haitian girl on a web site of poor children. She may be poor, but she looks defiant to me.

Certainly at the time this photo was taken her spirit had not been broken. I pray that it still has not.

Maybe she will even end up as strong and beautiful as our present Governor-General The Right Honourable Michaƫlle Jean.

"This tree is broken in places, but not killed. It has suffered greatly, but most of the trunk remains intact and so there is the very real possibility that it will survive and become productive again.

I identify with its degree of brokenness since I, too, feel extremely broken by the "storms" of life.

And, not only has the tree survived, it is a source of life to others as evidenced by the bird taking roost on its barren limbs.

As well, the light that seems to come from within is my experience of light within -- the light which no storms seem to be able to completely extinguish. Did He not say that He is the Light of the World?

I have often wondered what it is about me and trees.

For years I took photographs of dead trees -- barren and lifeless. Now I draw pictures of living, healthy trees which I identify with God. Then, when I finally decide to depict myself as a tree, I choose a broken and barren tree in a photograph entitled "The Killing Fields".

Even though I have survived, I frequently continue to see the world as a place of great danger. Every day I think about dying -- even if it is just reminding myself that any moment could be my last as I run across a busy downtown street.

As well, there is that moment most days when I feel so weary of living that I long for living to cease. But then, in the midst of that weariness of heart, another bird flies in to roost among my broken branches -- and my life has meaning once again!"
(commentary by Sallie Thayer, December, 1995)

Peace be with you all.