Monday, 29 September 2008

Feast of the Archangels

Today is the Feast of the Archangels.

The three drawings I am posting are all ones you have seen at least once during the past year, but I am including them again on this special day.


The first one is of the Archangel Michael who is usually counted as chief among the Archangels. In fact, this feast used to be called the Feast of St. Michael and the Archangels.

St. Michael is the angel often depicted slaying the dragon (the dragon represents Satan). There are also pictures and icons of St. George slaying the dragon. You can tell the difference since St. George does not have wings!


This second drawing is of the Archangel Gabriel.

He is best known for his role in the Annunciation -- announcing to Mary that she was to be the Mother of the Messiah. He also appeared to Zechariah, the husband of Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, foretelling the birth of St. John the Baptist.




This third drawing is of the Archangel Raphael.

He is less well known unless you have read the Old Testament book of Tobit in which he plays a major role. Not only does he get Tobit's son, Tobias, safely married, but also brings healing to Tobit. If you have never read the Book of Tobit, you really should as it is a wonderful story.


There is another Archangel whose name I cannot recall at the moment. He is really not well known at all. Nor have I ever seen a drawing of him.

Anyway, Happy Feast Day to you all.









Saturday, 27 September 2008

Children in Art

Children -- how precious they are and how sad it is when they are harmed by life and turned into unhappy, destructive people.

Our Lord called them precious in the sight of God. This icon depicts the scene from the gospels where Jesus calls the children to come to Him.

The disciples had been trying to keep the children from crowding around Jesus -- I guess they thought of them as a nuisance and a bother -- but when Jesus realized it, he stopped them. Then He said: Let the children come to me for such as these are the Kingdom of God.

In another place he said that whoever harms a child that it would be better if they had never been born or once born, that a big stone should be tied around their necks and they should be thrown into the sea! Pretty strong language.

The word at the top of the icon is the Greek word for "blessing" and I have called this icon "the Blessing of the Children".

I came across the work of an artist recently by the name of Nancy Noel -- she has a web site at www.nanoel.com -- the painting above is one of hers.

Evidently she did a whole series of paintings of Amish children. The one, entitled "Sarah" was the first of the series.

This painting has so much to say about God and His creation and the fragile nature of the young of all species.



Peace be with you all.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Calla Lilies and Beetles

Like many people, I love the look of Calla Lilies.

These especially attracted me because of their colour.


I named the drawing "Calla Burgundy" even though they are more deep red than burgundy.





I spent a lot of time drawing the centre of this simple flower just so that the guest of honour would have a nicely drawn area to sit!


The guest of honour is a Checkered Beetle. I wondered about the name and decided that maybe it was called that because it vaguely resembles a black and red checker board!

This has been a very tiring day for me as a friend was helping me clean out my closets. It is truly amazing how much junk we accumulate and then totally forget about. The cleaning process was like an archaeological dig!

So it is early to bed for me.

May peace be with you all.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The Meeting/Presentation

Tonight's icon has two titles: The Orthodox tend to refer to this Bible scene as The Meeting while the Catholics and Protestants usually call it The Presentation in the Temple.

The scriptural passage that tells about this event has five main characters plus two doves.

The baby, Jesus, is taken up to the temple on the 8th day after His birth to be presented to God and made a member of the People of the Covenant. Of course, I realize that Jesus in this icon does not look like a baby, but then that is the tradition in icon painting. Except for the manger scenes, Christ always looks like a little man. I can talk about that in more detail some time.

The offering made by poor people at the time of this presentation was two doves (who were not going to be set free, unfortunately) and you see that St. Joseph is carrying these.

The Blessed Mother has just handed the priest, Simeon, her baby and can barely stand to let him out of her arms.

Simeon takes the baby with great reverence for he immediately recognizes that this is the Messiah. He has been promised by God that he would not die until he has seen the Messiah. As he cradles the holy child in his arms, he begins a song of praise to God. The opening line is "Lord, now let your servant depart in peace for my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people."

The woman standing behind Simeon is named Anna. She was widowed when she was a young woman and has spent all the many years of her life praying in the temple in Jerusalem. She, too, recognizes the child as the promised Messiah and tells everyone who will listen.

All this takes place in the same temple in Jerusalem, a short distance from Bethlehem where Jesus was born, that will be the scene of many of the major events of the life of Christ. In a sense, the stage has been set.


I am still not feeling that great -- some migraines just refuse to leave! So I will save the other comments I would like to make until some other time.


May peace be with you all.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

My Garden Grows

Even though my title is about "my garden", these drawings are not of garden flowers at all -- rather, they are of wild flowers.


Actually, my title really refers to my ever-growing "garden" of drawings of flowers.


This first one is called "Virginian Spring Beauties". It is truly a beautiful wildflower and sometimes looks more pink than the white that I have drawn.


The ladybugs in this drawing are busily filling their ecological niche!


As I have mentioned previously, I do like ladybugs and whenever I saw them as a child, I always took time to tell them: "Ladybug, ladybug fly away home; your house is on fire and your children are alone."





This next drawing of of the common "Hedge Bindweed".

It has a pretty flower but it can be a nuisance when it grows where it isn't wanted! I can remember my mother trying with some difficulty to untangle them from our hedge!

I think that is all I will say tonight. I haven't been feeling well today -- hopefully I will be feeling better by Tuesday when I will be posting again.

Peace be with you all.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Holy Families

Tonight's icons are about two holy families.

The first one is of the family of our Blessed Mother Mary.

Tradition has it that her parents were named Joachim and Anna and that she was an only child born when they were reaching middle age.

The story goes that their daughter, being an extremely intelligent child, was encouraged to study and that her education even included the Torah and other other Hebrew scriptures.

This icon expresses the closeness of that particular holy family. The word at the top of the icon is "family" in Greek. I had no way to find an equivalent in Greek for the names Anna and Joachim so I just wrote them in English using the Greek alphabet! The letters below the image of Blessed Mary are the usual Greek letters abbreviating her name.


This second icon shows a portion of the traditional Orthodox icon of the birth of Christ Jesus.

This depiction of Mother and Child is usually the largest section of the icon which also includes St. Joseph sitting dejectedly by himself, helpers washing a newborn baby, various angels and shepherds.


This section of an icon is sometimes used by itself on Christmas cards -- which is why I drew it this way. The Greek word at the top is supposed to be a word for birth as in birthday -- if I read the dictionary correctly, that is.



Leaving "holy families" behind, I wanted to show you this icon of the Resurrection which I showed you originally back on the 18th of August.

Why? Well, because some helpful person by the name of Anonymous sent me a comment this week, pointing out to me that I had made a mistake in the sub-title of this icon.


I had listed the subtitle as the "winnowing of Hell" when, in fact, it should have been the "harrowing of Hell".

When I got the comment, I immediately changed the wording in the posting for August 18 and also corrected the Greek, replacing "winnowing" with "harrowing".

I am not sure why Anonymous did not want to sign his or her name, but I am very grateful that they took the time to correct me. I always want to be corrected when I have made a mistake -- especially one as serious as this one. So I want to say "thanks" to Anonymous.


That's enough rambling for tonight. May peace be with you all.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Sweet Pea and Me

One of my favourite flowers is the lowly Sweet Pea.

For some reason, this flower has been a part of my history. Wherever I lived in the south, it was always growing somewhere close by. These days I never see it growing and I miss the flowers and the sweet scent.


This first drawing (above) is my playful attempt at drawing the flowers on a single branch as best I remembered what they looked like. But now let me tell you a bit about the story of me and Sweet Pea...

Here is photo taken of me with my mother and one of my sisters. We are standing in our back yard in Tennessee in front of a trellis covered with Sweet Pea flowers. Behind this trellis was a large field where I played with my friends. The flowers often played a part in our games (much to my mother's disgust). We would twist them together into our princess crowns or use them for food at our pretend tea party!

When I was older, maybe 12 or 13, I was staying with a family friend so that I could attend an evening event at my school. This wonderful woman, named Mrs. Williams, decided I needed a corsage and went out into her backyard where she cut some Sweet Pea flowers and wove them together into my very first corsage. It made me feel so beautiful!


I did this next drawing of a puppy dog because the photo reminded me of a dog I knew named Sweet Pea. She looked a lot like this one and was one of the sweetest dogs I have ever known.


All my experiences with this flower or things named for this flower have been sweet. I guess you would have to say that it truly is one of my favourites.


Peace be with you.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Thinking Christmas

I realize that it is only the middle of September; however, I am already thinking about Christmas -- particularly, Christmas and holiday greeting cards!

So, I have been working on new icons for Christmas.


The first one is the Adoration of the Magi (also known as the three kings) who are said to have followed a particular star that they believed foretold the birth of a great king.


As most of you know, the story goes that three astronomers of the time (they were actually a mix of ancient astronomers/astrologers), probably living in the area that is near present-day Iran, decided to follow the star and see the new-born king. They carefully observed the night sky and followed the star all the way to ancient Palestine where they found the child and his mother and adored him, giving him precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.


The second Christmas icon I have done is the Adoration of the Shepherds.


As the story goes, shepherds were watching their flocks in the fields outside the town of Bethlehem -- the place where the prophecy said the Messiah was to be born. Suddenly, angels appeared in the sky above them shouting and singing out the news that a Saviour had been born in the City of David, Bethlehem.


The shepherds rushed to see if what the angels had told them was true. They found Mary, Joseph and the baby resting in a stable with the animals as the local inns were all filled. Since there was no bed for the baby, they had wrapped him in clean cloth and laid him on fresh straw in a manger (a feeding trough for the animals).

When the shepherds saw the baby, they knelt in adoration.


The old Greek word for adoration is
which actually means "worship".

I have also done a non-religious drawing for use as a holiday greeting card, but I will wait and show that one to you next time.

May peace be with you.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Further Flowers


These days, whenever I take a break from drawing icons, it seems that I usually end up drawing flowers.


This first drawing is entitled: "Oxalis Adenophylla" which is, of course, the proper name for the plant. It's a native of the Andes and I have no idea what it is called in local gardens. If you know, please write me.



This second drawing is just a simple sketch of some "Forget-Me-Nots".

I am very fond of this sweet, little plant and I feel great pleasure whenever I see them growing.


I have forgotten the name of the plant that is growing beside it. All I know is that it has long, green leaves with a sharp point on the end of each leaf.


As you can see, I am not a real gardener.


I love to draw flowers because they are so beautiful; however, I rarely take the time to learn the names of each one. The only plants and flowers that I have ever tried hard to learn to quickly identify and name are the wild ones.


Back in the late 1960's and early 1970's, I spent many summers roaming around Renfrew County. I identified and photographed a great many wildflowers during those years. I also learned to identify a great many edible wild plants and flowers; learning how to collect and cook them.


I fixed many a meal of wild leaves and seed pods served with freshly baked bread (I actually did my week's baking in a wood stove) followed by wild berries of one sort or another for dessert!


Those were some of the best meals I have ever eaten -- if I do say so myself.


It is always fun to reminisce. Thanks for joining me.



Peace be with you all.



Thursday, 11 September 2008

Remembering

Here we are -- seven years later -- remembering the tragedy of 9/11 and all the killing and dying that has happened since because of that day.

Above is a icon that I have just recently finished depicting the Guardian Angel.


This image represents that special angel we are each assigned at the moment of conception. That angel that is with us every moment of every day of our lives -- whether we live to be 110 or die young at the hands of terrorists.

Our guardian angels, I believe, are not primarily assigned the duty of protecting us from the suffering which is part of all human existence; rather, their main task is to help us make it home to Heaven.



This second icon is not that new but it is one that I don't believe I have ever shown you before.

It is entitled "Holy Tenderness" and is quite similar to one I showed you back in early August in which I used the same colour scheme.


This is another in the series of tenderness/sweet kissing icons. I have now drawn about half a dozen of these and will probably draw even more in the days to come.

This design showing Our Lady holding the Christ Child so protectively gives me a feeling of safety.


These icons seemed to me to be the right ones to show on this special day of remembering.


May we all someday know true peace throughout the whole earth.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Flowers Again

As you can see, I have been drawing flowers again.

You may recognize this first one as the lowly "Nasturtium" with a bit of a creeper on one side. I have always loved the leaves of this plant as well as the bright orange colour of the flower petals when the sun hits them.



This second drawing is very interesting to me.

It is my rendition of the "Borage" plant. It is a strange looking creature with all its hairy-ness.

It has also been used throughout the centuries for medicinal purposes. If you are interested, take a look on the Internet at all the different things it is supposedly good for. I became acquainted with it back in the days when I was suffering from hot flashes!


I don't have much to say tonight as I am very sleepy. I shouldn't be as I got a decent amount of sleep last night -- but I am.

It may be the much cooler weather that has suddenly appeared or it could be all the rain we have been having for the past two days. Whatever it is, I think it is going to be an early night!


Peace be with you.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Experimentation

In the recent past, I have shown you an icon made from two other icons. In that situation I was able to make the two icons fit together almost seamlessly.

Here I have a new icon made from two other icons but the two do not fit together seamlessly. In fact, it is obvious that the icon is composed of separate drawings.

This newest icon, by the way is entitled "Holy Protector of the Church" and shows Our Lady with her mantle of protection being held over the heads of Saints Peter and Paul who are holding an image of the Church in their hands.

This is experimentation on my part and I am not sure how effective it is. In order to allow you to see how it was done, I will show you the two new icons that this newest icon was composed from.

First is the drawing of Our Lady.

This icon is entitled "Our Lady, Protector". This image is usually seen as part of a much larger icon which shows the Virgin Mary with her mantle surrounded by many different aspects of the Church -- including pictures representing such things as the major feast days, etc.






This second aspect of my combined icon is the drawing of Saints Peter and Paul and is simply entitled "Ss. Peter and Paul"

They are holding a model building between them which, of course, represents the Church. In the centre of the opening to this structure is a baptismal font -- baptism being the sacramental entrance into the life of the Church.

If you have an opinion about my effort to combine these icons -- positive or negative -- I would really appreciate hearing from you. Just send me an email. Thanks.


Peace be with you.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Playing

As you can see, I have been playing again!

Not only have I been drawing pictures of children -- these are pictures of children playing.

This first one is called "Have a Cookie". I stole the toys in the drawing from my computer files.

After I drew the chocolate chip cookies, I found myself craving one! I settled for a piece of dark chocolate instead. Yum.

This second drawing is of my nephew's little boy, Daniel.

They took a photo of him at the beach in Florida last year and put it on their calendar for 2008. They make the nicest calendars each year for family Christmas gifts.


Here he is very intently looking for treasures in the shallow water.



This final drawing is entitled: "Piggy-Back Ride".

So often when I am at the market on Saturday I see young families coming to shop. A surprising number of them have two,three or more young children. When that is the case, there usually seems to be one of them that gets to ride on daddy's shoulders.

I love to watch their faces. They are so excited about being up so high and they often laugh with delight when I wave at them.

I rejoice that they appear to be experiencing a happy childhood. What a wonderful gift.

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Visitations

The first visitation I want to talk about tonight is the traditional one: the visitation of Blessed Mary to her cousin, Elizabeth. When Mary's greeting sounded in the ears of Elizabeth, the baby is Elizabeth's womb leapt for joy (this was the future St. John the Baptist).

I started working on this icon soon after finishing the one of the Annunciation which I showed you a week or so ago.


Anyway, this icon commemorates a very special visit.

The following three images are photos taken when I made a visit to St. Edith Stein Catholic Church for the blessing of the icons.


This first photo shows me sitting with two very dear friends during the Holy Mass preceding the blessing of the icons.

This second photo shows the beautiful setting in which the icons were placed during the Mass in preparation for the blessing.


This third photo shows me standing in front of the altar at the end of the Mass after the blessing of the icons.
My dear friend, Eugene, kindly brought me these and several other photographs today as mementos of the event. The photos were taken by his good friend, Glen.
Seeing the pictures reminds of me what a special event that was and how happy I am that the icons are now available to the parish to help them in their devotional life.
Peace be with you all.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Perspective

It is difficult for me to describe the pleasure that drawings with obvious perspective and sharp reflections give me.

I do not know why this is -- is probably says something about the type of person I am.

Be that as it may, I am very pleased with this recent drawing entitled: "Les Quatre Vents Pigeonnier" .

The moment I saw the photograph, I knew I just had to try to draw it. Once I started drawing, I really did not want to stop and finally had to force myself to turn off the computer and go to bed.

I remember years ago when I would be working on an oil painting, I would suddenly feel a bit tired and only then notice that it was 5 a.m. and almost time to start getting ready for work!


Of course, I was younger then and could handle going without a night's sleep occasionally -- not now!

Anyway, I finished the above drawing in two days by doing almost nothing else except working on it.

It pleases me so much that I find myself looking at it every day. That is not to say that it is a great drawing -- it is not; however, I just love to look at the "neatness" of the major image set among all that green.

Hope you like it too.


Peace be with you.