Sunday, 28 July 2013

Field of Poppies


"Mother and Son in Field of Poppies", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Whenever I am drawing any mother and child, I can't help but think of it as "Blessed Mother and the Holy Child".  Even when I am trying to draw a portrait of some mother and child known to me, my mind seems to automatically make the switch.  The problem is that by the time I finish the drawing, I am not sure exactly what I have drawn!

This is the case with the recent drawing posted above.  I started out with the thought that this was just going to be a picture of a mother with her son.  She is reclining on a large yard chair which has been placed in a field of poppies.  Her young son is standing beside her in the chair, learning forward to get his well-deserved kiss on the forehead as he gives her the wildflowers he has just picked for her. Her hair is loosely tied back with a scarf and she has a shawl-type blanket thrown loosely around her. Her little boy is dressed in the type of clothes well-to-do male children wore in a bygone era -- perhaps in the late 1800s.

Yet, in spite of knowing from the beginning that this was what I intended to draw, by the time I finished I still felt the need to give them both a nimbus (halo) to indicate that this was no ordinary mother and child!  Perhaps this results from all the past years of working with icons and other types of drawings of our Blessed Mother.  

As you can see, however, I did resist the temptation to "canonize" these two figures and left them just as I had intended -- a mother and her young son having a sweet and special moment in a field of poppies. 



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DELIGHTFULLY INTERESTING PHOTOS


MORE OF KAREN'S VANCOUVER PHOTOS--

I am really enjoying the photos my friend, Karen, is taking these days out in Vancouver.  She is using her iPad and, in my opinion, is developing quite a good "eye" for interesting scenes.  Of course, Vancouver seems to be having the kind of summer we used to have here in Toronto -- it has been warm and sunny every day now for the past three weeks!  Whether this will continue, I do not know, but I must say that I am really envious -- all those lovely, warm sunny days.  While back here in Toronto,  we are having cooler than usual temperatures and the frequent threat of violent rain storms (as well as actual storms with flooding and high winds).  Ah, well, I guess it is only fair that Vancouver has this kind of summer after so many years of having rainy, cooler weather.  At least all this sunshine has enabled Karen to take lots of interesting photos! 

"Work of Art" in a Park


Here is another unusual "sculpture" in a park-like area.  I am not sure if this is a real
tree trunk with a sculpture inside or if the entire thing is the sculpture.  Whatever the
case, it appears to show a strong man trying to get out or else he is trying to pull
the trunk back together again in order to have a bit more privacy as he seems to
be rather overwhelmingly underdressed!  



Along Vancouver's Sea Wall

Since I have never been to Vancouver, I do not know exactly what the sea wall is like, but it appears to have been used to create a park-like atmosphere all along the waterfront which reveals interesting aspects of summer life in Vancouver.


This young woman probably does not realize what an interesting combination her
black and white striped swim suit makes with the black and white striped shadows
caused by poles in the background.  I can only hope that the wall is more
comfortable than it looks.  I also hope she did not fall asleep as she would end
up with sunburn in some very sensitive places (under her arms for example)!



There seems to be several of these piano set-ups along the sea wall as Karen sent
another photo showing another piano under a shade tree.  She commented in her email
accompanying the photos that these folks seems to be playing something classical.  I
have two concerns when I look at these pianos:  how on earth do they manage to
keep them anywhere close to being in tune and, more importantly, what happens to
them during all those Vancouver days when it rains?  Maybe they only put them
out when the sun is shining!!



This appears to be a photo of a racing crew taking a moment's rest in a cool, shady area.
Even the pillars of the bridge above are painted in shades of blue which would make
the area feel even cooler.  The nice thing about photos like this, to me, is that
I really don't know exactly what is going on and so I can invent all sorts of
scenarios to explain what I am seeing!



Finally, we have a photo of the not so fancy side of the Sea Wall.  Here, in what appears to be a back side of the wall, we see that some homeless person has his (or her) clothing out
in the sunshine for a good airing out.  Speaking from a practical viewpoint, the box is large enough to provide some shelter when the weather is less pleasant than at the moment and the wardrobe can be used to provide a mattress of sorts at bedtime.  No big city, no matter how beautiful its parks may be, is exempt from the poor and the homeless and I speak of them here with the respect that every human being deserves no matter what there state in life may be.



The Wonderful World of Braden


Here is a new photo of dear, sweet Braden.  As he gets older and more easily identifiable,
I become more hesitant to post his photo in my blog.  But some photos are so
adorable that I have a hard time resisting the urge to share them with you.  There
is such a look of quiet curiosity on his face as he attempts to figure out exactly
what is going on here and, perhaps, wonders what will happen if he gives the
ribbon a good, hard tug!



The Wonderful World that Was


This is one of the more well-known photos of Grand Central Station in New York City.  It
was taken in the 1920s long before there were so many tall building built close by.  Here
we can see what the architect(s) originally intended.  The look is one of a civic "cathedral"
created by the beams of sunlight pouring in on both sides at different times of day.  Of course,
these windows still let in sunlight 100 years later, but the sunbeams are much shallower and
certainly do not explode across the floor as they originally did.  This photo demonstrates
so clearly how powerfully dramatic really good black and white photography can be.
(This and other beautiful photos of NYC can be found in "The New York City Historical
Archives" at 
http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2012/04/historic-photos-from-the-nyc-municipal-archives/100286/)


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SUKI AND SALLIE


Suki's "self-portrait" (with a little
help from me)!
Suki missed the sunshine very much yesterday.  Even though the temperature has been below normal for this time of year, we have had several sunny days in a row recently and so when yesterday was overcast the entire day, Suki was not pleased.  
So, today, apparently in order to make up for yesterday, she has been going from one sunny spot to another as she works diligently at getting her required 16 - 18 hours of sleep per day.

The very best place for sunshine is the bedroom window which faces south and thereby gets sun for almost the entire day.  For this reason, I tend to keep the bedroom blinds always closed in the summertime so that the a/c doesn't have to work quite so hard.  Of course, this means that Suki has to get on the other side of the blinds before she can lie down on the windowsill.  Fortunately, the windowsill is a deep one and so she has plenty of room to stretch out comfortably.

There is only one problem with this arrangement, however, and that is that lying in the sun always seems to make Suki want to give herself a good tongue licking!  There is nothing wrong with her normal desire to be a clean kitty; the problem arises from the fact that her vigourous washing causes the blinds to clack and bang with each new lick!  The noise doesn't seem to bother Suki at all, but I find, after 10 or so minutes of this, that the noise really starts to bother me as I am usually in the bedroom either on my computer or sitting in my big recliner!

I have been known to gently remove a surprised Suki from this window perch and carry her into the living room, placing her on the floor in front of the balcony door where the sun is also streaming in. She usually looks at me questioningly for a couple of moments and then returns to her bathing routine.  I can then return to my place in the bedroom and continue whatever I was doing in a much more peaceful atmosphere.  That is until, give or take 20 minutes or so, Suki decides that she really would prefer to be back on the windowsill!  

I sometimes wonder how many calories I burn each day just lifting and moving this silly cat from one spot to another all in an effort to be able to fully concentrate on whatever I may be trying to do!
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Well, 4 1/2 hours have passed since I wrote the previous paragraph. I thought I was just going to take a short break and then finish this posting, but life somehow got in the way.  At any rate, here I am again, determined to finish off this last little section and get this published before bedtime!

There really isn't much else to say.  I saw the sleep specialists on Friday and they asked me to try decreasing a particular medication to a quite considerable degree for the next 10 days.  This is just to determine once and for all that this medication hasn't been the culprit all along.  

As you may recall, I have almost completely stopped taking another medication -- the one that was supposed to be helping to control Restless Leg Syndrome -- as it was thought at the time that it might be the possible cause of the "sleep attacks".  Sadly, the result of that trial has been that the sleep attacks have continued and the RLS has gotten really bad again!  So, while I am willing to give the doctors' plan a try, I must say that I don't hold out a great deal of hope that it will be successful.

I would be truly more than delighted if this should turn out to be the actual culprit, but only time will tell.  Meanwhile, I know that I must continue to try to be extra careful to keep from having another one of those really bad falls.  I don't think my head and neck can take much more of this sort of thing.

Otherwise, I continue to do the best I can:  trying to stay close to the Lord every day, getting to the gym as often as I am able, spending time staying in close touch with all my dear friends and doing as much art work as my eyes can tolerate.  Thanks for all your prayers and please know that I continue to pray for you.

May the Lord bless you and protect you; may the Lord's face shine with joy because of you; may the Lord be gracious unto you and show you His favour and grant you His peace.  Amen.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us -- now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

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