Sunday, 21 September 2014

Bluebird of Happiness

"Our Lady with Bluebird by Clock Vine", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Today's drawing, "Our Lady with Bluebird by Clock Vine", was inspired by a painting from the early part of the 20th Century, entitled: "The Captive's Return" by Henry Ryland (1856-1924).  Of course, my drawing looks nothing like Ryland's other than the pose of a woman and a bird on her hand. This is not surprising considering that he was a British artist of some note who studied at the Académie Julian under such well-known figure and portrait painters as Gustave Boulanger and Jules Joseph Lefebvre!  

Example of Henry Ryland`s illustration
work taken from "The English Magazine"

Ryland's paintings established him as an important neoclassical painter, of his day, working mainly in watercolour. His subjects were typically two or three girls with soft faces, short dark hair, little expression or action, draped in graceful folds of cloth and shown relaxing on a marble terrace with birds and/or flowers (drawn with botanical exactitude) along with the occasional classical vase. Ryland also became a notable illustrator, designing illustrations for books and magazines (see the example above). Evidently, he also did some work designing stained glass windows -- something I wanted to learn to do rather badly when I was in my twenties, but, somehow, never got around to.   

My drawing for today was, of course, done using my normal computer-graphic technique.  I did do something a little different, however, in that I decided to include a portion of a previous drawing of mine from earlier this year of the flowering Clock Vine with its bright orange flowers. This, once again, calls for allowing a bit of artistic licence on my part as the Clock Vine is only native to Africa, Madagascar and southern Asia, not the middle east! However, as you well know by now, my motto is: any excuse for more colour in a drawing is allowable!  



Suki expectantly
waiting for her
food dish to be put
down on the floor!
Suki... well, I really do not know what to say about her as she continues to be quite well behaved -- for a cat, that is!

She seems to accept, reasonably well, the discipline of only having a serving of her favourite food 4 times a day -- (I say "reasonably well" because she still makes a bit of a nuisance of herself in the half hour leading up to the time for feeding!).

Speaking of the "time for feeding"... I really wonder how she is able to tell time so very accurately?  I mean, she doesn't start begging until exactly a half hour before the time I have told her she will be fed.  I mean, she knows that her mid-day feeding time is at noon and at exactly 11:30 Suki appears and begins reminding me, for the next half hour, that it is almost time for her to be fed.  She doesn't even own a watch!  How does she do it?

Anyway, I am remaining on the alert just in case all this good behaviour is just an attempt to lull me into not paying close attention while Suki skillfully manages to open her own food cans when I am sitting and dozing in my recliner.  This cat is too smart for her own good!

As for me, I am feeling neither smart nor comfortable -- but that is the way my life seems to be most of the time these days.

I did see a doctor at the pain clinic this past week.  He, once again, suggested spinal injections for pain relief.  And, I told him, once again, that I am not willing to try this option as the last time I had it done, the doctor accidentally nicked something and I ended up with more pain than ever!

So, all he did was increase the dosage for one of my pain medications and wished me well!  I really think doctors don't enjoy dealing with older people who have chronic, incurable conditions. It must make them feel pretty helpless and nobody likes to feel that way -- especially people like doctors, who, as a group, usually enjoy the illusion that they are in control of things!  Ah, well...

Thankfully, this coming week looks like another quiet one for me with only a visit from a dear friend on my schedule.   



"Icon, Christ the Healer", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrivals and ending with the first.” So those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each (the normal daily wage at that time). When the first came, they expected to get more but they too received one denarius each. They took it but grumbled at the landowner. “The men who came last”, they said, “have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.” He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you. Did we not agree on one denarius?  Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay those last hired as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?” Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.    Matt: 20:10-16  

I chose to use the icon of Christ the Healer to illustrate today's Gospel because it shows Christ healing those who can give Him nothing in return except the possibility of their love.  The poorest of the poor, reaching out in their neediness and being given absolute, healing Love -- even while Christ knows that many of those to whom He gives this gift will, perhaps, not love Him in return.

This passage from the Gospel has always been a difficult passage for me because I am so used to rewards being given because of merit -- the more you do for someone, the bigger your reward will be.  It is so difficult to remember that real Love doesn't work that way!

Love, real love, is never based on what someone has done for us, what they will do for us or how much we are indebted to them. Love simply is and it gives to everyone the same.  God is Love and whether we reach out for that love after a lifetime of service or after five minutes of prayer at the end of a "wasted" life, we will be given the same amount of love -- total, unconditional, absolute Love.  

Have you ever experienced anything close to this kind of love?  I haven't -- in fact, I cannot even imagine the nature of such love. Surely to experience that kind of love would be "heavenly" and to experience it eternally would be an incredible gift.  To believe that there might be the possibility of your receiving such a gift requires a faith so great that it, too, must be a gift.

So, may I never forget that, like all mankind, I am a sinner -- always have been and always will be while in this mortal body -- and totally undeserving of that Love which is God. Thus, I deserve nothing.  Yet, according to the Gospel, I, along with all of creation, am offered eternal, unconditional Love no matter when I may, in faith, accept it -- whether at the beginning of the day or an hour before quitting time!

May this knowledge bring us all exceedingly great joy and hope.



Bonnie Way said...

Beautiful drawings! Thanks for sharing at new evangelists monthly. I'm a writer, not an artist, so I'm in awe of anyone who can create pictures. :)

Sallie Thayer said...

Thanks, Bonnie, for your kind words. Good to know that my column at New Evangelists is being read and enjoyed.