Who Am I?

The Story

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 – although I might consider wearing a bright yellow bonnet. 😉

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 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.

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, civility and common sense are respected. 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 know that he means all of us.

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

My Point: While my own worldview is unapologetically Christian, all those respecting civility and common sense, 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 😉


Image credit:

  • George Peter Alexander Healy, Euphemia White Van Rensselear, 1842 [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
  • On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 75

This page is also in post form found HERE

Contact Sunnyside: atsunnyside2018@gmail.com

56 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 2 people

    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 2 people

    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 2 people

    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! 🙂


  7. cindy knoke says:

    Goethe understands almost everything.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Atul Depak says:

    Your site is very appealing and beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your visit, Atul Depak. Thank you for your generous words. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Bryan Fagan says:

    Thank you for following my blog. That means a lot. I enjoy your work. You have a great site.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome, Bryan! I hope you are healing well. I particularly enjoyed your comment that your grandparents taught you “manners, hard work and the value of a dollar”. Anyone who can say that is a winner in my book. Thanks for visiting! 😎


  10. Bryan Fagan says:

    Thank you. We have a lot in common. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome, scorpio! I appreciate your visit! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pleasure is mine dear..Do check our my blogs and share your feedback!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. rothpoetry says:

    I love your quote on keeping our perspective in life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind comment – I appreciate your visit! ❤️😎

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rothpoetry says:

        You are welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. efge63 says:

    You are like christmas present for me!!!! Thank you !!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ***Waving hello to efge63*** Welcome! Your felt Christmas tree for toddlers is adorable (and what a precious little boy in the picture!). I truly appreciate your visit and can’t wait to explore your blog more. Thank you for visiting! ❤️😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. efge63 says:

        My name is efi!!! I feel so lucky find your blog!!!! You are my christmas present as i wrote you again !!!

        Thank for your kind words!! The tree is an idea from you tube the baby is my grand child!!!

        Have a nice day/night??? Good night from athens in greece!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hello to my new friend, efi! I am in the US, now a little past lunch time here. Some of my children are scattered across the world, so I am never sure of the real time anywhere. ;-). Your grandson is a treasure (don’t tell, but I am hopeful of having grandchildren someday soon, but have promised to be quiet on the topic…lol) Athens, Greece – such a city of history and beauty. I have only visited via blog pictures so far, but have not given up hope of seeing Greece in person yet. It is on my ‘someday’ list. 😎 Good night, efi!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m so glad that you stopped by my blog and as a result of that I’ve found your lovely blog. Thanks for the support and I will be sure to also stop by from time to time. Have a blessed day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And Blessings to you also, Leola! May you be filled with peace and joy in 2019 – our brand new year! 🙏❤️😊

      Liked by 1 person

  14. jjhiii24 says:

    What a lovely and creatively beautiful place you have created here!
    Many of my own interests are listed on this site, and the content is substantial in character, making the experience of browsing and reading a feast for the intellect and the senses.
    My own family roots are firmly in Upstate New York, where I was born in a little town called, Troy, NY, home to the Rensselear Polytechnic Institute. The campus was right across the street from where my father lived as a boy, and I have many happy memories of visiting there often while growing up.

    Your attention to my blog is most welcome, and I appreciate very much that you would follow along with me. Our emphasis is somewhat different in the main, but it feels very much like there is also some important elements common to us both in the pages.

    My maternal grandmother was born in 1888, right about the time Euphemia Van Rensselaer was moving on to the next world, and she was known to occasionally wear a bonnet similar to the one pictured when she was a young woman. I think in some ways, while the world is astonishingly different now, that it lost something when bonnets went out of style–not necessarily in the fashion sense–but rather, in the sensibilities that permitted their use in those days.

    Thank you so much for your consideration of my work.

    Warm regards….John H.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John, I just found your note – please forgive my delay in reply! I appreciate your kind words, and the memories you shared about upstate New York are a treasure. Though I have never had the privilege of visiting that area, I have often wondered about the life of Euphemia Van Rensselaer, as I know nothing more that the brief information with the painting. Knowing that you have good memories from childhood connected with that area makes me smile, too. Thank you for taking time to comment, and I look forward to reading more at your blog. All the best, Deborah, At Sunnyside 😊


  15. cindy knoke says:

    “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. that says,
    Do not underestimate me.”
    I will never underestimate her, or you, from this point forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my…I haven’t read that in a long time…*blushing at my own audacity*…but I do try to be polite! 🥴


  16. Jules says:

    I believe I can add this woman to my Dopplerganger list –
    The mold of my face (lives on anyway) repeats. I shall have to find out more about her…
    Lovely art works and words found here, at your place.

    I agree with Cindy K…. one should not underestimate her or any poet or artist. 🙂 And in truth, we are all artists in one way or another.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. claire says:

    Loved the quote, I might add to the list – take a walk in nature, senses open, and appreciate the work of the greatest artist of them all. Thanks for visiting and following my blog. As a former fine art major, who loves writing and has a taste for the classics I think I will enjoy perusing your blog so will follow likewise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome, Claire! I appreciate your generous comment and your visit. I believe I found your blog through Nico (Ancient Skies) — looking forward to reading much more at Song Bird Songs. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Alas, I’m not a follower of the ‘Artists’, my journey is in the art of love. The kind that heals us, allowing tears from that well within that is chained closed with our fears in this life….so that we can break free, and in doing so begin a painting to outdo any master, by becoming our own.
    But even so, your site here is very clear. Almost like those chains have been loosed and many a brushstroke has begun its journey to find that inner truth. Thank you for sharing ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

    Certainly a most interesting portrait that captures a look that says a thousand words. You’ve a most lovely blog and from your exactitude, completeness and clarity, I can deduce that you are a very talented person.
    All the best to you,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your kind words, FBC. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

        My pleasure. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Well spoken! I love this! What artistic flair! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your visit and your kind words. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Eugi says:

    You have a lovely blog and it’s so good to meet you. Thank you for following my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome, Eugi! So nice to find your blog. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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