Saturday, October 17, 2009

Back To The Old Drawing Board

This past April, a friend posted an enchanting photo of her two-year-old daughter (all dressed up for Easter) on her Facebook page. Right away, although I was still working on "Thoughtful Boy," I asked permission to do a portrait based on the photo.

Of course, once I completed "Thoughtful Boy," I really wanted a rest from any serious art projects. Then I guess I got interested in using Paint Shop Pro's photo editing tools, and I let that focus satisfy my creative side. In July, I started writing parables for my church's newsletter, resurrecting a fictional Church Mouse character that had haunted the newsletter of my church in California between 1978 and 1984. Again, I was expressing creativity in ways other than digital art.

But I should be honest. Certain details of the portrait project intimidated me. When I'd think about it, I'd simply find other things to do on the computer. Blogging about Boston. Facebook. Games like Bejeweled and Bookworm. I wanted to do the drawing, and yet the challenge made me reluctant.

Earlier this week, John and I had a Boston adventure. As we drove through the Common, we met an artist doing fanciful painting of Boston sights. John took photos for me to post on this blog, and maybe I'll manage to do so at some point. But as I thought about the conversation with the artist (about his media and his composition techniques), I regretted having moved away from my own art.

I reminded myself that the original purpose of Joyfully Christian Lady's Museum was to display my art. Somewhere between April and October, I've gotten lost in the American History Gallery and the Literary Gallery. It's time to revive my Art Gallery, but not by sharing the work of my fellow artists (although occasionally showcasing their work is fin). No, it's time--actually past time--for me to draw again!

So I went back to my friend's photo of her daughter Tuesday, and started blocking out the drawing. Here's what I've done in that five days:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Boston, A Bit Differently

Tuesday John and I belatedly celebrated my birthday. As anyone who knows us would expect, we went to Boston. But when we reached Fanueil Hall, we didn't eat at Quincy Market as is our usual custom. We didn't ignore it, however; we caught a view of the Custom House tower rising behind South Market, and took a photo:

I'd been interested in eating at Bertucci's, which is diagonally across from South Market. The pizza we had doesn't seem to be on their online menu, but it had zucchini, mushroom, onion and tomato (no tomato sauce). I guess cooking in those famous brick ovens takes longer, but we distracted ourselves with unlimited salad a warm, freshly-baked rolls. I'd eat there again, but not on a day when I wanted the 3:43 Commuter Rail back home.

After lunch we went to Commonwealth Books in Boston, and I scored big time! To understand the significance of my purchase, you need to let me take you back 33 years to my Junior year in college. Back then, for my Victorian Literature class (my favorite class in college), I wro
te a paper comparing the love letters between Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning to selected sonnets from Elizabeth's book, Love Songs of the Portuguese. I hated returning that book of letters! Over the years, I've thought of it longingly, but didn't remember its title.

So, Tuesday at the bookstore I asked for a biography of Robert Browning, and the guy showed me a two-volume set if the complete letters between Robert and Elizabeth. Hey...even better than the book I'd used in college, don't you think? At first he wanted $60, but when I said I couldn't afford that, he offered it to me for $45.

Once he reduced the price, I realized how much I'd regret passing up such a purchase, so I said yes. Once I made the decision, I've been very happy! I'm looking forward to reading them this winter...this time without the pressure of having to write a term paper.

Our Boston Adventure Tuesday wasn't our usual type of adventure, but it was most satisfactory. Then again, how many of our adventures are usual?

Friday, October 2, 2009

My Superman

John turned 60 on September 5. The next day our church helped me give him a big party, with a Superman theme. When he got Polio as a six-year-old, he couldn't hold regular books, so a hospital volunteer taught him to read with Superman comic books. Since that time, Superman has been of his favorite fictional characters.

When he was hospitalized as a six-year-old, his prognosis was grim. The Lord mercifully pulled him through. Despite missing three years of school (and having a home-tutor only three days a week that third year), when he finally returned to school, the teacher placed him in an advanced reading class!

At age 13, he had a rod put in his back to halt the scoliosis. He exercised on crutches for many years, till his doctor realized that the exhaustion was greater than the benefits.

In the 70's, he was hospitalized several times, and had a few close calls with death. He cast himself on the Lord, knowing physical death only meant being face-to-face with Jesus. (Not bad.) When he was about 40, he suffered a stroke, which further weakened his body.

John has always refused to complain, although no one could possibly blame him if he succumbed to that temptation. In the eleven years that I've known him, his example of thankfulness and trust in the Lord have given me a model for rejecting self-pity.

I didn't have a Superman theme at his party simply because he loves Superman. To be sure, that was a factor. But John has beaten the odds by turning 60. In a very real way, consequently, he is my Superman!

Sadly, I can't post all the photos from the party, but here are a few of my favorites:


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