Sunday, 5 October 2014

Lady with a Parasol

"Lady with a Parasol", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

This drawing was inspired by a painting entitled:  "The Green Parasol" by one of the most gifted of California's Impressionist artists, Guy Rose (1867 - 1925).  He was the only artist among the early Impressionists to be born in Southern California.

Guy Orlando Rose was the seventh child of Leonard John Rose and Amanda Jones Rose. He and his wife raised their large family on an expansive Southern California ranch and vineyard – the San Gabriel Valley town of Rosemead. 

In 1876 young Guy Rose was accidentally shot in the face during a hunting trip with his brothers. While recuperating he began to sketch as well as learning to use watercolours and oil paints. After graduating high school, he moved, in 1884, to San Francisco where he did his art training at the California School of Design. There he studied with the Danish-born artist Emil Carlsen
Guy Rose, 19th-20th
century artist

In 1888, Rose enrolled at the Académie Julian in Paris and studied with Benjamin-Constant, Jules Lefebvre, Lucien Doucet and Jean-Paul Laurens (you may recall a couple of these names previously mentioned in such postings as the recent one on the artist Henry Ryland). At the Académie Julian, he met and became lifelong friends with fellow student, Frank Vincent. In 1889, Rose won a scholarship to the Académie Delacluse.  

In the early 1890s, Rose returned to the U.S., living in New York City where he did illustrations for Harper's, Scribners, and Century. Then, in 1899, he and his wife, Ethel, decided to return to France where they bought a cottage at Giverny

In 1900, however, they were in residence in Paris, spending the winter in Briska, Algeria where Rose continued painting. Then from 1904 to 1912, the Roses lived in Giverny. His works from this period show the influence of "the master", Claude Monet, who had, by this time, become Rose's friend and mentor.

"Blue Kimono"
by Guy Rose
Sadly, by 1913, Rose was suffering on and off again from the effects of lead poisoning*.  So in 1914, he and his wife returned to the U.S., setting up a home in Los Angeles, California. Then, in 1921, Rose suffered a debilitating stroke that left him paralyzed.  Four years later, in 1925, Guy Rose died at Pasadena.  

Now, as to my version of "The Green Parasol",  entitled: "Lady with a Parasol", the most exciting part of the drawing, for me, was designing that very parasol! 

To be honest, it is the only part of the drawing with which I am entirely satisfied. I remain ambivalent about the other elements involved -- particularly the colour and density of the leaves and the tint of the lady's skin.  I am already thinking seriously about redoing both of those. I know I need to somehow create the illusion of greenish-blue light -- especially on the lady's skin and clothes -- as she is sitting in the light but under the shade of a greenish-blue parasol!  

Sadly, my old software attempts to do such things with great difficulty and is often unable to give me the kinds of shadows and tints that I know I need. Anyway, we'll see what happens... If I do revise the drawing, you will know, of course, as it will suddenly appear, in its revised form, in a subsequent posting!

*[White lead oil paint, known as "flake white" or "Cremnitz white", was valued by artists for centuries because of the ease of handling and resilience the lead confers to such paints. Lead white paint dries relatively quickly to form a strong, flexible paint film. It was the only white pigment available to artists in appreciable quantities until the twentieth century, when zinc-white and titanium-white became available. Many artists worked with lead in order to create their own paints and, as a consequence, were gradually sickened and eventually dying from complications due to the lead poisoning.]

--Much of the above information regarding Guy Rose was taken from Wikipedia and other Internet sources.



Suki playing with one of her many strings
(note the knots tied in it so that she cannot
easily swallow it -- got to protect her!)
Suki had quite an adventure this past week although I am not sure that is quite how she would describe it!  Actually, she probably found the event to be very distressing -- just as I did.

A group of plumbers (or should that be "a flush of plumbers") descended on my apartment Thursday morning! They came to noisily make a huge hole in the back of my coat closet by the front door. Evidently, this is the best location for reaching the pipes which go from my kitchen, into the building pipes and eventually meet up with the City's pipes.  The object of this?... to clean out the "sludge" that has formed there over the past 17 years since the building was first inhabited by myself and others!

In order to drill this hole, everything had to be removed from the closet.  I told these men, in no uncertain terms, that I was not physically able to do this myself and gave them permission to move the stuff for me.  After a bit of discussion about this, the plumber who ended up doing the actual work and was very nice, handled my things carefully (after seeing what he removed, I now have to admit that here is another clean-up job for Joycelyn!).

Then came the noisy part of making a big hole in the wall.  Once the drill started, Suki began growling loudly and then gave up the fight, running straight for her hiding place in the back of the bedroom closet.  I simply endured the noise until it stopped. Fortunately, the hole-making exercise only took about 15 to 20 minutes as the machine was, indeed, very loud.  Next, the nice plumber covered the hole with plastic (he taped it down carefully so that there is no way a cat could find her way in!).  Then, he cleaned up as well as I could expect him to.  Finally, he put most of the stuff back in the closet, trying valiantly to push as many boxes as possible in front of the now-covered hole.  

The next part of the process will occur some time this week.  They have promised to let me know the day before they return so that I can prepare myself.  Let me explain... these days, when I have to be up and about for any period of time, I require additional pain medication plus an inner pep talk telling myself that I can endure this without giving in to crying and swearing!

I was told that they will have to return a third time in order to repair the wall in the closet, closing up the hole permanently.  I haven't yet told Suki that these men will be coming back and so, at present, she is totally unaware that the "monster" will return in a day or two!  

Poor Suki.  It was both sad and funny to watch her when this guy started drilling.  As I said, she growled loudly for about 15 or 20 seconds and then turned and ran quickly for her safe place in the bedroom closet -- she's no fool!  It was about an hour after the guy with the drill left that I heard Suki making her way, cautiously, out of the bedroom closet and meowing loudly until she found me. Of course, it was getting close to lunch time so it was possibly just her stomach growling that caused her to emerge from hiding and not her courage. 

After she had eaten her lunch, she spent a good half hour carefully sniffing the area where the "monster" had been!  It will be very interesting to see what she does this week when the "monster" returns to clean out the pipes.  There is no telling what sounds that kind of machine will make.  Whatever the sounds, I am sure that there will be another mad dash for the back to the bedroom closet for poor Suki!

Otherwise, my week was a quiet one -- thank goodness.  

The only thing of note which occurred, other than the plumbers, was the building management's decision to turn off the air conditioning on September 30th.  This, as it turned out, was more of a problem for me than it might have been as the weather continued to stay relatively mild until yesterday and, so, for four days, my apartment was really hot.  Fortunately, I have two floor fans which I was painfully dragging with me everywhere in an effort to remain as cool and comfortable as possible. 

I feel the heat much more than in the past due to all the medication I am now taking -- it makes me uncomfortably warm almost all the time.  I am very grateful that the weather has now become more fall-like and is expected to stay this way indefinitely.  I am looking forward to colder weather!

Even now, my place is not as cool as it might be were I able to keep my windows open.  However, I have a corner apartment with a busy street on one side and a public walkway on the other.  Young people like to congregate just outside my bedroom window -- especially late in the evening.  As well, the young men of the neighbourhood seem to think that the large space without windows at the corner of my building is a perfect place off which to bounce basketballs!  

Oh, well...  that's enough complaining.  At least I understand the why of all these things.  Just think how it must be for Suki for whom the world outside of this apartment is a total mystery and, thus, a very frightening place!



"Icon, Master of the Vineyard", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Jesus said, "Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance." So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time." Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.  Matt. 21:33-43

What is it that makes us so greedy that they are willing to lie, deceive and even murder to gain something that belongs to someone else?  

Have you ever felt, as I have, the sticky fingers of greed wrapping themselves around your heart?  If so, you hopefully have learned, as I continue to, that the only remedy for greed is love.  There is no way we can really "cast it out" other than by loving enough to be willing to let others have what we, ourselves, desire -- if that is what they want.  We may, in fact, end up with whatever it is we desire anyway; however, it will then have become ours, honestly and freely, without any deception or "murder" on our part.

Those men in today's parable who had leased the vineyard, and all the things that came with it, began to desire to possess it all for themselves. Why were they not satisfied with the agreement they had entered into?  I am sure that the amount of produce that they had contracted to give the owner in payment was reasonable for that day and age.  Yet, after giving their word, look what they did.

Yet, even after they had beaten, stoned and even killed His slaves, the Master was still willing to try to give them another opportunity to do the right thing.  Sadly, and rather foolishly it would seem, we are told that the Master sent His own Son to collect the produce due -- thinking that surely these people could not be so greedy and wicked that they would not respect His Son and Heir.  Knowing human nature as we do and being the cynics most of us have become, we, of course, could have predicted how the tenants would behave!  

But, in the end, what did these tenants actually achieve?  They lost everything -- even their lives -- and the vineyard was given to others who would, we are told, honour their contract.  Of course, we know that these new tenants turned out to be basically no better than the old "tenants".  None of us, no group, no religion, no organization, is free from greed and the wickedness that goes with it.  No wonder it is one of the so-called Seven Deadly Sins!

There is only one way, in my opinion and as I mentioned previously, to defeat greed or any other "deadly sin" and that is with love.  What is it that St. Paul says: 
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I Cor. 13:4-7

May I be granted the grace to always choose the way of love whatever choices life offers me.

May we all know the joy and peace that comes when we willingly, lovingly, give rather than grasp.  Let us have open hands.


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