Sunday, 29 March 2015

What is A Muse?

"A Muse ... but is she Amused", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015
[Please forgive my silliness with the title -- I just couldn't help myself.  
The actual title is "The Muse".]

The inspiration for today's drawing came from a painting by E. J. Poynter entitled, "Erato Muse".  Let me explain a bit about the muses and Erato in particular.

For any of you who may not know, the muses are found in Greek Mythology and are the personification of knowledge and the arts, especially literature, dance and music.  They are the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne and are sometimes referred to as water nymphs. The Muses were both the embodiment and sponsors of performed metrical speech called "Mousike" (hence the English term "music") which was just "one of the 'arts' of the Muses". Others included science, geography, mathematics, philosophy, and especially art, drama, and inspiration. Some authors invoke Muses when writing poetry, hymns or epic history. The invocation typically occurs at or near the beginning, and calls for help or inspiration, or simply invites the Muse to sing through the author. 

The particular muse known as Erato is the Muse of lyric poetry, especially love and erotic poetry. In the Orphic hymn to the Muses, it is Erato who charms the sight. Since the Renaissance she is often shown with a wreath of myrtle and roses, holding a lyre, or a small kithara, a musical instrument that mythology tells us was invented either by Apollo or, Erato, herself. 

As for the artist whose work inspired me, Sir Edward John Poynter was an English painter in the Neo-classical tradition as well as a designer and draughtsman.  If you want more information about him, see my posting of October 19, 2014.  In that posting the drawing I presented was inspired by another painting of his ... a painting I was attracted to, in particular, by the way he placed the woman's hands.  In this most recent drawing, I was, once again, drawn to Poynter's placement of hands. As you can see above, the model is shown resting her head against one hand while the other hand rests, lightly, on the top of a lyre.

As I have mentioned previously, hands continue to challenge and intrigue me.  They are, perhaps, for me, the most difficult of all visible body parts to draw convincingly.  Whenever I return to a drawing in order to re-work parts of it, I always end up re-drawing the hands in an effort to make them appear more like the real thing.

Today's drawing is one of three that I did of this same subject.  In one I have the Muse with wings like a water nymph.  In the other, I have placed a wreath of roses on her head.  Poynter's painting, which was my model for this drawing, shows the Muse with wings as well as with a wreath of myrtle leaves on her head.  Neither of these variations satisfied me which is why I ended up posting the final drawing of the Muse as a woman with a lyre and with a rather interesting hair-do!


Portions of the above text was taken from various Internet sources.



Suki is such a party animal!

The drawing of Suki to your left was the one I did when I was describing her bell-ringing trick.  In the original, posted a few weeks ago, Suki is shown ringing a large cow-bell.  

Since my drawings are done on the computer, I have the option of doing a "save as" and ending up with a second "original" which I can then change as I wish.  This is very good not only because I don't have to spend time doing the entire drawing again, but it is especially good because I don't have to try to get Suki to stand on her back feet again while trying to take a photo of her with my iPad. I mean, I do need a model to work from and Suki refuses to pose.  Play, yes; pose, no.

But what was the reason for my wanting to re-work this drawing? Well, my friend, Eugene, who has been mentioned more than a few times in my postings over the years, had a birthday this past week and so I decided to re-work the drawing of Suki in order to use it on his birthday card.  Eugene also has a delightful cat named Desi (about whom he could tell many stories) and, as well, Eugene is one of Suki's friends. So, it seemed appropriate to let Suki help him celebrate his birthday.

Suki, by the way is doing much the same as always. She has been reasonably well behaved this past week -- for which I am grateful.

As for me, there is nothing new to report.  I will be seeing the doctor this week, but it is just for my monthly check-up and more blood work.  I don't expect to find out anything of interest.



"Icon -- The Agony", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, Revised 2015

Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.” He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing. Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him. He returned a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

Portion of Palm Sunday Gospel, Mark 14:1--15:47

Today's Gospel of the Passion always makes me think of that powerful scene from the stage play/movie "Jesus Christ Superstar" where the actor portraying Jesus sings "Gethsemane (I only want to say)".  The first time I watched that scene, listening to the words of this song, I sat there in the darkness of the theatre with tears streaming down my face -- and I'm a person who normally never cries over anything. Even now, whenever I listen to this song or watch it on You Tube, I have the same reaction. Why? Because I seem to be able to identify so deeply with the struggle implied in the lyrics. Let me share portions of that song with you:  

I only want to say, if there is a way, 
Take this cup away from me 
For I don't want to taste its poison 
Feel it burn me ... 
I'm not as sure as when we started 
Then I was inspired, now I'm sad and tired 
After all I've tried for three years 
Seems like thirty; no, more like ninety 
Why then am I scared to finish what we started? 
If I see the saga through and do the things you ask of me 
Let them hate me, hit me, hurt me, nail me to their tree 
Can you show me now that I would not be killed in vain? 
Oh, why should I die? 
God, Thy will is hard, but You hold every card 
I will drink Your cup of poison... 
Nail me to Your cross and break me 
Bleed me, beat me, kill me, take me, now 

Before I change my mind. #ixzz3VabphGdz

I doubt that most of these particular sentiments were part of what Christ prayed during that night of agonizing prayer, but they are words that I can identify with.  By thus identifying, I am able to enter into His Passion just a bit.  I think back to the years when faith came easily, but now I am sad, tired and ill and nothing is easy anymore.  I am an old woman but instead of becoming easier, the struggle just becomes more and more difficult.  So I say:  "God, Your will is hard, but it must be done so that Your Kingdom may come in my life".

It is only in the acceptance of the present moment and all that it contains -- good or ill -- that I will find the peace I am seeking. So, may I have the courage to say "Thy Will be done; Thy Kingdom come" ,,, in my life and in the lives of all those I love; all those for whom I care; all those for whom I pray.

Peace be with you.  


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