Saturday, 15 December 2012

Floral Inversion

"Flame Lily or Glory Lily (Gloriosa)", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

The column today is less about the name and nature of the flowers presented but more about the qualities of "inversion" as an art form.

Do you recall the email conversation I had with an artist in the States asking me to contribute to her web site which displays "inversion" as a legitimate art form.  When she first approached me, I was somewhat taken aback because I had never thought of it that way.  For me it was simply a process by which I could, on the computer, show what the colours of a drawing would look like if they were inverted.  Sometimes the process pleased me and at other times I was left feeling that the combination of colours simply was not that interesting.

At any rate, I have finally decided to make a serious contribution to the web site -- if my invitation of several months ago is still open -- and I am showing you what I plan to contribute before I submit.  Feel free to send me any comments about whether you think this is wise or foolish -- or whatever!

First, then, I want to show you this new drawing of the Flame Lily (Gloriosa).  As you will see below, this is my second attempt at drawing this flower.  The older drawing below shows an actual flower in full bloom while this drawing (immediately above and below) shows a very stylized flame lily in the process of blooming.  I actually find the inverted form of this drawing to be more interesting to me than the inverted form of the flower in full bloom.  I also really like the stylized version in its simplicity of design.

"Flame Lily or Glory Lily (Gloriosa) inversion", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

Below is the Flame Lily in full bloom.  I did this drawing originally in 2009 and had actually forgotten about it until I decided to draw the Glory or Flame Lily (at the top) and realized that the forms were similar to something else I had drawn.  At first I searched for my drawing under the name of "Flame Lily" and found nothing.  Finally I realized that the name "Glory Lily" reminded me of the word "Gloriosa".  When I searched under that name, I found my drawing as well as the inverted copy.

"Gloriosa superba (Flame Lily in full blossom)", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

Below you see what happens with the inversion technique.  Somehow, I find this attempt at inversion to be the least interesting of the three samples giving here.  The original is so richly coloured that the inverted version seems boring by comparison.  I guess that all these reds and greens and yellows can't help but turn into blues, purples and aquamarine.

"Gloriosa superba (Flame Lily in full blossom) inversion", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

Recently I came across a number of photographs of the Romulea luteoflora.  I was fascinated by the huge number of variations in a plant growing wild in the same general area of South Africa.  I can easily understand variations when the plant grows in different locations spread far apart, but growing in the same area...!  Anyway, I decided that that the version I wanted to draw looked the most like "Romulea luteoflora" (see below).  

"Romulea luteoflora (of South Africa"), drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

After I had finished the drawing, I decided to see what it would look like with the colours inverted.  I really like the results -- almost better than the original.  The blue and white flowers look, to me, so fresh and clean.  What do you think?

"Romulea luteoflora (of South Africa) inversion", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

Finally, I have to say, in all honesty. I find I cannot seriously accept inversion as a valid art form because for me, it is simply an afterthought -- a way of seeing what colours I can find hidden within a drawing when I invert those colours.  This is easily done on a computer and totally unlike the process where an artist actually paints the inverted colours in the original work in an effort to sort of shock the viewer into seeing objects in a different way.  If you go to this web site   or the blog at  you will learn much more about inversion as an art form. 

UPDATE:  If you go to the link for Corpus Christi Church in Detroit and click on the "bulletin" button, you will see on page 3 the mention of my name in the article by Deacon Paul Mueller.  Then, if you go to (un-numbered) page 9, you will find there an article about me.  While there is nothing in the article that you don't already know, you may enjoy seeing it nonetheless.  Go to:


My "Coming Home" Story

Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, photo taken in her early 20's
(Continued from previous posting)
Shortly after I was hired, a recent graduate was also hired. Her name was Loretta and we became fast friends.

As I got better acquainted with her, I began to ask more and more questions about her Catholic faith. I was fascinated. I had never heard such incredible things before -- especially her claims that Christ was truly present in their Holy Communion!  Everyone knew that the Communion service was just symbols, not the real thing! Slowly, I began to think that maybe there might be some truth to what she was saying. I must admit that I was probably also attracted because I knew I was dabbling with something forbidden, something I had to keep hidden from my family!

One day when we were travelling home from work, Loretta said she wanted to stop by St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral and “make a visit”. I really did not understand what this meant but assumed this was her way of referring to visiting the Church to pick up a bulletin or something. Once we arrived there –- my first time ever in a Catholic Church –- Loretta immediately knelt down to pray while I wandered around the church in awe and amazement. What a glorious place to worship God. It seemed almost like Heaven to me with it soaring ceilings and beautiful stained-glass windows. The afternoon sun slanting sideways into the church through those windows bathed everything in a soft, multi-coloured light. I had truly never seen anything like this before in my entire life.

As I became quiet inside, I begin to feel as though someone was watching me and there seemed to be a voice calling to me quietly just beyond the range of hearing. I looked back at Loretta, but her head was bowed in prayer -- so it obviously wasn't her. 

The feeling continued and whoever or whatever it was seemed to be located somewhere near the front of the Church. I moved slowly in that direction until I was standing right at the altar rail (this was pre-Vatican II and the altar rails had not yet been removed. Now many churches are thinking about bringing them back, thanks be to God!). I was convinced that someone was watching me and whispering my name but there was no one there.  Was I having a nervous breakdown?  What was happening?

 (To be continued)



Suki enjoying her favourite activity, after eating, that is!
I look up from my desk and what do I see?  I see a round cat bed attached to the top of a tall cat tree. 

Then, if I look even more closely what do I see?  I see what appears to be a black, furry lump barely visible above the sides of the cat bed. 

If I quietly stand up what will I see?  I will see that the black, furry lump has little pointy ears. 

If I then cough loudly what will I see?  I will see two eyes open ever so slightly before closing again and a black, furry, tail that will twitch ever so slightly, once or twice before being still again. 

The most amazing part of all this is the fact that even though no words were spoken or sounds made, I will be left with the distinct impression that someone said: "Quiet!  Can't you see that someone is trying to sleep!"

And, indeed, that is exactly what Suki is doing at the moment.  As I type these words, however, I am trying to do so very quietly -- not just because Suki would look at me with those half-closed eyes should I make too much noise, rather I do so because I am typing on "borrowed" time, so to speak. 

What I mean is that it is almost Suki's supper time and usually by now she is sitting on the desk next to my  shoulder, purring, rubbing her head against my arm, occasionally even trying to pat my fingers with her paw -- doing all these things over and over again until I am so distracted that all I am doing is making typos.  Then, she knows, I will get so disgusted that while I may call her names and say nasty things about her and her family tree, I will, nonetheless, get up from the desk, go into the kitchen and give her what she has wanted all along -- food -- something she loves even more than sleep!

So, while Suki sleeps on for the moment, I will quickly try to finish today's posting telling you how I am doing.  I am continuing to do much the same:  discomfort and problems related to nerve trauma or damage -- only time will tell which. 

I am less than a week now from the 21st -- the date when I hope to find out if and when there might be some way to fix my eyelids so that I can use my eyes normally once again.  All the other small signs of disfigurement caused by nerve damage I can live with peacefully, but not having proper use of my eyes simply because my eyelids will not close as they should.  This is something I think can be fixed and I plan to pursue this goal aggressively -- unless the Lord, Himself, should tell me otherwise, of course.

My biggest complaint at the moment, however are none of the things mentioned above.  No, instead I am complaining about an upset stomach due to the fact that a number of my dear friends ended up giving me delicious food stuffs for my birthday and I have been unable to resist trying them all and eating far too much.  One friend. Amra, brought me a decadently-delicious double, double chocolate cake.  This refrigerated cake is soooo rich and yet I have been able to consume several large pieces -- groan.   Please pray for me that I may be able to resist temptation.  I have given several large pieces of this delicious cake to friends, but, amazingly, the cake doesn't seem to get any smaller.  I am beginning to wonder if it was made with Devil's food chocolate!!!

Suki is beginning to stir so I had better get this finished.  I pray that the peace of God may surround us each and everyone as we get ever closer to the celebration of Christmas.  The day (and season) during which we remember the incredible truth that God broke into time through the YES of the Virgin Mary in order to teach us fully how much He loves each one of us -- even though we are sinners. 
Speaking of such matters, I would ask you all to please pray for the children and teachers who died yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, USA.  "May the souls of the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace." 

Let us also pray for all the families and friends who are grieving right now as they try to come to terms with this tragedy.  Let us also pray for the police, firemen and rescue people who had to witness this carnage firsthand.  For so many of the survivors, Christmas will now be marked by this tragic memory.  Let us pray that through their faith in God, they will be comforted and experience God's peace even in the midst of their suffering.


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