Sunday, 29 May 2016

Even More Dahlias!

"Dahlias of the Collarette Persuasion", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016






I couldn't resist drawing two more Dahlia cultivars.  I hope you don't mind!

As you probably recall, Dahlias are a group of flowering, tuberous-rooted plants that belong to the Asteraceae (aster/daisy) family. There are at least 36 species of Dahlia. As well, Dahlias have been hybridized extensively, and there are now more than 20,000 cultivars. 

Dahlias are native to Mexico, Central America and Columbia. The Aztecs cultivated Dahlias for both food and ceremonial purposes.

The genus name of Dahlia is also the common name. The name, Dahlia, comes from the surname of Dr. Andreas (Anders) Dahl. He was an 18th century Swedish botanist and student of Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist who laid the foundations for the modern biological naming scheme of binomial nomenclature. 

Today’s drawing features two of the many Dahlia cultivars. These two belong to the sub-group known as Collarette Dahlias. As you may recall from my posting of November 1, 2015, Collarette Dahlias have large, flat florets forming a single outer ring around a central disc which may overlap a smaller circle of florets closer to the centre and which gives the appearance of a collar. 

As I have mentioned previously, if you search my blog using the term "Dahlia", you will find a number of other cultivars from this genus which I have drawn over the years.





Some of the above text was taken from various Internet sources.
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BRADEN AND RÒNÀN 




I was the fortunate recipient of some additional photos of my boys this past week and, as usual, I want to share a few of them with you.




Brother share a ride in a "Ladybug".





"Come on in, little bro ... this is a fun place to play!"





Brothers listening to a "hillbilly" band.





This is an interesting photographic composition -- 
showing the boys through openings in the fence that surrounds the "trampoline".  
This photo makes me think of that Van Halen hit song from the past:  "Jump!" 





"Watch out, little brother ...  if you go sideways, you may bump into the post!"






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SUKI AND SALLIE



Suki enjoying her favourite chair AFTER
getting me to lift her from the floor and
place her carefully on her "good" side!
How come cats are so good at getting people to wait on them?

Seriously, every day now I tell Suki that if she really wants to get into her chair, she can find a way to do it herself -- I am definitely not going to do it for her.  

Then she sits there, staring at me with those big eyes and utters a pitiful little meow that just about breaks your heart. I mean, what can I do?  

So, I get up once again, pick her up off the floor and gently place her in a comfortable position on the seat of her favourite chair.  She really knows how to get me to do what she wants.

Of course, after a few hours of sleep, it is time for Suki to leave the chair and begin pestering me about lunchtime.  She does this until it is actually time for her noon meal.  These days, of course, she also gets two type of medication at lunch time -- one for pain alone (she will only be taking this one for a few more days) plus another one for treating both pain and inflammation (this one she will continue taking into the foreseeable future). 

The medications are supposed to be taken just before eating; however, Suki, after being properly dosed (I use a syringe minus the needle in order to measure the liquid medication and then squirt it into the side of her mouth) refuses to eat the food I have just placed before her.  Instead, she simply lies down on the floor and looks at me as though I have deeply offended her.

After a great deal of pleading, Suki finally condescends to approach her food dish which contains bits of chicken with lots of gravy. Then, rather than eating her food properly, she simply licks off all the gravy, turns and walks away.

The next thing I hear is this plaintive meow coming from the living room. When I take a look, there is Suki asking me to lift her up and put her back onto the seat of her favourite chair.  With a deep sigh and a shake of my head, I do exactly what she wants.  No wonder I have given Suki the name Rumpole gave to his wife in the British comedy series "Rumpole of the Bailey":  "She Who Must Be Obeyed."

As for what I am doing apart from being Suki's nursemaid, I seem to be spending a large amount of time at various doctors' offices. I had four different appointments this past week.  Hopefully, the "6-month, check-up time" is now past and my life can settle down once again to only the occasional medical appointment; however, I do have two more medical type appointments scheduled for the coming week!  Now for some bad news and good news...

The bad news is that I have started having increasing problems with pain during the night. After consultation, the pain specialist and I decided to try increasing one of my medications in an attempt to increase the number of hours of uninterrupted sleep I am able to get.  The good news is that after a few days on the new regimen, I am finding that the additional dose seems to be helping quite a bit. Keep your fingers crossed.




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THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI




"Icon -- Corpus Christi", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015 rev.





Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, "Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here." He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves." They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people." Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty." They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.  Luke 9:11b-17






Sunday, 22 May 2016

Narcissus

"Narcissus poeticus -- Flower of the Gods", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016




Narcissus poeticus is extremely fragrant with a ring of petals in pure white and a short corona of light yellow with a distinct reddish edge, N. poeticus is widely naturalized in North America and Europe. Narcissus is mostly native to the Mediterranean region, but a few species are found in the area stretching from central Asia to China. N. poeticus, now long cultivated in Europe, was, according to one legend, brought back to England from the crusades. It was introduced to North America in the late 18th century. 

The earliest mention of Narcissus poeticus is probably in the botanical writings of Theophrastus (371 – c. 287 BCE), who wrote about a spring-blooming narcissus. In one version of the myth about the handsome Greek hunter, Narcissus, he was punished by the Goddess of vengeance, Nemesis, who turned him into a Narcissus flower that historians associate with Narcissus poeticus

According to some experts, the fragrant Narcissus poeticus was the flower that Persephone and her companions were gathering when Hades abducted her into the Underworld. This myth accounts for the custom, which has lasted into modern times, of decorating graves with these flowers. Linnaeus, who gave the flower its name, quite possibly did so because he believed it was the one that inspired the tale of Narcissus. [Narcissus, known for his beauty, was extremely proud, disdaining those who loved him.  The god, Nemesis, (the spirit of divine retribution) noticing his behaviour, drew Narcissus to a clear pool of water.  Gazing upon his reflection, Narcissus fell in love not realizing that it was only a image of himself. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. Narcissus is the origin of the term, narcissism, meaning a fixation with oneself and one's physical appearance -- a self love that makes one incapable of really loving others.]

While all Narcissus are poisonous when eaten, Narcissus poeticus is more dangerous than others, acting as a strong emetic and irritant. The scent is powerful enough that it can cause headache and vomiting if a large quantity is kept in a closed room.  In my opinion, this beautiful flower is better appreciated in the garden rather than in a vase!

This is not the first time (nor will it be the last, I'm sure) I have tried drawing Narcissus poeticus. Below are two previous drawings of this ancient flower from earlier blog postings.




"Narcissus poeticus recurvus"
drawing by 
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2010
"Narcissus poeticus -- Pheasant's Eye"
drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009












Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.
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BRADEN AND RÒNÀN 



The boys have been busy lately.  Here are some recent candid shots of the two of them -- apart and together.




Rònàn carefully studying his surroundings --









Brothers - 1





Brothers - 2







Braden carefully studying his surroundings --








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SUKI AND SALLIE



In last Sunday's posting, I wrote:     
Suki in one of her few wakeful
moments these days.
"As soon as she saw me, she tried to stand up but could only manage it by leaning against fridge so that she did not have to put any weight on her back left leg. She tried to walk towards me, but could only hobble for a few steps before she had to lie down again. I quickly measured out a dose of her pain medication in the syringe and gave it to her. Then I fixed her food so that it would be very easy to eat while she was lying down. And that is exactly what Suki did -- she ate her entire breakfast without ever standing up. Once she had finished, I carefully picked her up and transported her to her favourite chair in which she is now sleeping -- a sleep that hopefully will continue for at least the next five hours. Then it will only be another hour before I can give her more of the pain medication. Poor kitty... this definitely means a trip to the vet -- hopefully tomorrow!"

We made it to the vet on Thursday and here is what she had to say:  
"Following blood work and x-rays, it was determined that Suki has a cruciate ligament rupture in her left knee along with osteo- arthritis.  She continues to show signs of osteoarthritis and cruciate ligament weakness in her right knee.  She exhibits pain in both knees, but the pain in the left knee is quite severe -- so much so that without pain medication, Suki would probably be unable to walk at all. So, for the foreseeable future, Suki needs to be given regular doses of pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication. As well, she needs to lose a few pounds so that there is less weight for her back legs to carry." (Suki and I both looked at one another when the vet said "lose a few pounds" and just rolled our eyes.)
   
So far, Suki seems to be managing OK with all of this -- so long as I make certain to give her these good pain meds at the proper times and pick her up whenever she wants to get into one of her favourite chairs.

I, on the other hand -- now faced as I am by the loss of my cat alarm clock plus all my new nursing duties -- am still trying to make all the adjustments required for this new living situation. In other words, Suki is managing OK but I'm a mess!

Hopefully, things will settle down before long as a new routine becomes the established norm.  In the meantime, I have purchased a real alarm clock and have placed small posters throughout the apartment to remind me of the various times of day when Suki needs to be given medication.

I have also been busy with my own health care as I had two medical appointments and some lab work this past week.  This coming week I have four medical appointments! I will be so glad when this six-month check-up time period is over.

Meanwhile, my biggest worry is Suki.  It really is heartbreaking to watch a cat who was once so beautifully agile, now struggle painfully in an effort to jump from the floor onto a low stool. However, so long as Suki is willing to keep struggling, I am willing to keep helping her. We're in this together until the bitter end.





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SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY




"Icon -- The Holy Trinity or The Hospitality of Abraham and Sarah",
by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016 revision



[The Church Fathers saw in the story of the three "angels" appearing to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18:2ff) the foretelling of the doctrine of the Trinity -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- Three in One and One in Three.  As I have mentioned in previous blog postings, one of the world's best-known icons, Rublev's "The Trinity", is based on this passage (see image below).]




"The Holy Trinity" by the hand of
St. Andrei Rublev




Jesus said to his disciples: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you."  Jn 16:12-15



Sunday, 15 May 2016

An Old Favourite

"Fiery Calla Lilies", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016



I imagine some of your are saying to yourself:  "Not Calla Lilies again!"  The answer is, obviously, "Yes, more Calla Lilies".  You know I can't resist them!

The Calla Lilies in this drawing, however, are just a bit different from most of my other drawings of these flowers. Instead of being filled with gentle curves so typical of these lilies, the Calla Lilies in the drawing above are fiery and angry looking. This is accomplished by selecting strong colours as well as the use of lines composed of sharply pointed, triangular shapes -- notice particularly the base of the flowers as well as the tips of the leaves. I feel as though I have discovered an entirely new aspect of these blossoms -- which undoubtedly means I will be drawing more Calla Lilies in the future!

Speaking of previous drawings, following is a selection of some of my favourite Calla Lily attempts from the past:



"Calla Lily for Mother's Day",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer,
2010







"Calla Lilies in the Garden",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer,
2011

























"Calla Lilies in a Glass", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012


As you may recall, Calla Lilies (also known as Arum Lily or simply Calla) are not true lilies at all. They were placed in the family Araceae (not Lilium) and the genus Zantedeschia and are native to southern Africa from South Africa to Malawi. 


The Zantedeschia species are poisonous due to the presence of calcium oxalate. "All parts of the plant are toxic, and produce irritation and swelling of the mouth and throat, acute vomiting and diarrhea."  As beautiful as they are, they are also dangerously tempting to young children and pets.



I think I have always been fascinated by these blossoms every since I first saw the amazing paintings of Calla Lilies created by such masters as Georgia O'Keefe and Diego Rivera.  Below are just two samples of their incredible artistry. 



"Single Lily with Red",
by Georgia O'Keefe,
1928


"Flower Vendor" by Diego Rivera (1911)
















This old favourite continues to challenge me and I want to keep trying to draw it until I get it right!  So, like it or not, there are bound to be more drawings of Calla Lilies in future postings!






Certain portions of the above are taken from various Internet sources.
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SUKI AND SALLIE



Suki telling me just
how badly she is hurting.


The Suki story you are about to read is not the one that I had originally planned to be telling... However, when I awakened this morning a couple of hours later than usual, I knew immediately that Suki must be in trouble.

In all the years I have lived with Suki, she has never failed to awaken me at the same time every day.  She has been like a "no-fail" alarm clock.  So I knew instantly that there was no way she would allow me to sleep-in for two hours.  Something must have happened to her.  

I began to search for her immediately and soon found her in the kitchen lying on the throw rug in front of the fridge -- I think she likes that spot because of the warm air that flows out from behind the refrigerator.  As soon as she saw me, she tried to stand up but could only manage it by leaning against fridge so that she did not have to put any weight on her back left leg.  She tried to walk towards me, but could only hobble for a few steps before she had to lie down again.

I quickly measured out a dose of her pain medication in the syringe and gave it to her.  Then I fixed her food so that it would be very easy to eat while she was lying down.  And that is exactly what Suki did -- she ate her entire breakfast without ever standing up. Once she had finished, I carefully picked her up and transported her to her favourite chair in which she is now sleeping -- a sleep that hopefully will continue for at least the next five hours. Then it will only be another hour before I can give her more of the pain medication.

Poor kitty... this definitely means a trip to the vet -- hopefully tomorrow! 

As for me, I continue to be about the same as usual.

I did have three doctor's visits this past week: one was a six-month's check-in visit and the other two were follow-up visits. Nothing transpired during any of these visits that would indicate that there might be new problems and I am sure the routine blood work I went for afterwards will reveal nothing new.

Thankfully, this week I have only one doctor's appointment and one visit to the lab so there shouldn't be any problem in finding a time when I feel well enough to take Suki to see the vet. As I said, I will, hopefully, be able to get her in for a quick visit tomorrow.





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PENTECOST SUNDAY





"Icon -- Descent of the Spirit at Pentecost", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016 revised



Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always. “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Those who do not love me do not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”  John 14:15-16, 23b-26          



Sunday, 8 May 2016

Potentilla atrosanguinea

"Potentilla atrosanguinea -- Ruby Cinquefoil", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016



Potentilla atrosanguinea, commonly known as ruby cinquefoil or just plain cinquefoil, is a vigorous herbaceous perennial of the Rosaceae (rose) family that typically grows in spreading mounds. It is native to mountain slopes at lower elevations in the Himalayas. 

Each plant features a clump of long-stalked, basal leaves with each leaf being divided into 3-5 finger-like, dark green leaflets. Five to six-petalled, rose-like, ruby-red flowers bloom in spring (late April - June) in loose clusters which rise above the foliage to a height of 30”.

The genus name, Potentilla, comes from the Latin word potens meaning powerful (this is in reference to an old-time belief that the leaves of some Potentilla plants had potent medicinal curative powers). 

The species name comes from the Latin word atrosanguineus meaning dark blood red and refers to the flower color. 

The common name of cinquefoil comes from the Latin words qunique meaning five and folium meaning leaf in reference to the 5 leaflets found on the leaves of many plants in this genus. 

The leaves and flowers of typical cinquefoils, such as Potentilla atrosanguinea, look most similar to strawberries but usually have dry, inedible fruit (hence the name "barren strawberry" for some species).

In heraldry, the cinquefoil emblem or “potentilla” signified strength, power, honor and loyalty. Depiction of the flower appears as early as 1033 in the architecture of a church built in Burgundy, France. 




"Quercus virginiana -- Southern Live Oak" ("The Kissing Tree")
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016




As you can see in the caption above, this drawing has two names -- one identifies the tree, the other describes why there are human faces on the trunk of the tree!  You see, as I drew the tree, I was thinking about what a shady, and somewhat private, place this tree would provide -- the kind of place that might give lovers the idea of stopping for a kiss or two.  Then I thought that maybe, if enough lovers kissed under this tree for a great many years, the tree, itself, might incorporate those actions into its very nature.  So, in order to portray this, I drew, as part of the trunk, two lovers just about to kiss.  If you think this is just too fanciful, then please ignore the faces and just look at the tree!

Quercus virginiana (family Fagaceae), also known as the southern live oak, is an evergreen oak tree native to the southeastern United States. Though many other species are loosely called live oak, the southern live oak is particularly iconic of the Old South. It is often just called "live oak" within its native area, but the full name "southern live oak" helps to distinguish it from other live oaks, a general term for any evergreen species of oak. Typical southern live oaks are endemic from southeast Virginia to Florida, including the Florida Keys, and west to southeast Texas.



The Angel Oak on Johns Island, South Carolina. 
The man standing under the tree is 5 feet 11 inches 
(1.80 m) tall -- 
[By DannyBoy7783 (talk) - I (DannyBoy7783 (talk))
 created this work entirely by  myself., GFDL, 
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26451158 ].
Depending on the growing conditions, live oaks vary from the size of a big shrub to a large and spreading tree. The southern live oak, in particular, normally grows to have a height of approximately 60 feet and a limb spread of nearly 80 feet. Their lower limbs often sweep down until they are almost touching the ground before curving up again. The upper branches are usually thickly covered with Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides). The trees have deep tap-roots that anchor them when young and eventually develop into an extensive and widespread root system. This, along with its low center of gravity and other factors, makes the southern live oak extremely resistant to strong sustained winds, such as those seen in hurricanes.

I have a real fondness for these massive trees.  When I was young and we lived in Florida, they provided me with easy access to hiding places in their branches.  If you get up high enough -- some spot where the leaves and Spanish Moss are thick -- you can easily hide for hours.  As well, if you find a broad enough limb, you can even lean back and read the book you brought with you.  Of course, once you climb down and go home, you will undoubtedly be punished, but the time spent feeling safe will have made it all worthwhile. 





Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.
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SUKI AND SALLIE




"Suki -- thinking about food", a "watercolour"
by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015
Suki was having such a great week until Friday night and then...  but let me tell the story in sequence.

On Monday, when Joycelyn delivered Suki's food supply for the week, I discovered that it included cans with a label which read: "Chicken Chunks with Extra Gravy"!  Joycelyn and I had discussed getting this new style of wet cat food as it was made by the Fancy Feast people (Suki's favourite) and it claimed to contain more of what Suki likes the best -- gravy.

As soon as I opened the first can, I knew that this new type of cat food was going to be a real winner as far as Suki was concerned -- and I was right. It was a cat connoisseur's delight:  small chunks of chicken and lots of thick gravy.  Yum.  Suki gobbled up this new type of food and even licked her dish clean in an almost dog-like fashion -- something she had never done previously.

So, the week was progressing beautifully, as far as Suki was concerned, until Friday night -- Saturday morning actually -- when some fool set off our building's fire alarm!  There was no fire, as it turned out, but still the alarm has to be allowed to continue to ring until the fire engines arrived and the firefighters checked the building to make certain there was actually no fire.

At the time the alarm sounded, Suki and I were both sound asleep. I was in that deep sleep that so often occurs within the first hour or so after we fall asleep.  As for Suki, I can only assume she was sleeping soundly as well for when that incredibly, noisy alarm went off, Suki leapt off the bed, slammed into the wall and disappeared into the deep recesses of the bedroom closet!

Even after the alarm was finally turned off and a semblance of quietness fell once again over the building, Suki remained in the closet.  As I finally settled down and drifted off into an uneasy sleep, I did not hear any sounds that would indicate that Suki was moving from the closet to the bed.  She was, however, on the bed the next morning. I know this because she awakened me by trying to give my face a good "washing".  This is one of the tortuous ways used by Suki in order to get me out of bed so that I can feed her breakfast.

Even though I fed her the new, favourite food, Suki was in a grumpy mood all day Saturday and she doesn't seem to be much happier today.  As I said at the beginning of this narrative, Suki was having such a great week until Friday night....

Oh, in case this story has made any of you wonder what would happen to Suki and myself in case of a real fire since I cannot use the stairs, let me set your minds at rest.  Since my apartment is designated handicapped, the firefighters know that I will be waiting on my balcony (with Suki in her case) for them to rescue us!  

Speaking of fires, please, if you are able, contact the Canadian Red Cross [www.redcross.ca] and contribute to the massive effort to provide help for almost 100,000 Canadians who have, in effect, become refugees as a result of the Ft. McMurray wildfires in the Province of Alberta. Many of them only had minutes to flee before their homes were destroyed by this monster fire and are now living in shelters with nothing of their own but the clothes on their backs. 

As for me, I continue to be about the same -- just a bit busier than usual.  I had two medical appointments this past week and there are three more scheduled for the week ahead.  It must be "six-month check-up time" again as the last time I had this many appointments was December of 2015.

Happy Mothers' Day to all you mothers out there.  I really think this day should honour all those women (and the occasional man) who have spent many hours of their lives "mothering" others.  May we all have a happy day.     




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SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER [THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD]





"Icon -- The Ascension of Christ", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016 version





Today, rather than post the Sunday Gospel,  I am using a portion of the First Reading from the Mass for the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord as many parishes will be transferring the celebration of the Solemnity from Thursday to Sunday.



So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Pink Flowers

"Mandala -- Hibiscus Tree", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016



While the name of today's column is "Pink Flowers", both the Bleeding Heart flowers as well as the blossoms of the Hibiscus Tree can be found in a number of colours other than pink. However, I chose to draw the pink version in both cases.

Today's first featured drawing is in the form of a mandala with Hibiscus blossoms at the centre although placed in the background behind the tree. Hibiscus trees, as you are probably aware, are not very tall and the slender branches are usually intertwined.  There is some symbolism in this drawing, but I will leave it up to you, the reader, to discover this for yourself -- if you are interested.

As for the Hibiscus plant, it is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family (Malvaceae). It is a large family, containing several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. Member species are often noted for their showy flowers which are commonly known simply as hibiscus, or, less widely known, as rose mallow. 

The genus includes both annual and perennial herbaceous plants, as well as woody shrubs and small trees. Numerous varieties, cultivars, and hybrids are available with flower colours ranging from white through yellow and orange to scarlet and shades of pink. 

The name, Hibiscus, comes from the Greek, ἱβίσκος (hibískos) which means “mallow-type plants” (a mallow-type plant has a funnel-shaped flower with 5 separate petals and a distinctive column of stamens surrounding the pistil).

All Hibiscus flowers are edible and are often used in salads and other foods. As well, the flowers and various parts of the plant are used in folk medicine throughout East Asia (including the Pacific island nations), South America and the Caribbean for many conditions, including headache, irregularity, prostate disorders and menstrual problems. 

A final item of interest – as many of you are aware, the hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Tahitian and Hawaiian girls. What you may not know is that if the flower is worn behind the left ear, the woman is married or in a committed relationship; however, if the flower is worn behind the right ear, she is single or openly available for a relationship.   

Next, I want to show you a recent drawing I did of another pink flower -- the Bleeding Heart plant (see below).  






"Bleeding Heart -- Lamprocapnos spectabilis", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016




Lamprocapnos spectabilis (Bleeding Heart) is a species of flowering plant in the poppy family (Papaveraceae) and is native to Siberia, northern China, Korea and Japan. It is valued by gardeners and by florist for its heart-shaped pink and white flowers, borne in spring. The outer petals are bright fuchsia-pink, while the inner ones are white. As mentioned, the flowers strikingly resemble the conventional heart shape, with a droplet beneath.

The first specimens were introduced to England from Asia in the 1840s by the Scottish botanist and plant hunter Robert Fortune.

The genus name of Lamprocapnos is taken from the Greek “lampros” meaning shining and “kapnos” meaning smoke, while the species name of "spectabilis" is taken from the Latin and means spectacular.

As usual, I will look forward to receiving emails with your comments about today's drawings.  






Portions of the above were taken from various Internet sources.
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MY BOYS


Here are some new photos of "my boys" who are rapidly growing and changing.  It never ceases to amaze me how quickly a child goes from being a baby to being a little person all unique and complex!



Brothers





"I want them all!"





Sitting for a moment with the adults ... and listening ...







________________________________________



SUKI AND SALLIE



"Look deep into my eyes ... now, you will
obey my every wish ... feed me!"
Recently, while a dear friend was visiting, she took a photo of Suki which she then emailed to me.

When I saw the photo, with Suki's big eyes starring out, I immediately had the urge to subject it to my photo enhancing software.  You can see the result at the right.

Interestingly, I find the enhanced photo makes me feel just a bit uncomfortable.  In fact, I really don't like to look at it for more than a few seconds at a time as I have this strange fear that if I look at it for too long, I will end up hypnotized and more of a slave to Suki than I already am! That's not crazy thinking, is it? 

Sorry, I have got to stop for a moment.  I just realized, after looking at the photo while writing the above, that poor Suki hasn't had any of her favourite treats in at least an hour!  Poor thing!  I must feed her right away.

Just kidding... no photo is going to make me feel uncomfortable enough to give somewhat-overweight-Suki any extra food!

..........

As for me, I am doing much the same although my life has gotten just a bit busier since the need arose for me to make an appointment at my dental clinic.  I ended up with an appointment there last Wednesday and will be going back again this coming Tuesday.  As well, so I was informed, I will be needing two additional appointments in the weeks after that.  These are very sneaky people who seem to be intent on separating me from my savings!

By the way, Happy Easter to all my Orthodox friends.  As well, special greetings to any followers or friends who are celebrating International Workers' Day.  And, since I don't want to leave anyone out, Happy May Day to any of you who may observe the Celtic, Wiccan or Druid traditions associated with this day.  

As for me, May 1st became a special day many years ago after I became acquainted with a young woman who is now one of my dearest friends and who has a birthday on May 1st.  Happy Birthday, G.





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SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER





"Icon -- Waiting for The Advocate to Arrive", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, revised 2016






Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”        John 14:23-29


Sunday, 24 April 2016

Spirals and Diamonds

"Stylized Indian Lotus in Spirals", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016


As you may recall, I originally drew this stylized Indian Lotus blossom to use as part of the mandala I created using Datura blossoms (see posting for February 21st of this year).  Although I posted a drawing including these stylized Lotus blossoms, I eventually, through the good advice of an art therapist friend, ended up removing them and allowing the Datura to stand alone (see below, right).
"Mandala -- Datura Constellations",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016
  This meant that I now had a perfectly good Lotus blossom and no place to use it.  Thus, I decided to use it in a design of spiraling sections of a wheel containing copies of the original drawing in decreasing size with a large copy of the original at the centre which is what you see featured in the drawing at the beginning of this post.





"Stylized Indian Lotus in Blue Spirals", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016


After I had finished the drawing using various shades of green and white, I decided to find out what it would look like if I used the selection in my picture editing software that causes everything in the drawing to become various shades of blue.  I am not that pleased with the result; however, I do like the fact that the blue version more clearly shows the blossoms in circles of varying sizes as they are placed nearer and nearer to the perimeter of the rectangle.

Now, for the next drawing -- a drawing which would normally be placed in the "Suki and Sallie" section, but which I decided to include in this opening section as well (Not to worry, I will be using a variation of this drawing in the "Suki and Sallie" section below).

Now, let me explain the Suki drawing below.

I came across a delightful drawing (by a real artist) of a seated cat with various patterns drawn on the cat's body as well as the background.  I knew I wanted to try copying it as soon as I saw it; however, I also knew that I wanted to make my own version.  So, instead of all the bright colours used by the artist, I decided to use only black and shades of grey (not 50!) except for the colour of the eyes and nose.  

Before I began the drawing, I decided on the style of patterned background I wanted to use so that I could include that design when creating patterns in my drawing of Suki.  So, since the background was composed of diamond shapes, I ended up drawing a lot of diamond shapes on Suki's body as you can clearly see below.  After viewing the results, I decided to call the drawing "Suki of Diamonds"  -- sort of like saying Jack of Diamonds. Perhaps I could design a deck of cards using drawings of Suki. Do you think that would catch on?






"Suki of Diamonds", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016


As I mentioned above, I am using another version of this drawing in the "Suki and Sallie" section below.  Enjoy!




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BRADEN AND RÒNÀN  


Below right is a blurry image of Rònàn which I captured from a video recently sent to me by his mom.  He is excitedly watching as his brother, Braden, slowly rides a horse around the stable yard. I believe this video was taken the same day as the photo I posted last Sunday showing Braden on horseback.


Rònàn watching excitedly as
his brother, Braden, rides a
horse around the stable yard.


As many of you know, Rònàn was born with Cystic Fibrosis. While it is being well managed at present by his parents and doctors, the road ahead will not be an easy one for either Rònàn or his family. Sadly, this is true for all families with a CF child.  So, like many of these families, Rònàn's family is participating in fund raising efforts to aid in the process of finding treatments for CF that will provide these children with a better quality of life as well as longer lives -- or maybe even lead to a cure for CF.



So, if any of you are interested in helping this family (so very special to me) as well as all the other families of CF children, here is the link:  https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=3361467&langPref=en-CA&Referrer=%26Referrer%3ddirect%252fnone#&panel1-4

Thanks.



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SUKI AND SALLIE





"Suki of the Sepia Diamonds",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Suki was excited, as usual, to see Joycelyn arrive this past Monday morning.  Also, as usual, moments after she arrived, Suki looked at Joycelyn, looked toward the laser pointer on the table and then meowed loudly. What followed, however, was not at all usual or normal ... for when Joycelyn turned on the laser pointer, Suki simply remained lying on the floor!

While she was obviously very interested in the little red dot of light made by the laser pointer, she showed no inclination to move about or chase after it. The best Suki could accomplish was to try to capture the red dot with her paw while keeping her back legs and hips very still.  My immediate appraisal of the situation caused me to blurt out: "Oh, no, the arthritis pain must be worse than I thought."

As I have observed Suki's behaviour in the following days, I have noticed just how seldom she actually moves about or jumps up on anything these days.  I also noticed that when she does jump up onto the seat of one of her favourite chairs, she pauses for about 30 seconds as though she is getting her courage up in order to do something difficult and painful.

So, a few days ago, under the vet's direction, I increased the amount of pain medication I am giving Suki. Hopefully, the larger dosage will start to provide her with some real relief -- maybe enough relief so that when Joycelyn arrives tomorrow morning, Suki will, once again, madly chase that red dot up and down the hallway!

As for me, I continue along as usual.  I did see a specialist at the hospital this past week, but it was just to do an assessment of my overall treatment plan.  It was a helpful visit and I look forward to meeting with her again in two weeks.

As for this week, since there are no appointments other than my regularly scheduled visitors, it should be a quiet one.  I am actually looking forward to having a bit more time for doing art work. Lately, I seem to have been spending too much time answering emails and making comments on Facebook! Too many mornings lately, I suddenly find that it's time to feed Suki her lunch and I haven't even gotten around to my drawing software yet.  






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FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER







"Icon -- No Greater Love Than This", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, revised 2016



When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and God will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:31-33a, 34-35