Who Am I?

Sunnyside was born many years ago, the name of my fictional home for orphaned children and animals in a story for Mrs. Watson’s eighth grade writing class. A medical degree and six biologic homeschooled children later, Sunnyside became the name of my classical education website, Sunnyside Classical Christian School. Now entering a new phase of life, I plan to rest and reflect on all things true and beautiful here At Sunnyside.

Who is the lovely woman pictured in my avatar?  Meet my kindred spirit, Euphemia White Van Rensselear in my favorite portrait painted by George Healy in 1842.

According to The Met, Euphemia Van Rensselaer (1816–1888) … was born on the family manor, Rensselaerswyck, near Albany, New York.

Healy painted the portrait in Paris, where he executed works for visiting Americans as well as for the French king, Louis Philippe. He blends both lavish detail and texture with a sensitive portrayal of character before a setting suggestive of the Roman campagna from which the sitter had just returned. The portrait, which shows the influence of the German-born painter Franz Xavier Winterhalter, demonstrates a stunning simplicity, grace, and vivacity rarely equalled in Healy’s oeuvre.  

Quote from The Met

And why is she my face to the world?

I was not born in a manor, nor have I been fortunate enough to see the Roman campagna. Neither do I look fetching in bright yellow bonnets…  😉

Look at her body language, and read the expression on her face. I can almost see her raising one eyebrow (politely) at George Healy as he undoubtedly scrutinized her closely for many hours while he painted. He captured something true about her character that transcends art. This painting says,

Do not underestimate me.

fullsizeoutput_54f  George Peter Alexander Healy – Euphemia White Van Rensselear – 1842.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 75

Here At Sunnyside, we will follow the advice of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.

Oh, and here At Sunnyside, absolutely no pronouns will be shamed.  If Johann Wolfgang von Goethe thinks man should seek respite from worldly cares by rejoicing in music, poetry, and art, I have enough good sense to understand that he means all of us.

Just don’t tell Mr. Trudeau.  Or perhaps someone should? 😉

While my own worldview is unapologetically Christian, all polite inhabitants of this glorious world, regardless of pronoun or religious preference, are welcome to join me here At Sunnyside, where I come to search for both truth and beauty.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe understands why.

Thanks for Reading 😉

The End


Image credit: George Peter Alexander Healy [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

This page is also in post form found HERE



18 Comments Add yours

  1. I like the generosity of your blog pages, offering your life journey so freely! I like your interest in my blog, where you looked into a number of subjects close to my heart: my passion, my method, my process. Thank you for your interest–and for publishing such an intriguing blog yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a kind reply! I am still learning, and your encouragement is greatly appreciated. Your art work and your blog are inspiring — not only your creative talent, but also your willingness to give glimpses into the process of creating. Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. JacquiJay says:

    Your site is so aptly named … full of beauty and truth and presented so elegantly. Sometimes, I forget just to be STILL for a few moments and appreciate the wonderful things that surround me. I have “followed” you, so I will get a gentle prompt from you to slow down. Thank you for the visit to my site and your lovely comments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a lovely and generous comment – thank you! 🙂
      Your talent in creating photo masterpieces astounds me – and hearing the stories behind the scenes is always fascinating. (still chuckling over your post about of “dangly bits” and duct tape!. lol)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Impressed and intrigued. Never have I come across this artist or painting, but somehow feel all the depth, questioning, mystery and intelligence behind her youth and thoughtful eyes. There is nothing simple about this portrait and I wonder where the name Euphemia coming from. Nice meeting you here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! I completely agree. I have looked at many of Healy’s other portraits, and this one is certainly very different from his others. I am venturing a guess that he did perhaps see something special in this particular woman. At any rate, her gentle but steady gaze seems to tell a story, but we are only privy to these few clues — a mystery, indeed! At any rate, she is one of my all time favorite portraits. Thanks so much for dropping by, and I appreciate that you took time to comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, you made me ponder. Maybe the artist liked romantically. Now I have to see what other works of wonder he produced

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If you find one you love, please share! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “Do not underestimate me”: I like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *Two thumbs up* 😉

      Rosaliene, I just finished reading ‘The Jumbie Tree’ – what a touching story! Your writing makes me feel like I am walking beside that young girl who loves art, seeing her world through your eyes. She even loves the French Impressionists and van Gogh, just I as do.

      You wrote, “Bertha Williams is like the Victoria regia water lily that blooms in splendor above the dark muddy ponds in the Botanical Gardens.”

      Perfect. 🙂 Your words throughout the story painted her character vividly in my mind. She became my teacher, too.

      I am looking forward to reading so much more from you – and would love to see any art work that you have shared online. Thanks so much for visiting. I think your own words sum up my own feelings well. You wrote:

      “Even in the autumn of our years, it is not too late to take that first step in doing something we have always dreamt of doing. Naysayers abound. Adversity abounds. But there is always a way, even though it may mean taking that unknown path through the thicket. We never know who we may meet along that path. Everyday, on the streets and byways, we pass by unsung heroes –
      men, women, and even children. We are not alone.” http://www.rosalienebacchus.com/writer/TheJourney.html

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love your about page — and the title of your blog — truth and beauty – is so, so, so wonderful! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your generous comment! Your blog ‘Blue Feet, Bamboo Flute’ is lovely and makes me want to read more. Learning about other cultures is a privilege for me. Thank you so much for visiting. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you so much! Your whole website is so soulful – the beauty, poetry and your love for the Divine! Blessing to wander around here. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So nice to meet you, krishnapriya, and thank you! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve followed you for a while and this is the first time I’ve come to read your who am I page and I’m so glad I did. Explains so much about the blog I adore. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Regina! Great job on your Ted talk – you are so fearless!!! I appreciate your kind comment. Thanks so much for visiting! 🙂


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