Saturday, 30 May 2009

Just a brief visit


I can't write too much as I really can't see that well. Just wanted to let everyone know that the surgery went fine and the doctor was pleased with the results when I saw him yesterday. Right now I am just having to wait for things to improve in their own sweet time. Thanks to everyone for all your prayers and loving thoughts -- they made a big difference.

This drawing, by the way, is the Station known as "Jesus is nailed to the cross". I actually got this far on it on Wednesday night, Thursday morning as I really couldn't sleep that well while waiting for the surgery. We left here at 6:30 Thursday morning and although the surgery did not take that long, I was able to return home and sleep for the rest of the day.

As you may have noticed from one of the comments, it was recommended that I leave off the titles of each station and just go with the number. It is certainly easier for me. If you have a different opinion, let me know.

Well, it is back to bed for more rest and sleep. See you June 1st.

Peace be with you.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

A Quiet Day




Not only have I had a quiet day, I have also had a couple of naps. I am not sure why I am so tired, maybe it is the idea of my approaching surgery, but whatever it is it makes me feel like an old lady -- nodding away in my chair.

However, in between working on my icons, I did take the time to try drawing a new flower. This flower (above) is called "A Lenten Rose" -- its Latin name is Helleborus x orientalis. This is a perennial plant and comes in lots of different colours. I obviously prefer the reddish-pink




I decided to include in tonight's posting a photograph of me taken a couple of years ago at the wedding of a Godson. I believe this picture was taken when I was reading the intercessions during the wedding Mass. It reminds me of the best thing to do during a quiet day -- spend lots of time talking with the Lord.

Remember that I won't be posting on Thursday as that is the day I have my cataract surgery. I hope to be posting again by the 30th.

The surgery will be Thursday morning, the 28th. Please remember me in your prayers and thoughts. It certainly is not serious surgery, but I guess I am feeling a bit anxious about it because it is the first time that anyone has done anything to my eyes. I am trying to be at peace and place it all in God's hands, but am having a bit of difficulty -- which is one reason why I need your thoughts and prayers!

Peace be with you.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Working on the Stations


Well, I am continuing to work on the Stations of the Cross.

The drawing above "X -- Jesus is stripped of His garments" has reached the point where I will let it "rest" for a while before returning to work on it some more.

This next drawing,
of the Crucifixion, is one I did almost a year ago. I was working on this one and the one I used for the Rosary icons at the same time. I chose the other Crucifixion drawing for the Rosary book and decided to use this one for the Stations.



There is no room on this one to put the title but I think most people can figure out that this station is called "Jesus dies on the cross"!! I did put the number on it, however.

Actually, I need some input about the numbers and the titles. Do I need both? Do I need just the number or do I not need any title or number on the actual icon? Give me some opinions please.

I have also been very busy working on the Rosary book. My friend, Patricia, edited all the text for me and so I spent time this weekend making all the corrections she suggested.

Now the only thing left to do is to talk to my priest friend about the commentary that I have with the Joyful Mystery of the Visitation. I got a bit carried away in what I wanted to say and need to find out if I have inadvertently wandered into some theological minefield where I shouldn't go.

Once that is done, I will get a draft copy printed up and see if all looks as it should. If so, then I will be ready to start taking orders.

I hope everyone had a good weekend. Happy Memorial Day tomorrow to those readers in the U.S.

Peace be with you.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Is anybody out there?


Tonight's title refers to the fact that when I posted another old photo of me as a young lady on Wednesday, no one made a single comment. Never before have I posted a picture of myself when I was younger without getting at least one comment. So I began to wonder if there is anybody out there still reading my blog! I know some of you are very busy right now and a few are having to deal with illness, but surely, I thought, someone would have something to say. Oh, well ....

The drawing above is entitled "Bougainvillea Blossoms". These blossoms are so beautiful in design and colour -- pink, purple, white and gold. My drawing does not do them justice as I do not have the means on the computer to create that almost paper-like quality that the brightly coloured parts of the "blossoms" have. Hopefully, however, I have given an impression of the beauty of the blossoms.

Interestingly, this drawing was inspired by a photo from my Alabama friend, Hylott. Even though he is busily nursing his wife, Patsy, back to health after her surgery (thanks for all your prayers by the way), he had a bit of time to take a few photos and send them to me.


And here we have another photograph of me! This was taken on the day of my graduation from the University of Toronto, June, 1973. Considering that I started my university studies in 1959, I guess taking 15 years to graduate is not too bad! My studies were interrupted by such things as immigrating to Canada!

It will be interesting to see if there are any comments about this photo!

I am continuing to make progress on the Stations of the Cross. I have done more work on the one I showed you on Wednesday plus I am close to finishing the basic work on another -- Station X; Jesus is stripped of his garments. I hope to be able to show you the first draft of this one when I post this coming Sunday.

May peace be with you all.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

First Icon of New Project


Here is the draft stage of the first icon I have been working on -- it is actually the fourth Station of the Cross but it is the one I choose to start with.

The fourth station is "Jesus meets his Blessed Mother". Often this station is depicted showing a haggard Jesus and a deeply grieving Blessed Mother. Since I am drawing it in the tradition of icons; however, I cannot show that kind of emotion. Instead I decided to show what appears to be an almost gentle meeting in the midst of a situation that in reality would have been full of violence and suffering.

I feel that the love between Mother and Son is so deep that their personal suffering simply cannot be expressed in images (or words). Thus, I am trying to make a statement about this encounter by showing the very opposite. Does it work? That is up to you to tell me.

I still have more work to do on this icon so you have plenty of time to make comments!


This photograph is one I have been debating with myself about posting. Why? Well, because it shows how slender I was for so much of my life which is so unlike the way I look now! See how vain I can be. Anyway, I finally said "why not" and here it is.

The photograph was taken in the late 1960's at Centennial College in Scarborough (Toronto). The college had just been open for a couple of years and this party, as best I can recall, was held for the official opening of the college library. I had been hired the year before as a full-time college instructor in the Communications Department.

I am amazed when I look at my hair-do. I did have really long hair at the time, but the style for formal events was to have it put up in great big curls that were sprayed within an inch of their lives so they simply could not move. I remembering thinking it looked quite elegant. The problem with this style, obviously, was trying to brush it all out upon arriving at home very tired and wanting only to collapse into bed.

Well, it is time for me to get back to work on the icons.

Peace be with you.

Monday, 18 May 2009

I Forgot


I forgot completely about posting to my blog last night. I wasn't sick or anything, but I was working on my first icon of the Stations of the Cross and got so involved that I forgot until this morning! So, I will post this morning and change my schedule accordingly.

This first drawing pleases me. It is of Bluebell Lungwort -- I guess it was thought to help your lungs. I should check and see. Anyway, it is such a beautiful flower with really nice leaves. Most of all, it was fun to draw.



This next drawing is obviously some sort of water lily. I found the photo I worked from on a site within the Catholic Answers web site and the photographer did not name the flower. So, I am just calling it "Water Lily".

I just realized that I have been very lazy about these two drawings. I could easily have tried to find more information on them before posting; however, I was working on this icon, you see and well...

I really am hopeless when I get involved in drawing a new icon. I have to force myself to stop and go to bed. Fortunately, miz k.d. starts to remind me vocally that it is bedtime and won't quit until I show signs of getting ready -- like turning off the computer. She knows the sound Windows makes as it shuts down and she waits for it before she stops meowing, loudly. What a cat!!

Anyway, may peace be with you all. I will post again on Wednesday.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Cats


Cats have always been a part of my life. Dogs also, but not nearly as much. I have a fondness and love for all creatures and all of creation, but cats, to me, are special creations of God -- it even seems to me that I can understand what they are thinking, sometimes.

The quickly done sketch above is entitled "Ain't Love Grand". The Calico is obviously female since all Calico cats are female. The "orange" tabby is the male. I am unsure what they are saying to one another, but it appears to me as though they are being very friendly!

Now, let me show you a picture of me with miz k.d. This photograph says a lot about my relationship with my companion kitty.



This photo was taken back in 1999 when I was recovering from surgery. I had to spend a lot of time in bed in those days and miz k.d. was in the habit of sleeping on my chest which I watched TV or rested.

However, she did not like to have her photo taken. So I knew that as soon as she heard the whine of the flash boosting up, she would most likely decide to go elsewhere. As my friend picked up the camera, I tightened my hold on miz k.d. You can see how my hands are gripping her. We managed to get the photo taken before I let her go as I never want to restrain any animal unnecessarily.

As you know I have done a number of drawings of cats. Just as with horses, I remain far from satisfied in the results. Maybe this is how it will always be; nevertheless, I will continue to try to do drawings whenever I come across a photo I think I can work from.

Right now miz k.d. is sleeping on my bed, waiting for me to join her. I am already feeling sleepy so I don't think she will have to wait too much longer.

In the meantime, let me wish you all a peaceful night.



Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Gifts


Life is filled with so many gifts -- it is always just a matter of recognizing them as such.

The drawing above is, obviously, a type of orchid -- I am not sure which kind. Orchids always make me think of gifts as all the orchids I have ever had have been gifts. This drawing, for example, was able to be done because my friend, Walter, copied the photograph from a power point slide show and sent it to me so that I could draw it. This is why I have named the drawing "Walter's Orchids".

I have an interesting history with orchids actually. The very first orchid I was ever given was an orchid arm corsage at age 14. I was in the ninth grade at the time and had been invited to attend the prom with a 11th grade boy I had come to know. After clearing this with my parents and finding one of my older sister's old prom dresses which could be made to fit, I was all ready when he arrived carrying an orchid corsage. I was so thrilled as my mother helped me tie it to my arm.

In the photograph below you can see how I looked that night and you can also see the orchid on my left wrist. What a magical evening that was but, sadly, the relationship was short-lived. The sweet boy had a serious problem with bad breath and I had no idea how to deal with this so I started coming up with excuses until he gave up. As I scanned the photo into the computer recently, I looked at the back of the photograph and saw where he had written "To a wonderful girl -- I will never forget you." Ah, young love
.



Finally tonight, I want to show you a simple drawing I did of the Bunch berry plant. Obviously, I am calling the drawing "Bunch Berry". It is not an exciting drawing, but I really like the leaves of the Bunch Berry and the effect created with the different leaves for a background.




So ends another posting.

I did want to let you know that I have had an update from Hylott on his wife, Patsy's, condition and she seems to be recovering from her surgery and should be able to come home in a week or so. Thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts.

May peace be with you all.


Monday, 11 May 2009

A Special Drawing


The drawing above is entitled "Pale Pink Azaleas". What makes it so special is that it is one of the favourite flowers of my friend, Hylott's, wife. He sent the photographs that I worked from in a recent email in which he set out the schedule for his wife's serious surgery and recovery. He, of course, asked for prayers.

Today was the day for her surgery.

I was thinking of Hylott and his wife on the weekend as I worked on this drawing and have thought of them many times throughout today. So, please join me in praying for them -- and those of you who don't pray, please send lots of positive energy out for Patsy in Birmingham, Alabama.



This second drawing is one I showed you previously a couple of months ago. It is called "Looking toward Eternity".

I included it tonight because it sort of expresses how I am feeling. I have had so many prayer requests lately for people who are seriously ill or dying that I've become ever more conscious of death and life after death.

There is so much we don't understand about the ending of this life. I, like many others, believe that life continues after bodily death. I believe that I was called into being by a loving Creator God and that like all of creation, I will continue to exist forever in some form or another. I don't try to comprehend what life will be like after I die -- any ideas are so hopelessly inane -- for how can I even imagine what life would be like apart from time and matter.

Sorry for rambling on this way -- I realize that some of you reading this have very different viewpoints. I think it's just that time of my life when more and more of my family and friends are approaching death -- which means that I am also getting that much closer myself!!

Oh, well, whether I live or die, my message will always be peace.
So, may peace be with you all.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Running Late!


Here it is just past 9:30 p.m. and it suddenly dawned on me that tonight is the night for posting on my blog! I tell you, this old age is leaving me sort of addled-brained. As I frequently say, however, better late than never.

This first drawing tonight is of a very recognizable plant. I am calling the drawing "African Violets". See how clever I can be!

Anyway, this is one of those drawings that I enjoyed doing and was pleased with when I finished. I think that drawing it from the perspective of looking down on the plant was a good idea.

This next drawing will require some explanation and may well be a bit too "churchy" for some of you.



A friend sent me a link to a photograph supposedly taken in a perpetual adoration chapel of a monstrance that seemed to be emitting a very obvious and unusual light.

Let me explain. A perpetual adoration chapel is a chapel attached to a Catholic Church where the Blessed Sacrament is constantly exposed. The Blessed Sacrament, remember, is the bread left over from the Mass which Catholics believe to be the actual Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Jesus. Normally this Bread is kept locked in a Tabernacle and is used for taking the Blessed Sacrament to the sick and dying.

When a church has adoration either perpetually or for a special occasion, one of the larger pieces of bread is placed in something called a monstrance -- this is just a beautiful holder for the bread and contains a clear glass section so the bread can be seen by those at prayer.

In churches where there is perpetual adoration, someone has to be present and praying in the chapel at all times. People actually sign up to take turns for an hour each week. A husband, for example, might take an hour from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. while the children are asleep and when he gets home, his wife then goes for an hour. This requires real dedication -- especially in the winter.

There are any number of stories told of mystical experiences people have had while at prayer before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. Whether they are real or something brought on by lack of sleep is known to God alone. What I do know is that people's lives have been changed by these events.

Anyway, the reason for drawing this picture was more just to give myself the pleasure of doing so. I have a deep love for our Lord present with us under the humble appearance of ordinary bread. With this drawing I can picture myself kneeling in this chapel and seeing the "light of Christ" -- which is the name I gave to this drawing.

Whew! That was a long explanation.

Well, it is almost bedtime. May we all have a peaceful night and a glorious Sunday.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

A Busy Evening


I have got a young couple arriving soon for there first full class with me so I don't have much time for posting -- nor do I have much that is worth posting in the way of drawings.

There are two flower sketches. The first one (above) is called Amarylla which is a close cousin of the Amaryllis plant. I used a photo of flowers in Hylott's flower garden in Alabama. It really did not work out too well so I think I will try drawing it again.



This second flower is simply called, by me, a Purple Unknown. I came across the photo of it in a book which did not give any name. I would like to see a good photo of the plant as it looks as though it would be quite lovely; however, there was just a thumbnail size photo to work from.

Once again, I am not really satisfied with this sketch. If anyone out there has any idea what the name of this flower is, then I could find a decent photo to work from. Until then, a Purple Unknown it will be.

What I have been doing is setting up all the drafts for the 14 icons I need to do of the Stations of the Cross. I think I am just about ready to start working on the first one. You will, of course, be informed of how it is going -- and if it works out OK, you will soon start to see the first drafts of the icons.

Well, it is almost time for them to arrive.
Peace be with you all.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo


Just in case any of you celebrate Cinco de Mayo, let me wish you a happy one!

I am very tired tonight so this will be rather brief.

The drawing above is called "The Rhododendron Blossom" and was drawn using a photo that Hylott sent me.




This next drawing was based on a photo I found on the Internet. It is called "High-Bush Cranberries". The berries are just in the process of turning red.



And, finally, I have a new drawing of miz k.d. I am calling it "Another drawing of miz k.d." Very original title, don't you think? Actually, in her subdued way, she is laughing and dancing and calling out "A merry Cinco de Mayo to all, and to all a good night"!

I think I had better go to bed. Peace be with you all.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

The Stations of the Cross

Also known as The Way of the Cross, these 14 "stations" were developed centuries ago once Christians were no longer able to go to Jerusalem and actually walk the real way of the cross from the site of Pilate's courtyard to the tomb where Christ was buried.

In the early centuries of the Church many pilgrims made their way to Jerusalem and did this walk and felt they gained great merit for doing so. Eventually, Jerusalem was no longer accessible to Christians so a "make do" pilgrimage was devised with plaques/paintings placed on the walls of a church or placed along a walkway outside. You still had to walk the way of the cross but the distance was considerably shorter than the real thing.

As you know, I have been thinking about creating icons for these stations -- usually the picture or plaque is in the style of Italian religious art. The drawing at the beginning of tonight's posting is really a "draft" icon (if such a thing is possible) for me to see what it is like to adapt the style of work I already have done with the images required for the Stations.

With a bit more work, this icon could be used for the 14th station where Christ is placed in the tomb. I have been looking carefully at different drawings of the Stations and am becoming more convinced that it might be possible for me to draw them. The resulting icons and the comments I write about them could also be the subject matter for another book.

Speaking of the book, I think my friend will be returning the text pages soon with her editing notes and as I mentioned, once I have made her corrections, I will pass the pages along to one of my priest friends to make certain that I haven't said anything theologically incorrect. Once that is done, I will have a draft copy printed up and make certain that everything looks the way I want it to. After that, it will be for sale -- hopefully by the end of June. That will be very exciting for me.

If you have any views on all this, please let me know.

Peace be with you.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Feast of St. Joseph the Worker


The Church celebrates the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker today. I guess this is the Church's way of co-opting the communist labour movements of the past as well as taking our ancestors beyond the pre-Christian, fertility Maypole celebrations. I appreciate this feast day (just as I do March 19th which is St. Joseph's major feast day) as I have a great devotion to St. Joseph who took care of my two favourite people: Jesus and Mary!

Now to the drawings -- this first drawing is of the flowers of the Northern Dwarf Raspberry. This plant and the the plant in the drawing below are western Canadian varieties found in the Rocky Mountain area.



This second plant, hanging bravely to the rocks, is known as the Alpine Bladder Pod aka Japanese Lantern. I am always amazed at how tenacious some plants are and those seeds find the smallest crack in the rocks and take up residence.


I have a new couple coming tonight for marriage preparation so I will keep this short and write more next time.

Peace be with you.