Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Imagination

What is Imagination?   There are many answers to this question.  One answer:   Imagination is taking the ordinary and turning it into the extraordinary.

For example:

Tree woman“Tree Woman”

LJGloyd (c) 2010

Composition created from found images, personal images, and computer-generated images.

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The Crafting of Art

No matter what one’s imagination conjures, there is no artful creative expression of it unless one has mastered the craft of creating it.

A potter may imagine the soft lines and symmetry of a vase, yet if she cannot control the clay on the wheel there will be nothing but a gray mass of sludge. If a writer imagines his story in the deep recesses of his mind, yet does not know grammar and vocabulary, if he cannot master the weaving of words into a coherent and dramatic structure, then there is no novel.

People have told me that I have a nice voice, yet I am untrained and no matter how much I enjoy belting out a song, I know I will never, ever be able stand up before an audience and perform without making a fool of myself.  I have not mastered the craft of song.

Similarly, I have been exploring music through drumming, but I am a novice who can’t even read music. Yet, I move forward through study and practice so that I may, hopefully, someday master my craft and be able to artfully conjure the emotion that drumming can evoke.

Whatever your medium or genre, practice your craft until it becomes art.

Ljg. 2017

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/craft/


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Resources, Reference, and Inspiration

Spring

“Spring”, Lawrence Alma-Tadema [Dutch, 1836 – 1912], Oil on canvas, 1894

I have always relied upon images seen in museums, art books, or online to jump start my creative impulses.  Because of this, I was so pleased to find out a few days ago that the J.P. Getty Trust is now allowing the download and free use of nearly 5000 high quality digital surrogates of its collection.  The plan is to eventually add more of the Getty collection over time.   Here is what they say on their blog:

Today the Getty becomes an even more engaged digital citizen, one that shares its collections, research, and knowledge more openly than ever before. We’ve launched the Open Content Program to share, freely and without restriction, as many of the Getty’s digital resources as possible….     To read the entire post and access the Open Content collection, go HERE.

 So I am taking advantage of this opportunity and posting one of my favorite paintings in the Getty collection.  It is “Spring” by Dutch/British painter, Lawrence Alma-Tadema. It is a fairly large painting (70 1/4 x 31 1/2 in).  Here is what the Getty says about it:

A procession of women and children descending marble stairs carry and wear brightly colored flowers. Cheering spectators fill the windows and roof of a classical building. Lawrence Alma Tadema here represented the Victorian custom of sending children into the country to collect flowers on the morning of May 1, or May Day, but placed the scene in ancient Rome. In this way, he suggested the festival’s great antiquity through architectural details, dress, sculpture, and even the musical instruments based on Roman originals.  Alma Tadema’s curiosity about the ancient world was insatiable, and the knowledge he acquired was incorporated into over three hundred paintings of ancient archeological and architectural design. He said: “Now if you want to know what those Greeks and Romans looked like, whom you make your masters in language and thought, come to me. For I can show not only what I think but what I know.”   Alma Tadema’s paintings also enjoyed popularity later, when his large panoramic depictions of Greek and Roman life caught the attention of Hollywood. Certain scenes in Cecil B. De Mille’s film Cleopatra (1934) were inspired by the painting Spring.  (See this text HERE)

Each time I go to the Getty, I spend more time with this painting than I do with most of the others.  There is a story in every face in this painting.   This painting alone could generate ideas for several stories.  I could use it as a reference for drawing exercises.  I could excise parts of it for use in a digital constructions. My point here is simple.  You probably already know this, so use this as just a reminder:  Look at what other artists and writers have done and use it as a jumping off point for your own work. If any of the Getty folks are reading this, THANK YOU so much for making your collection available to us.   What a fantastic contribution to creative persons everywhere.  — ljgloyd Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.


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Green Chiles and Chamomile Tea

My sassafras wood walking staff

One of the things I like most about writing is the research.  I know that may seem weird to some of you, but to me doing research is like being Indiana Jones except from the safety of a computer chair or the stacks of a library.   Furthermore, in conducting research I get to interact with interesting people on a variety of topics.  Just in the last two weeks alone I have studied and discussed the care and feeding of horses, how to properly roast green chiles, the medicinal properties of chamomile, paranormal investigations, practicing tai chi chuan, and how to knock the snot out of someone in a stick-fight.

The added benefit of doing research is that sometimes I even try out the things I study.  With the exception of caring for a horse (since I don’t have access to one),  I have tried my hand at a few of these activities.  I roasted chiles for a fabulous salsa verde.  I got a good night’s sleep by dosing myself with a good chamomile tea.  I strengthened my skeptical perceptions in watching some of those silly ghost-busting reality shows.  I tried to remember and practice some of the tai chi chuan movements I learned decades ago.

I have to say that I did not engage in any sort of stick-fighting (that seemed fraught with potential disaster), but I did haul out my walking staff and went beach-combing.***     Most likely I won’t use much of these experiences in the project I am working on right now, but I have acquired a few more bytes of code in my internal database.

Perhaps someday I may need to write about having a stick fight with a ghostly entity.

LJGloyd (c) 2013    (***I am writing a character that carries a staff for defensive purposes, and I wanted to get the feel what it would be like to carry one around all the time.  Not comfortable, I  have to admit. )