Sunday, 9 March 2014

Brazilian Candles -- Pavonia x gledhillii

"Brazilian Candles - Pavonia x gledhillii", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Pavonia × gledhillii is an evergreen flowering plant in the mallow family, Malvaceae. The generic name honours Spanish botanist José Antonio Pavón Jiménez (1754-1844).  The epithet gledhillii come from Dr. David Gledhill, curator in 1989 of University of Bristol Botanic Garden.   

Pavonia × gledhillii, a 19th Century hybrid of Pavonia makoyana and Pavonia multiflora, is a shrub which tends to grow to a height of 2 to 4 feet with dark green leaves and pink or crimson bracts growing around the flowers in an upright vase shape. The actual flowers are bluish-purple in colour with dark blue stamens. The combination of these gives the appearance of a “flower” not yet fully opened. The dark blue stamens eventually protrude above the bracts, which makes the blossom look as though it’s sticking out its tongue!   

One of the more interesting and unusual aspects of his plant is that it exudes plant juices on the stems and leaves which, after the liquid dries out, leaves what appear to be very attractive “crystals” shining in the sunlight. (I tried to find a photo of this phenomenon  but was unable to do so).  This plant is very attractive to bees, butterflies and birds.

"Brazilian Candles - Pavonia x gledhillii (detail)", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

The better know common names for Pavonia x gledhillii are Brazilian Candles and Many Flowers.  The latter refers to the fact that during its season, Pavonia x gledhillii is often covered in a great many blossoms.

The reason I ended up doing two drawings of the same plant is that I was so fascinated by the construction of the blossoms with their small bluish-purple flowers and pink or crimson-red bracts that I wanted to show everything in greater detail than is possible when showing a great many blossoms.  I also wanted to work with both of the usual colours of the bracts -- pink and crimson.

This is another in a growing list of unusual Brazilian/South American flowering plants, including Brazilian Firecrackers (July 10, 2013), Brazilian Fireworks (July 31, 2013), Cockspur Coral Tree (January 12, 2014) and Brazilian Cherries (February 23, 2014).  I do enjoy trying to draw the unusual!



I have received a couple of new requests for the use of my art.
Stations of the Cross, Twelfth Station,
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009
The rector of an Episcopal church in the U.S. contacted me, asking me if I would grant permission for him to make prints of the Stations of the Cross I drew back in 2009. 

Evidently, he plans to place these in his parish church during Holy Week for the use of his parishioners.  I, of course, said "yes" and have sent him the necessary materials.  

"Holy Family - Stone Wall", drawing
by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

 As well, a staff writer for a U.S. Catholic newspaper (state level) wrote requesting permission to use one of the Holy Family icons I have done over the past years as the logo for a series of articles the paper is planning on running regarding the many issues we face these days regarding "family".  I sent him the file for this icon with permission to use it, but whether it gets used will depend on the decision of his editor!  I will let you know what happens.

Cover of birthday card for my grand-niece, March 8, 2014

Finally, I used the elements of this year's Chinese New Year card to create a birthday card for my grand-niece who was born in the Year of the Horse twelve years ago!

Thanks be to God, in spite of my poor health these days, I continue to be able to create and to share the results of that creativity with others in meaningful ways.



Suki needs a manicure!
Well, the time has come to cut Suki's nails again!  This is not a day I have been looking forward to, however. Actually, I had originally planned to do this yesterday, but then I remembered that the 8th of March is Suki's birthday! She turned 5 years old yesterday. Congratulations, Suki!

Now, back to the nails business.  Suki, like most cats, does not appreciate having her nails clipped.  Actually, let me re-phrase that.  During the process, Suki hates having her nails clipped; although, once the ordeal is finished, she does seem to appreciate the fact that she is no longer getting caught by her too-long nails in various fabrics around the house!

Just in case you are not a cat person, let me explain.

When a cat's nails get too long on their front paws, they tend to get caught in whatever fabric the cat is climbing on -- whether leaping in or out of a chair on maybe just taking a moment to "knead" the thick covers on the bed.  This predicament is often a cause for a cat to yowl in pain as he or she tries to extricate themselves from the situation.  

In Suki's case, I am often required to come to her rescue. Unlike that folk tale where the child removes the thorn from the lion's paw and the lion is forever grateful, Suki sees me as the source of pain she experiences while I am removing her nail (or nails) from the fabric and it takes all of her willpower not to bite me during the process!  I say "willpower", but I am not really sure what stops her from actually biting me as I can see that she really wants to.  For some reason -- maybe because I yell at her whenever I see her teeth getting too close -- she has never bitten me yet (knock on wood).

For the past few days, I have been called upon to help Suki out of this kind of predicament 3 or 4 times and so I know, with certainty, that the clipping of the nails cannot be put off any longer.  This task is scheduled for later today and, hopefully, will not require me (or Suki) to make a quick trip to the emergency room!

Some people and some cats simply cannot deal with the stress of nail clipping and so a visit to the vet must be scheduled.  I have always been able to clip the nails of the cats who have shared my home -- perhaps because I started the practise with each cat when they were young and newly arrived in my home.  Maybe it is just my "school-teacher" type, authoritative manner that enables me to do this task without getting scratched or bitten. 

At any rate, Suki still has a few hours to go before the time for clipping arrives as I find it best if I do it when she announces that she is hungry and ready to be served supper.  Maybe this is why she tolerates my actions -- she really wants to get fed and knows that I will not feed her until the clipping is finished!

Now, as for my news, I did hear from the gastroenterologist this week regarding the biopsy.  He informed me that there is no sign of cancer nor is there any sign of the H. pylori bacterium!  

Evidently, the ulcers are the result of all the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) drugs that I must take in order to keep the arthritis from putting me back in a wheelchair again.  The plan, for now, is that I will use diet and anti-acid drugs to reduce the acid level as much as possible.  The doctor will be doing another upper endoscopy towards the end of April, I believe.  Then he will have a better idea as to whether this approach is working.

Otherwise, I think I may be feeling a bit less weak and have a wee tad more energy -- I am hoping that this may mean the beginning of some sort of recovery from whatever it is that has caused me to experience these problems over the past months.  Of course, today I am sorely lacking in energy but that is always the way it is for me with the "spring forward" time change.  My body really dislikes this Daylight Savings Time business!  

I am of the opinion that much money could be saved by doing away with Daylight Savings Time since I am convinced that every business experiences a real loss of productivity when we go through this each year.  I say this because I know so many people, like myself, who take a week or so to really get over this kind of change which affects sleep patterns, energy levels, concentration and all sorts of other things.  Oh, well... I don't think anyone in authority is listening to me or to my friends.  Too bad.

There you have it -- my gripe for the day.


Now, let's return to things that are of lasting importance. Today is the first Sunday of Lent and the people from the Cathedral were here a short while ago to bring me Our Lord in Holy Communion. What a blessing these folks are -- so faithful and dedicated.

May the coming week be filled with many blessings for us all.

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