Tuesday, 12 July 2011

"Strawflowers"

[*see a new icon of Our Lady at the bottom of this posting]


"Strawflowers" Bracteantha (Xerochrysum) bracteata, drawing by S. Thayer
 I love the look of these particular "Strawflowers" -- sort of like great big sunbursts growing in the garden.  The other colours don't attract me as much although I have seen the various shades used in dried flower arrangements which were quite spectacular.  At any rate, I was attracted to the drawing of these flowers by the colours found in this variety.  By the way, the reason I keep putting "Strawflowers" in quote marks is that there are other flowers which are called Strawflowers.  They are of the same family, but of a different genus and have a very different appearance.  Anyway, let me tell you about Bracteantha (Xerochrysum) bracteata!

Strawflower (also known botanically as Bracteantha bracteata) is a large annual or short-lived perennial from Australia. From late spring until autumn it produces unique daisy-like blooms with papery white, yellow, orange, red, maroon, or pink petal-like bracts and a yellow central disk. The blooms open slowly from fat colorful buds. The erect stems are furnished with narrow gray-green leaves. Numerous cultivars – including dwarf, double, and large-flowered forms -- are available.  The seeds are sold under such names as Sundaze and Golden Beauty.  The family, Asteraceae, are herbs, shrubs, or less commonly trees and are arguably the largest family of flowering plants, comprising about 1,100 genera and 20,000 species. These include everything from goldenrod to artichoke flowers!

Native to Australia, they occur naturally in all mainland states and territories as well as Tasmania. Widespread, they are found from north Queensland across to Western Australia, and in all habitats except for densely shaded areas. They grow as an annual in patches of red sand in Central Australia, responding rapidly to complete its life cycle to bouts of rainfall. They are also common among granite outcrops in southwest Western Australia.

Dried “strawflowers” are long lasting—up to some years—and are used in floral arrangements and the cut flower industry. More robust longer stemmed forms are used for commercial cut flowers.

Of course, I couldn't resist playing with the drawing and here is what it looks like with an inversion of colours:


"Strawflowers" -- colour inversion, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

 Here is another flower I want to show you which is not related in any way to Strawflowers.  It just happens to be another version of a Calla Lily.  By now, everyone must know how I feel about Calla Lilies.  I am so attracted to them that I just continue to do drawings and sketches of them frequently.  Here is a recent sketch looking into the depths of a single blossom.

Calla Lily "Infinity", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011
I wanted to make the viewer feel that they were looking into some sort of sunlight that leads somewhere beyond brightness itself.  I am not sure that such a goal is possible in a computer drawing!  Or maybe the computer is the only place where such a drawing might be possible.
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I don't know about your location, but it has been very hot and humid in mine!  So, as I was thinking about what kind of extra photos to include in this particular posting, I decided that northern lights in cold weather locations would be pleasant to look at during such hot weather.  So here is a selection of 5 from my collection. 

As I have mentioned previously, everyone really needs to experience the northern lights for themselves.  There is something very primal about the experience.  I find that actually being under a sky filled with these incredible colours and rapidly moving lights often makes people "believe" in God for at least that period of time.  Even if they don't want to, something deep inside responds to this marvel of nature and lifts their hearts to think of such things as angels and eternity.

Northern Light illuminate a lighthouse


Northern Lights with reflections



Northern Lights with dog sleds and snow


Northern Lights near hot springs


Northern Lights and a tepee community

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As usual, Suki is sound asleep nearby as I am writing this.  She is almost like a dog at times in that she wants to be near me when I am seated in one place for a while.  Each of the places where I normally remain for longer periods of time has a designated "Suki-sleeping-spot".  The only time she disappears from view if when she senses that I am going to be spending a long time at my computer desk.  It is during such times that she opens the door to the bedroom closet (near my computer desk) and finds her way to the back of the closet where her box of old clothes is waiting.  Here, I think, she has the best sleep of the day as she must feel very safe.  After an hour or so, however, she will start meowing until she sees me and then I need to stop and spend a few minutes with her before she is willing to go back to sleep again!  I have never known a cat previously who behaved this way.

I, on the other hand, had a number of errands to do this morning.  I went out and got them done early so that I don't have to be out now in the heat of the day.  I may go across the street to the gym later, but that is a decision I will make by 1 p.m.  Otherwise, I am free to do such things as post on my blog and work on new drawings.  Ah, the joys of retirement...! 

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Here is another Eleusa-type icon of Our Lady and her precious Child.  I simply cannot resist continuing to do drawings of the Theotokos.  She always directs my attention to her son, Jesus.


Madre de Dios, icon, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer


Pray for us Holy Mother.


May the peace of God be with us all.  

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