Sunday, 26 May 2013

Nouveau Mother and Child

"Our Lady and Her Precious Child", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

I remember the first time I saw an Art Nouveau poster.  I was in my high school library looking through the art books when I came across a poster by Mucha [see illus. at end of section].  
I was stunned by the beauty of it and even though it was an advertisement for chocolate, I wanted so much to be able to draw like that.

"Woman with a Vase", oil on
canvas by E. B. Cosby, 1920

Area of the l.r. in my sister's home in Florida
showing our mother's painting before it was stolen!

Actually, I had grown up seeing daily a beautiful oil painting my mother had done in her late teenage years. She was studying art and this was evidently one of the "studies" that she had been required to do as part of her course.  I loved this painting better than all her other paintings and would often stand and stare at it when I was supposed to be vacuuming the floor or dusting the furniture.  

As you can see from the captions, the painting was last seen in my sister's home soon after our mother's death.  Betty had collected all of my mother's paintings in preparation for shipping them to me. Unfortunately, at the same time, my sister and her husband were moving out to the Lake as they had both just retired from their years of teaching at the University so they had been having a number of viewings of their home prior to selling it  During one of those viewings someone walked off with that painting (along with a couple of other things).  All we had left were these two snapshots.

Anyway, back to the current drawing and Art Nouveau.
Sadly, I have never really been able to master the technique -- probably because of my lack of classical art training.  I continue, however, to try to incorporate the style into my work although I usually get carried away and end up including many elements that are completely non-Art Nouveau!

For example, the painting that influenced me when I was working on the drawing featured today was full of long, lovely lines, elegant lilies, pale skin and every item controlled and contained.  Then I went and put in a messy, leafy vine instead of the elegantly curving lilies. As well, because I am so fond of the look of curls escaping when a woman has tried to pull her long hair back neatly, I simply could not resist putting in a few curls which really destroyed the previously sleek, very controlled "Art Nouveau look" of her hair.  

At the end, I was as satisfied with how Our Lady appears as I ever am with anything I draw!  If I did not give myself rules for stopping the work on a piece when I reach a certain point, I would continue to work on it forever.  In the final analysis, I guess I would have to call my style Sarah "Sallie's" Nouveau-er Art!  I hope you like it.

For those of you who may be interested, I have included a brief history of the Art Nouveau school or movement.  It is taken from a longer article by Francoise Aubry, Curator of the Horta Museum, Bruxelles-Brussel.
Nature was one of the fundamental sources of Art Nouveau (or "new style"). The rediscovery of Japanese art in the latter 19th Century led to a new perspective that would wonder at the beauty of a wave, a kimono motif or the curve of a courtesan’s neck. The fluidity of lines, asymmetrical compositions without geometric perspective and delicate shades of colour created a new ornamental vocabulary, freeing itself from historicism, from the grand "carnival of styles" which prevailed for a large part of the 19th Century. 
The languishing and mysterious image of the female which haunted the pre-Raphaelites became a decorative theme adopted in advertising (Mucha’s posters *see below*) before appearing in architecture and the decorative arts in the same way as plants or abstract lines. Art Nouveau has two faces: that of a style appropriate to new ways of life (lighting, hygiene, transport) and that of a quest to embellish daily life (artists trained in the traditional fine arts devoting themselves to the applied arts). The creators pondered the lasting nature of craft production methods as well as the need to provide industry with models of high quality in order to raise the aesthetical level of mass production. Art Nouveau spread quickly throughout Europe thanks to photo-illustrated art magazines as well as international exhibitions.
The name differed according to country, it was called "Modernisme" in Catalonia, "Jugendstil" in Germany, "Liberty" in Italy or "Secession" in Vienna or Prague. The Art Nouveau movement was to develop more quickly in countries or regions which claimed greater cultural autonomy (such as Catalonia, Czechoslovakia and Finland) or those experiencing economic prosperity and distancing themselves from tastes dictated by capitals. The whole of Europe was to adopt Art Nouveau to a greater or lesser extent because the style was able to cohabit with forms inherited from the past. It was more often dominant in new areas constructed to cope with increasing urbanization at the end of the 19th Century. The Art Nouveau fashion was to diminish from 1906, disappearing almost completely during the World War I.
Advertising poster by Alphonse (Alfons) Mucha (1860-1939)
Lithograph, 1897



While going through my May collection of photos, I came across one I had meant to post, but forgot as well as two other photos which I had cropped with the intention of posting.  Yes, I had forgotten them as well.  I think as we get older our brains just go to sleep in some areas and refuse to wait up until they are good and ready!  Anyway, enjoy....

Recently, Braden wanted to choose which "soother" he would use for the day.  Knowing his impeccable taste, I am sure he chose the blue one as it would best go with his light/dark gray shirt.  Of course, the darker green might make an interesting fashion statement.  I will have to check in with his Mom and find out what he actually did!

Here we see Mr. Braden getting his first lessons in how to drive a small tractor.  This ability will be very useful when his parents decide to get a detached house with a yard.  He should then be well prepared to take on the task of mowing the lawn!  I like how his parents are thinking ahead.

Here we see Master Braden riding on his Dad's shoulders while observing the animals one would normally find in a barn yard.  This also is useful training as Braden will soon be able to take on chores such as feeding the chickens and turkeys should his family decide to move to the country and have a small farm!!  



Seriously, this is a photo of my grand-nephew in the States being given the opportunity to sit in the cockpit after the plane had come to a full stop at the terminal.  He had been on a flight with his Mom.  He must have been very pleased to have had the opportunity to pretend for a moment that he was really flying that big jet!
He looks really good, don't you think?  Maybe that is the profession God is calling him to.  Who knows.  All I know is that he is a good kid in every way.

My grand-nephew at the controls of a real jet plane!  



Did you really have to take another photo of me??
Once again I have awakened Suki while taking photos of her sleeping!  I apologized and told her that I was trying to be very quiet, but that her hearing was just too good.  I somehow don't think she believes me.  Instead I get the feeling that she is of the opinion that I have awakened her on purpose!  What can I say, what can I say?

What I can tell you is that Suki continues to have a problem with throwing up, but it only seems to happen one day a week!  I have called the vet for an appointment, but so far she hasn't called back.  Evidently, at this time of year she is swamped with de-worming dogs or something.  Anyway, I may not need to schedule a visit to my home after all as I am thinking that maybe the day Suki gets sick is on Tuesday.  

Why Tuesday?  Well, Joycelyn always does a major cleaning on Monday morning and although she only uses water and vinegar on the floor, she does use those Lysol wipes on a lot of bathroom surfaces.  Normally that would not be a problem, but recently, I found Suki busily licking the outside of the toilet after Joycelyn left.  She wasn't thirsty as she has plenty of water sitting out in the kitchen.  No, I think she just likes the taste of whatever chemicals are in those wipes.

So, I spoke with Joycelyn about it today and tomorrow she plans to use only water and vinegar on all the surfaces and only use cleaning agents inside of things or on things that Suki cannot reach.  I shall watch carefully and see what happens.  I am hoping, of course, that she will not find anything to lick that could make her ill.  

Of course, she still tries to lick my hair.  At first I thought it was just in order to awaken me so that she could get fed.  However, I am now thinking that maybe she likes the taste of the mousse that I use each time I wash my hair!  What a crazy cat she is -- she doesn't like normal things like fish, but seems to really go for all those chemicals ... I wonder if she experiences them as sweet.  I don't know, but I am now on a campaign to protect her from herself.  If any of you have suggestions regarding these matters, please pass them along.

I saw the surgeon at Mount Sinai on Friday -- the one who has replaced the surgeon who actually performed the surgery on me back last October (as you will recall, that surgeon passed away in January).  He is a young doctor (the older I get the younger they look -- I often feel like asking them if they really are doctors, but I refrain).  At any rate, this doctor was very pleased with the results of the placement of the prostheses in my jaws which are, indeed, working beautifully.  He had the decency to apologize for all the nerve damage I experienced.  Not that it could be helped, he said, but at least he told me he was sorry it had happened!

He approved of all the steps I am taking to try to compensate for the damage, had the nurse take an x-ray and then told me to come back in October!  So that is done and even though I am left with all these issues, I am really grateful that I am still able to eat and talk and use my jaws relatively normally.  Without these new prostheses, I would probably be eating through a straw!

This coming week I will be meeting with the CPAP people regarding the sleeping mask for treating sleep apnea.  Evidently, they will arrange to come into my home and set everything up for me.  This should be very interesting and I cannot wait to see what Suki thinks about all of this!  My only other appointment at this time is one I am looking forward to very much. A dear friend and I  will be meeting at lunchtime on Thursday.

Otherwise, things continue pretty much as usual for which I am filled with gratitude as change becomes more and more difficult as one ages.  I have had enough changes these past months to last me for the remainder of the year!

I pray that God will bless us all and that our Lady will intercede for us all, asking her Son to keep us from all harm and lead us into His peace.

Finally, please rejoice in the Lord with me, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, on this feast day of the Holy Trinity!  Alleluia!

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