Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: Giving thanks

this is the morning sun reflecting on my favourite painting (click on the pic to see more detail - sorry it's a bit blurry!)
it hangs in our hallway and reminds us all, as we go about our day, to give thanks to god Dei gratia.
it was painted by local artist caroline jordan for my 40th birthday, back in 2004 - my dad asked what i wanted, and i told him :o)
it's covered with favourite quotes - there's T.S. Eliot, Mary Oliver, John Keats (and lots of Latin!) - and pulls together images important to me - a black madonna and a white child, a Bloomsbury jug, the vibrant colours of Africa - caroline and i spent a day together talking and talking, reading favourite poems, and left it all up to her Muse...
i will always treasure the painting and all it represents, but i'll also always treasure the morning sun and what it means - another day gifted for love and laughter, colour and poetry, the love of family and friends...

HAPPY THANKSGIVING for tomorrow to all my US friends and relatives

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Much stronger

my painting from yesterday's art class :o)

the big news this week is i got my foot splint on monday - and it fits perfectly! i wear it for about an hour a day, but it's already feeling quite comfortable. it's improved my walking such a lot, mainly because my ankle feels so supported i can confidently put all my weight on it - london 2012 here i come!!!
physio was on friday and i had a mega session - my physio had a student with her, so he worked on my foot and she worked on my arm! they rounded off the hour with me walking across the gym ON MY OWN - no stick, no nothing!! the only way i could manage with all that frightening space around me was to focus on the tiles directly in front of me... but i did it! that's what the foot splint's given me - confidence - hooray!!!
friday evening, nick and i went to see quantum of solace (thanks to dad staying for the weekend!). i managed to walk from the car - holding nick's arm - to the cinema, then up 10 steps to the auditorium!! sadly the film wasn't all that great - a poor sequel to casino royale - but it was a nice evening out, and no wheelchair!!!
yesterday was art class - no problem with the stairs now!!
i learnt several more techniques - this time i used a water-soluble pen for the drawing. i didn't look at the paper for most of it, but i did place the pen for each leaf. then i applied water to just catch the edges of the lines to apply a thin wash to the background (you can see more detail by clicking on the image to enlarge it). to colour the leaves, i used carte d'arche marvellous water-soluble wax crayons (teesha's favourites!), and water-soluble pencils. christine showed me how to use a light-blue pencil under the green wax crayon, then apply water to blend them. this creates highlights - something i've never been confident with...
i'm pleased with the results - and it's rather a seasonal drawing - especially as much of britain is feeling winds, and some snow, from the arctic this weekend!! BRRRR!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Still Life

they're not the best photos, but these are my paintings from art class yesterday...
(i've just discovered that if you click on the photos, you can see them close up - much better!! you can really see the meandering lines...)
first i drew the flowers with pen without looking at the paper - this is such a freeing technique! - you simply move the pen in accordance with what your eye is focussing on at any given moment... it's purely a right-brain activity looking at shapes and their relationship to each other without trying to draw 'a flower in a vase'.
then i painted with watercolours - trying to match the colours i was seeing, but again, focussing on a much freer style, painting a suggestion of what i was seeing rather than a exact replica...
i'm really enjoying these techniques! i don't get so hung up on trying to be exact - my downfall re. anything artistic - but it is a very good trait for a proofreader!! by not looking at the paper while i'm drawing, i draw much more freely. then when i come to paint this free drawing, my painting is much freer too!
i'm simply amazed at what my left hand is accomplishing!! obviously, i really miss the use of my right hand, but there is such freedom in using your non-dominant hand - why not try it sometime?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


You did it! He did it!

The world thanks you :o)

God bless America indeed!!

and yes, i did stay up all night :o) it was so interesting, exciting and energizing and the BBC coverage was superb!!

picture from the guardian, one of my favourite newspapers following the election, and michael tomasky has been one of my favouritest commentators

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

US Election Day: Candle of Hope

for all my american friends and relations on this most historic day!
hoping you all get out and vote - we're counting on you!!

Candle of Hope

Four candles slowly burned
The ambience was so soft one could almost hear them talking.
The first candle said,
"I am Peace"
"The world is so full of anger and fighting that nobody can keep me alight."
Then the candle of peace went out completely.
Then the second candle said,
"I am Faith"
"I am no longer indispensable
It does not make any sense that I stay awake one moment longer."
Then a breeze softly blew out Faith's flame.
Sadly the third candle began to speak,
"I am Love"
"People don't understand my importance,
So they put me aside.
They even forget to love nearest to them.
I don't have the strength to stay alight."
And waiting no longer the candle of Love went out.
A child entered the room where the candles were
And saw that three of the candles were unlit.
"Why are you not burning?" said the child,
"You are supposed to stay alight until the very end."
And the child was frightened and began to cry.
Then the fourth candle said,
"Don't be afraid. I am Hope,
And while I am burning we can light the other candles."
With shining eyes the child took the candle of Hope
And lit the other candles.
The flame of Hope should never go out from your life,

And with Hope each of us can have a life
With Peace, Faith and Love.

(poem from Poetic Expressions, even more poignant since obama's beloved grandma died of cancer yesterday)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Samhain

here's esther's pumpkin she carved on friday :o)
she went 'trick or treating' with a friend, which she enjoyed, but we didn't have too many visitors here...
i'm not particularly keen on the modern spin on halloween, so yesterday i tried to explain to the kids about samhain - the original festival to mark the 'summer's end', the time when the veil between our world and the spirit world is especially thin, the time when we remember our dead loved ones and tell stories to keep their memory alive, the time marking the beginning of the darkest part of the year...
a dear friend sent me a lovely gift for samhain which gave me the perfect lead in :o) and i'll try and answer the questions she left on my last post when i come back from lunch...
* Where did you grow up? Tell me a happy childhood memory.
i was born in singapore, and came to england when i was 3. sadly i have no memories of my time there, but my parents have albums full of great pics!
most of my happiest memories involve my grandad - my dad's dad - shelling peas for sunday lunch, playing cricket or badminton in his back garden, placing penny bets as we watched the saturday afternoon horse racing, learning to play chess and gin rummy on rainy days...
* What is your day job?
getting better and stronger - and doing my daily physio exercises
* What is your favourite form of artistic expression?
to watch or do? if both - every kind! - dance, theatre, films, music, sculpture, painting, drawing, writing, poetry, storytelling...
* What is a goal that you hope to achieve in the next year?
to keep getting physically stronger and walk on my own to the local corner shop - and back!!!
* Who do you think should win Strictly Come Dancing & why?
of the likely finalists, i hope tom wins and austin doesn't - i just can't warm to him at all! at the moment jodie's my favourite - she improved soooo much, and ian's always been my favourite professional dancer, but i can't really see her going all the way...
there you go, poppy! i hope you enjoy my answers :o)