Sunday, 24 May 2015

Daydreaming

"Woman Daydreaming", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015


Daydreaming is defined as a short-term detachment from one's immediate surroundings -- a time during which a person's contact with reality is blurred and partially substituted by a visionary fantasy, especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions, imagined as coming to pass and experienced while awake. 

There are many types of daydreams and there is no consistent definition among psychologists; however, the characteristic that is common to all forms of daydreaming meets the criteria for mild dissociation. 

Daydreaming is a natural, human activity --  especially among younger people.  Recent studies have shown that it can be beneficial for people in creative or artistic careers, such as composers, novelists and filmmakers, developing new ideas through daydreaming. Similarly, research scientists and mathematicians have developed new ideas by daydreaming about their subject areas.

Of course, throughout the centuries -- especially once mankind began working with tools that require concentration -- daydreaming has often been frowned up.  Sayings such as "idle hands are the Devil's workshop..." (Proverbs 16) have been used frequently to reprimand anyone appearing to simply sit and think.  So, daydreaming has often gotten a bad rap even though it appears to be something beneficial to the human race -- and like night dreams, maybe even necessary for good mental health.  

Of course, as most of us can admit, many of our daydreams, especially during our adolescent years, were often about us accomplishing great things -- we would see ourselves as a mix between Superman/woman and Mother Teresa -- righting the world's wrongs -- particularly those in our own lives!  Even though I can recall many such daydreams of my own, I also realize now how important those dreams were in helping me to cope, successfully, with the frightening, and often violent, world that was my family.

Now let me speak a bit about the inspiration for this particular drawing.  

Quite by accident, I came across a painting entitled La dormiente (The Sleeper) by Tamara de Łempicka (1898 - 1980 -- born Maria Górska in Warsaw, The Kingdom of Poland [Królestwo Polskie] under the rule of the Russian Empire, into a wealthy and prominent family).  In Łempicka's painting, the woman has her eyes closed in sleep; however, I decided that I wanted my drawing to be of a woman awake, but daydreaming.

Of course, I was first attracted to La dormiente by the sleeping woman's hands.  I knew at once that I wanted to try to draw those hands in that position and it was those hands on which I spent the majority of my effort.

Łempicka, by the way, was a Polish Art Deco painter and "the first woman artist to be a glamour star". Influenced by Cubism, Lempicka became the leading representative of the Art Deco style across two continents, a favourite artist of many Hollywood stars, referred to as 'the baroness with a brush'. She was the most fashionable portrait painter of her generation among the haute bourgeoisie and aristocracy, painting duchesses and grand dukes and socialites. Through her network of friends, she was also able to display her paintings in the most elite salons of the era.  

Łempicka's distinctive and bold artistic style developed quickly, influenced by what André Lhote sometimes referred to as "soft cubism" and by the "synthetic cubism" of Maurice Denis, epitomizing the cool yet sensual side of the Art Deco movement. For her, Picasso "embodied the novelty of destruction". She thought that many of the Impressionists drew badly and employed "dirty" colors. Lempicka's technique would be novel, clean, precise, and elegant.

     

[Portions of the above information were taken from Wikipedia]
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SUKI AND SALLIE


Suki -- Too clever for her own good!

As you know, Suki has this annoying habit of beginning her campaign to awaken me about half an hour before my preferred time for arising in the morning.

Most of the time, her campaign techniques include such things as rattling the Venetian blinds or knocking small objects off the bedside table so that they hit the hardwood floor with bang. 

Recently, however, she has tried a new technique:  she sits on the bed, as far from me as possible, and repeatedly taps my head with her paw. After each tap, she quickly moves away from me until she is ready to tap again. She has tried the tapping technique on other parts of my body a couple of times, but she seems to realize that my head is the most sensitive area. 

So far, she has only used this technique when she sees me sleeping a bit past my usual time for arising and becomes, therefore, quite convinced that she is going to starve to death at any moment! However, she has learned, to her sorrow, that attempting a "wake-up" technique that requires her to get so close to me while I am still asleep puts her in grave danger.  

Suki has discovered that my hands and feet can strike out quite suddenly when she touches me while I am sleeping and, that my reach is much greater than she has calculated. As a consequence, in spite of her efforts to move away quickly, she has gotten knocked off the bed more than a few times now.  Of course, she may consider that the risk is worth it as my hitting her causes me to instantly become fully awake and full of apologies which means that she gets fed almost immediately!

I do feel rather badly about striking out that way, but I can't be held responsible for what I do in my sleep, can I? 

I'm hoping Suki will decide that this newest "wake-up" technique is not worth the risk and will quickly discontinue using it -- both for her sake and for mine.

As for the rest of my week, it was fairly uneventful other than a visit to the ophthalmologist this past Wednesday.  He was very displeased with my failure to use the drops he prescribed some months ago.  I tried to explain to him how much the drops irritated my eyes and interfered with my ability to work on the computer or stream my shows and movies, but he was insistent that I had to use the drops.  I was finally able to convince him to prescribe another type of drops and I started using these on Friday. So far, they have turned out to be just as irritating and painful as the previous ones! What to do? What to do? Why is nothing easy?


"Altocumulus Clouds and Diffused Sunlight", 
photo by G.W., 2015
One nice thing that happened was that my friend, G, posted some more of her photos on Facebook.  She is definitely demonstrating some real creativity in her newly-discovered talent for photography. There was one photo, in particular, which I found quite exciting (see right).



"Altocumulus Clouds and Diffused Sunlight (colourized)".
original photo by G.W., colouration by S. Thayer 


Of course, the moment I saw this photo, I wanted to play with it, turning it from a scenic photo into a something like abstract art (see left).

This is not to imply that there was anything wrong with the original photo.  It's just my love of taking ordinary things and "playing" with them in an effort to turn them into something else -- something not easily defined.  

I have actually "played" with a couple of G's photos now changing them from photographs into something like abstract art.  Let me show you a couple of examples:
"First Tulips", photo by
G.W., 2015


"First Tulips -- Abstract", original
photo by G.W., abstract form by
S. Thayer, 2015

"Spring Multicolour", photo by G.W., 2015

"Spring Multicolour - Abstracted",
taken from original photo by
G.W., abstract form by S. Thayer,
2015























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PENTECOST SUNDAY


"Icon -- (Detail) Pentecost", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009


On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”   John 20:19-23

I am not posting the traditional Pentecost icon that I drew some years ago now.  I did go and take a look at it, but discovered that I will need to do a complete revision before I am willing to post it again -- so maybe next year at Pentecost if I am still around. Instead I just pasted in a detail from that icon -- of Our Lady.

"The descent of the Holy Spirit" -- what a strange and difficult concept.  I have never met anyone who could easily explain what we mean by the Holy Spirit (or Ghost as it used to be called in English).  I mean, I understand that it is like the "breath of God" breathing in us and so I often use the Hebrew word ruach which means wind, breath or spirit (as in “The Spirit of God [Ruach Elohim] was hovering over the waters” Genesis 1:2) when trying to make sense of "the Third Person of the Trinity".

But even then, I am faced with a mystery -- something beyond my understanding -- which is how it should be, I guess. All I can say is: 
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Amen.

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