About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

If Walls could Talk

(Jan at The Prytz Family is the host for this week's Fun Monday. The subject is walls. What color are they painted? What do we have on our walls? What is special about what we choose to display?)

I've lived in two different houses since 1983. The walls are always painted Queen Anne's Lace by Porter Paints. This color provides a nice soft white canvas for whatever I"m currently interested in seeing on the walls. Over the years I've hung my own crewelwork, counted cross stitch, Kentucky watercolors, and dried flower wreaths that I made fresh for each season change.

For many years, however, I've been in a minimalist frame of mind. I don't have many things at all on the walls. When I look over my computer I can see a huge map of the world with pins in the countries I've visited. Only about a dozen--wish there were more. Over to the left of my desk I have a rather large corkboard with a month of pen and ink drawings and watercolors. I spent ten minutes on each painting and did this daily throughout the month. (Note: when I look at this monthly progression, I can say that practice does not make perfect, but it does make better!)

In the living room I have three paintings of dogs that I'm very fond of. The first is called "After the Chase" by Andrew Wyeth. I love Wyeth's paintings of dogs and this one reminds me of a great visit with a friend and the time we spent in the Brandywine Valley, touring gardens and museums. I bought this print at Wyeth's gallery as a memento of the trip.

The second painting is called "The Girl with the Dog" by Theodore Robinson. Robinson was a mid-1800s Impressionist painter. I've had this painting for years and, unlike some others, it never gets banished to the basement. I look at this painting and see the devotion shared between people and dogs. It is a feeling that I experience daily.

This is the painting that I want to look at every day. It's called "The Veteran" and was painted by Jeanne Filler Scott in 1987. I haven't been able to find out anything about this artist. My friend Kittyhawk was helping with an auction for an animal rescue group and she emailed me the photo of it saying that she thought I might be interested in bidding on it. Was I!

I had just been reading "The Places in Between". This book is an account of the young Scotsman Rory Stewart's walk across Afghanistan in January 2002 just after the fall of the Taliban. Armed only with his ability to speak Persian and his knowledge and respect for Muslim customs, he crossed the snow covered mountains, despite being told that he would surely die before the walk was done. He walked from Herat on the Iranian border east to Kabul on the Pakistan border. He claimed hospitality from poor villagers, a requirement of the Muslim religion. He slept on the floor, shared their meager food, and talked with the tribesmen.

I wanted "The Veteran" because he reminded me so much of Babur, the mastiff fighting dog that Stewart accepted from some villagers as a traveling companion. Babur, which means tiger, had never known kindness from any human. His teeth had been knocked out, his tail and ears cut off. Muslims consider dogs to be unclean animals and were kept to fight off wolves from the sheep or sport fighting with other dogs.. He was regularly stoned by village children. Babur and Stewart supported each other in dangerous, near death experiences as they crossed the mountains. The first day together, Stewart decided that he would take Babur back to Scotland.

Well, this is a bit of what my walls say about me. As soon as you can, check out other the other Fun Monday walls. I'm curious about what we'll find.

(Sorry I couldn't take photos of my walls. My camera was giving me red splashes. The photo of Stewart and Babur was taken from The Places in Between.)

22 comments:

Mariposa said...

Hey, I'm also a minimalist...and you can see that in my wall! LOL

We just have a dedicated wall for paintings and all...but that is not my wall... ;)

Have a Fun Monday!

Hootin' Anni said...

I love the girl with a dog...it just spells comfort to me!

Come see my walls if you dare.

Kaycie said...

The story of Stewart and Babur is quite touching. Thanks for sharing it.

Heather said...

You have such interesting pieces to look at. I really like the last one - what an amazing story. And your other dog paintings are very neat. Thanks for sharing!

Jan said...

Thanks for sharing your dog paintings, and the book tie-in is great.

SongBird said...

That poor dog. I cannot abide the mistreatment of animals. Nice pictures and interesting post.

Molly said...

Faye,
I like the peek into your intriguing life that we get each Monday. Each week, we seem to learn a little bit more about you. I like your dog pictures, and I like the artistry of Andrew Wyeth. I enjoyed reading your explanation behind your desire to have "The Veteran." I am putting The Places in Between at the top of my reading list.

My map of countries visited would only include two, Canada and the United States. Even a map of states visited in the US, would only include about 20 states.

ChrisB said...

Now that is a book I must read it sounds like a fascinating story.

lisa marie said...

I bet it is cool to see your improvements in drawing. :)

I grew up with dog prints on the walls too. :)

Jo Beaufoix said...

I love the dog pictures. My walls are mainly photos so I cheated a bit. Have a fab week Faye. :D

KittyHawk said...

I've gotten used to tuning in to your blog every Monday, Faye, and it's a treat. I think The Veteran is my favorite, too.

(You've probably already thought of this, but would the red splashes on the wall go away if you turn the flash off? Just trying to figure out what might be the matter...)

karisma said...

Yes, I liked "The Veteran" as well, its really stunning to look at!

Sayre said...

Obviously some bonding and trust developed between Stewart and Babur - quite remarkable in that Babur probably had never trusted anyone before.

Your walls definitely say something about you! And I'd like to see your month of pen and ink - just to see your progression.

Faye said...

A friend just routed me to the webpage of Jeanne Filler Scott, apparently specializes in painting wild and domestic animals. She saw "The Veteran" on the Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada. He's an Eskimo husky and she described him this way: "he had obviously seen some rough times and had lived through some harsh winters". Just like Babur.

My Husband Calls Me Weird said...

I love how your Fun Mondays turn into wonderful stories!

nikki

Debs said...

I love your posts, they're so fascinating and I always learn something I didn't know.

hulagirlatheart said...

I love Andrew Wyeth, especially "The Bedroom Window". There's just something about a picture of a dog that makes me smile.

ellen b. said...

Faye I love your review of this amazing sounding adventure this young man had. I like it when art speaks of the owner like yours does. enjoy...

SwampAngel65 said...

Thanks for telling about that book. You have piqued my interest and I'm going onto bookmooch to see if I can find a copy! I like your paintings, and although I don't like white walls, when they're painted "Queen Anne's Lace"..well, they just sounds special!

Peter said...

Very nice Doggy pictures Faye.

Lane said...

I remember reading about Rory Stewart. What an incredible journey. I must read the book.

I love your paintings but would have liked a sneaky glimpse at your pen and ink drawings too!:-)

I used to paint walls bright colours. Now I can't stand it and prefer off-white. Queen Anne's Lace sounds just the job!

Sallymademedoit said...

Would like to let you know that there's a fair amount of info available on Jeanne Filler Scott. Just let your fingers do the walking through Google. She's from Kentucky, you can e-mail her, and I found her pictured with her dog named 'Sasha' (big points in my book as you can imagine).