Sunday, 5 July 2015

Photos as Models

"Ready for the Dance", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

"Ready for the Dance", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015,
(Coloured pencil software applied to original drawing)

Normally, I use photographs for my models.  Consequently, I am always on the lookout for photos of interest and now have a huge collection of photos on my computer of things I have drawn or may eventually want to try to draw. Usually, I find these photos on the Internet, but, occasionally, I find them among the photos sent to me by various friends or members of my family.

I am not really good at portraiture so even though I am using a photo of a family member or friend as my model,  I seldom try for an exact likeness.  My efforts to achieve a real likeness, have, in the past, been quite disappointing. Although my friend or my cousin (the parent of the child in the photo) may tell me how much they liked my drawing and how well I captured the image of so-and-so, I know that they are just being polite!

So, with this introduction, allow me to tell you about the two drawings I am featuring today...

The first drawing (above) was inspired by a lovely photo of my great-niece who lives in the southern U.S.  She is just finishing grade school and will soon be going on to what they call "middle school" I think. Her class evidently decided to have a prom and she, along with two of her friends, were photographed as they prepared to leave.  Thus the title for this drawing: "Ready for the Dance".

"Girl with Yellow Ribbon", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

"Girl with Yellow Ribbon", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015
(Oil painting software was applied to original drawing)

With this second drawing, I used a photo of a friend's grand-daughter. She is a beautiful, young girl whose parents are originally from the Philippines.  In the photo, she was wearing a decorated, floppy ribbon in her hair.  This is what attracted me to the photo in the first place and so I called the drawing "Girl with Yellow Ribbon".

As you can see, I also tried experimenting with software that applies special effects to a picture.  I really like the effect given by the coloured pencil software used on the first drawing; however, the oil painting software, used on the second drawing, leaves quite a bit to be desired -- in my opinion.  I would enjoy knowing what you think of these special effects. Also, if any of you know of special effects software or apps that I might be able to use, please let me know.



Braden celebrated his birthday last month and, afterwards, I received a number of delightful photos taken during the celebration. I would like to post all of them, but then my posting would be far too long.  So, I will show you a few at a time. 

In the photos shown below, I am assuming that Braden and his brother, Rònàn, were encouraged to sit on a blanket in the shade of a tree in their grandfather's garden while Braden investigated the contents of a "basket" he had received for his birthday.

It appears that, at first, Braden's little brother was only mildly interested in what Braden was doing.  However, as soon as Rònàn realized that this "basket" contained things of interest, his attitude changed completely! 

Braden looking at presents while Rònàn looks on with some interest.

Braden, reaching into the basket, realizes that it contains "goodies" -- a realization 
which has not yet come to Rònàn who, at the point, looks only mildly interested.  

Braden is unable to hide his delight with what he has found which alerts Rònàn to the presence of "goodies".  Obviously,  Rònàn, now aware of his brother's stash, feels 
that he, too, should share in the riches!

I wonder what happened next... was there a bit of a disagreement between the brothers or did Braden, with encouragement from the adults nearby, share some of the goodies. Perhaps some adult quickly picked up dear Rònàn and give him something of his own with which to play?  You will just have to guess as there were no more photos of this particular event. Personally, I like to think that someone quickly picked up Rònàn and distracted him with some safe toy of his own.  But then, I always desire the most peaceful solution.



Suki patiently allowing my friend, A.P., to
take her photo.  Suki went back to sleep
as soon as the photo was taken.
As with most strays, Suki has no idea of her actual birth date. I met her for the first time at the Humane Society where I was immediately drawn to her. I adopted her on March the 8th. At that time, I was told that the vet figured that she was about 1 year old and so I decided that I would give her a March birthday. That date is now, of course, listed as her official birth date.

Recently, however, I came across a web site on Astrology for Cats! I am no believer in astrology for humans much less cats; however, I was intrigued by what I read.  I went first to the sign for the date I had chosen -- Pisces.  Pisces, as you may know, is a water sign and Suki is the least likely cat to be associated with water.  I even have to sneak water into her food or else the only liquid she would get would be the small amount of gravy in her wet food.  She just does not like water, period.

So, I began to look at all the other signs and read what they had to say about the various cat personalities.  I wasn't getting anywhere until I came across the description of Scorpio and it was as though the author had written it with Suki in mind.  Let me share with you just a bit of this foolishness (or is it?).  [I did do just a bit of editing here and there]:

The Scorpio Cat is a powerful cat with more than a mere sting in her tail. This resourceful and intelligent feline will delight in organizing things and people, finding the normal business of the domestic cat to be boring and mundane.

Determination is the guiding force of the Scorpio Cat...and it is indeed a force to be reckoned with. A Scorpio Cat may usually be recognized by a muscular body and beautiful eyes – the ideal specimen being one with jet-black fur and eyes of deep emerald green. However, the most notable feature will be the mask of imperturbability.

Later in life, this feline stands out from the rest by his or her waddling walk...the result of over-eating...and often has bow legs. Normally healthy, when this cat does become poorly, then she will expect (and usually receive) all the tender, loving care due to such an important member of the family.

The Scorpio Cat will always remain a puzzle to the family...never where an owner thinks she might be...never doing what she should be doing. This is all a game to the Scorpio Cat – fooling the owner and leaving her humans guessing.

She will be deeply intuitive of others where feelings are concerned, possessing the gift of empathy and the ability to read emotions. This feline senses when an owner desires companionship and when he or she would rather be left alone. The Scorpio Cat is always strangely drawn to those unfortunate humans who are not fond of cats. If such an individual is invited into the home and tries to banish the Scorpio Cat, it will fail to work. This feline somehow manages to get into the room and insists on paying the visitor in question an abundance of attention...sitting on the guest or rubbing against the guest.

However, at the end of the day, the Scorpio Cat is basically a one-person cat. She will single out a member of the family with whom to bond and the rest will be virtually ignored. This feline does become genuinely attached, but in a rather aloof sort of way...offering companionship in return for a high standard of living.

A Scorpio Cat usually does best with a Scorpio [or Sagittarius] owner, despite the fact that both are strong-minded, tenacious and complex. Most owners of Scorpio Cats tend to develop a special telepathic bond with this mysterious feline. The Scorpio Cat always seems to know just what her human is thinking, easily senses danger and will arrive for dinner just moments before being called. If there is a death in the family, then the Scorpio Cat is likely to be the first to know.

This feline is the sacred cat which was revered by the Egyptians. Strange and arcane, the Scorpio Cat brings luck and protection to her owner. In short, the Scorpio Cat is pure magic.

What do you think?  Sounds to me as though I should have chosen a birthday for Suki somewhere in late October or early to mid-November!

As for me, I remain much the same.  I had an ultrasound at the hospital this past Monday -- no idea what the results were, of course, since those technicians are trained not to give any indication of what they find.

Had a visit from a dear friend on Thursday (she's the one who took the photo of Suki that adorns today's SUKI AND SALLIE column). Today, I am looking forward to a visit from a family with whom I have been friends for many years now.  I haven't seen them for several months and am looking forward to hearing all their news -- especially about their daughter's recent graduation from high school.

This week I am scheduled to see a specialist (gastroenterologist) about new problems with one organ and old problems with another. It is interesting to observe how disease in one area of the body can, directly or indirectly, lead to disease in another part.  For example, in order to keep my arthritic joints moving, I have had to take anti-inflammatory medications for many years now.  As you may be aware, these drugs, over time, can do bad things to your stomach. Thus, you end up with a new disease -- ulcers in your stomach and duodenum -- which requires additional medications taken in an effort to try to control this new ailment. These new medications, in turn, make some other bodily organ unhappy and so ... on and on it goes. Ah, well ... as I always say, C'est la vie



"Christ Teaching in the Temple", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013, rev 2015

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.  Mk 6:1-6

Certainly, we all have the right (and duty) to question the credentials of those who come to us speaking authoritatively on any subject -- especially such an important subject as our beliefs about who we are and why we exist.  However, if the person is someone we know well, someone we never really expected to speak with authority about anything, then it is very difficult for us to even hear what they have to say -- much less believe it. We expect them to say exactly what we would say and believe exactly whatever we believe -- after all, they grew up in the house next door to ours, didn't they? 

Familiarity not only makes us less likely to hear what someone is saying, it also affects all our other senses.  For example, we have all had the experience, I assume, of having someone visit our home and, while taking in the view from the front window, suddenly point out certain beautiful aspects of that view -- aspects of which we had long ago ceased being aware.  

So I pray that we may we be granted the grace of refreshed and renewed senses enabling us to really hear what others are saying and really see what others are seeing.  May we not treat with contempt those beliefs which differ from our own, knowing that it is in lovingly acknowledging each other's right to believe differently -- neither of us insisting that the other believe what we believe -- that we can begin to find the peace we are seeking.


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