Sunday, 19 October 2014

Lady in the Garden

"Lady in the Garden", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Today's drawing was inspired by an undated portrait painted by E. J. Poynter and entitled "Portrait of Lady Markham".  As usual, what I ended up with by the time I finished bears no resemblance to my model other than the pose!

Sir Edward John Poynter was an English painter in the Neo-classical tradition as well as a designer and draughtsman. He became best known for his large historical paintings and established his fame with his immense painting, Israel and Egypt, 1867. 

Poynter was the son of the architect, Ambrose Poynter. Although he was born in Paris, his parents returned to Britain soon afterwards. In 1853 he met Frederick Leighton in Rome, who made a great impression on the 17-year-old Poynter. On his return to London he studied at Leigh's academy in Newman Street and the Royal Academy Schools before going to Paris to study in the studio of the classicist painter, Charles Gleyre, where James McNeill Whistler and George du Maurier were fellow-students.

In 1866 Poynter married the famous beauty Agnes MacDonald, daughter of the Rev G. B. MacDonald of Wolverhampton, and they had three children. Her sister Georgiana married the artist Edward Burne-Jones; her sister Alice was the mother of writer Rudyard Kipling; and her sister Louisa was the mother of three-times-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Stanley Baldwin. 

Painting of Sir Edward J. Poynter
Poynter held a number of official posts: he was the first Slade Professor at University College London from 1871 to 1875, principal of the National Art Training School from 1875 to 1881 and director of the National Gallery from 1894 to 1904 (overseeing the opening of the Tate Gallery). In 1896, Poynter was elected President of the Royal Academy – a post he held until 1918. He received a knighthood in 1896 and was made a baronet in 1902. Poynter died in London on the 26th of July 1919. 

What really intrigued me about this painting of Poynter's were the placement of the hands.  Hands, as I am sure you know, are the most difficult parts of the body to draw and I am always on the lookout for hands that present a challenge -- and these certainly do. 

Of course, as you can guess, I am still not satisfied with the results, but will leave this drawing for now and, perhaps, try again another day.



Daniel with his father, and my nephew, David...
So many photos of Daniel are taken by his father so he
is behind the camera and not in the picture.
I cropped this one out of a family photo.

Daniel with his father on a holiday trip 
a few years ago.

Recently, my nephew, David, did something wonderful for his son and for other autistic children -- as you can see from the first paragraph of a news article from the Knoxville (Tennessee) Sentinel, dated the 25th of September, 2014.

OAK RIDGE — His solitary, self-imposed physical ordeal began at 4 a.m. Friday morning in downtown Oak Ridge. It shouldn't conclude until about 10 Friday night at a North Ridge trailhead on the outskirts of the city. He's doing it for the love of his son. After months of intensive training, Oak Ridge High School girls' basketball coach David Scott is pushing himself through a one-man triathlon to raise money and awareness about autism. It's personal. While it's a fundraiser, it's also a tribute to his 9-year-old son, Daniel, who is autistic. "He is a true joy in our life and though he is developmentally delayed and nonverbal, we consider ourselves so blessed," Scott said. During his triathlon Friday, Scott is planning to swim three miles, bike 130 miles and run and walk 30 miles. That's more than a traditional triathlon — which is a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run....
For the entire article, go to 

[Above paragraph used with permission of the Knoxville Sentinel e-news.]



Suki looking very concerned just
prior to making a mad dash
for her closet hiding place!
Suki had a Friday like you wouldn't believe!  The plumbers returned -- or, as Suki describes it:  the Monster came back.

They arrived at my place around 9:30 a.m. Friday and the banging, clanging and general disorder continued until a little past 11 a.m.

With the first bang, Suki ran for cover and did not venture forth from her hiding place until almost 1 p.m.!  If I had been able, I would gladly have joined her in the back of the bedroom closet -- but once in there, I would have had to call the emergency services in order to be extricated.  

I am not really sure what all the noise was about; however, I do know that at one point the drill the guy was using was so smoking hot that it set off my apartment smoke alarms.  This caused me to hobble as quickly as possible to the front hallway (where the work was going on) and yell loudly until the man finally stopped his drill.  It turned out that the noise he was making was so loud that he had not even heard the alarms going off.

So what was his response when I told him that he had set off the fire alarms?  "Oh, don't worry," he said, "we contacted the Fire Department before we started today so that they know what is going on and know they don't need to respond!" 

Saying this, he quickly returned to his work.  I stood there thinking to myself that this was really rather upsetting.  I mean, what was the Fire Department going to do if there really was a fire in the building? Just ignore it because these guys said to?

Fortunately, there was no more smoke after that and all remained relatively calm -- other than the noises of the drill and the occasional complaints of the workman to himself when things were not going as easily as he had hoped.

Finally the work was finished.  The guy cleaned things up as well as most workmen do, apologized for taking so long and making so much noise and then he left.  What a relief it was as the normal silence and privacy of my home returned once again.  The next visit from these guys is not scheduled yet but it could be as early as this coming week.  One day, I pray, they will be finished.

As I said earlier, Suki did not show herself until about an hour and a half after the guy left.  I think she wanted to make absolutely certain that the Monster was really gone.  Poor thing, she doesn't know that the Monster may return as early as next Friday for another round.

As for me, I continue as usual with about the same amount of pain and suffering as last week!  

Nothing is scheduled for this coming week other than the possible visit of a dear friend.  This is the same friend who was supposed to come for a visit last month; however, she and her family all came down with the flu. Thankfully, they all seem to have fully recovered and so the visit is re-scheduled for this Thursday.



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

Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’   Matt. 22:15-21 MRSV

For today's Gospel illustration, I choose one of the original Rosary icons from 2009 -- "The Proclamation of the Gospel".  Here we see Christ teaching to all sorts of people. Even though I was just learning how to draw on the computer at the time, I think I did mange to draw a few faces showing some amount of questioning, dislike, unhappiness and even anger.

This passage from Matthew is one of a number which indicate the strife between those who rigidly interpreted the teachings of God and those who felt that God just might not be quite so rigid after all. Of course, we must not allow ourselves to think that we are that different from the Pharisees and Herodians of the first century! I know I don't like change anymore than those Pharisees did and I can certainly feel just a bit of irritation when my beliefs are challenged!

As always, it is love that makes the difference.  If we enter into dialogue with truly loving hearts, then we will eventually find a way to bring people together rather than driving them apart.

Let us pray for the wisdom we need to be able to really listen to others without seeing them as the enemy.  For only then can we hope to find that Truth which will lead us to the fullness of Love.

May peace be with you today and always.


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