Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Is There Really Nothing New Under the Sun? Only If You Don’t Work at It.

A page from one of DaVinci’s notebooks

From where do our ideas for creative endeavors come?  I think our inspiration comes from our interaction with the world around us — the natural world and the people in it.  From those sources we extract portions, break them up, shuffle them around, ponder and consider, scrap them all and start again– until we come up with some sort of creative prompt and subsequent product.

I know I like to think that any creative idea I have came from some deep well of inspiration within me.  Maybe it does, but I also know that this well of inspiration consistently needs to be filled with memories of the experiences I have with the exterior world.   There are only two activities from The Artist’s Way that I have found useful.  One of them is the “Artist’s Date” (the other is writing every day).   I try to go somewhere or engage in some sort of activity either by myself or with other people that will fill that well.   Since I spend so much time drumming, cooking, gardening and engaging in reflective self-care activities, my writing and image-making often engage those themes.

Maybe we mere-mortal creatives re-purpose other ideas gathered from our worldly roamings, but what about those individuals whom we credit for inventing lofty ideas and devices that have had profound impacts on the world?  Archimedes, Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, DaVinci, Shakespeare, Locke, Curie, Tesla, Einstein?    Where did those ideas come from?   If you look at some of them who we consider “geniuses”, most of them were philosophers and scientists.    What do they have in common?   I don’t know about all of them, but I know some of them kept notebooks where they worked on their ideas, no doubt drawing from the same sources that you and I do:  the external world.   In fact, I think Plato is the guy who came up with the notion that there is a place where everything in the world has an Ideal Form, a perfect Idea of it,  and anything we create is merely a reflection of those ideals.

I propose that we can be just as inventive as these folks.  The key is to take the ideas from the well and work and re-work and experiment and write and consider that work until we re-create something glorious on paper or canvas or film or device.   They did.  So can we.

I am just writing this off-the-top of my head.  I am still working on this notion.   I may re-work it again.   That’s the point!   Keep working until you get it “right” (or at least close to it).

Now get working.   🙂

ljg (c) 2019

 

 

 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/rdp-friday-prompt/


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Mistress Moon

When I went on my walk this morning, I looked up and beheld Luna’s baleful eye gazing down on me. It was ominous. It was creepy. It was oh-so-cool.

If you do a google search for “moon”, you will get back 347 million results. The results range for this morning’s rare occurrence, to songs and stories about her, to her effects on tides, to her as a theme for a popular video gaming system.

She is everywhere in our cultures.

Luna is part of our past through our legends and mythologies.

She is with us in our present. Scientists will tell us that the moon has absolutely no effect on human behavior or psychology , yet many of us believe it does.   Furthermore, she is a part of inner-most selves.  Some in the psychological field see the moon as a symbol of the unconscious, the feminine principle in our psyches, and even representative of our “shadow” selves.

The moon, according to some, is even a part of our future. She is a part of prophecy.

It would seem that Mistress Moon serves as a conveyor of all that is human.

 

Text and image: ljgloyd (c) 2018

 


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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. )


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A Little Deja Vu

crystal ballI passed up the last two Daily Post prompts because they did not really resonate with me. Today’s  prompt doesn’t really either but I cannot afford to go too many days without posting or I’ll lose momentum.

So the question of the day: “Have you ever experienced déjà vu?”   Yes, I have — a couple of times as a child.   I don’t recall the circumstances too clearly but I do recall I was just doing ordinary things.   The clearest memory was when I was on an athletic field in junior high and I had this overwhelming feeling that the conversation I was having there with my classmate was one that I had had before.   Quite frankly, I may have.  After all I was in a junior high P.E. class that met every day, on a field that I was on nearly as often, and I can’t imagine that as a junior high age child that my topics of conversation were all that diverse.  It was probably a conversation that I had had before.  So maybe it really wasn’t déjà vu?”  

All I know is that I felt outside myself for a few seconds, looking at this conversation as if I was not a part of it.  It was an odd feeling that I have not experienced as an adult.  If it was not déjà vu then what was it?  Maybe these types of disruptions of consciousness are common to children, but we grow out of them before we have time understand them fully and find a purpose for them in our lives.

If that is the case, then that is a real shame because it was an extraordinary feeling.

ljg (c) 2013.

Image: “Crystal Ball”


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Bedtime Stories

greek myths

I cannot say that I had one particular favorite book as a child. I can say that I read a lot — and a mean A LOT — when I was a child. My dad would take me to the library every few days and he would comment on the fact that I kept checking out some of the same books over and over. One book I kept checking out was D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire. It was (and still is) a beautifully and vibrantly illustrated book. I liked this book so much that when a re-issue came out a few years ago, I bought it.

I like reading mythology and archetypes of Greek gods and goddesses sometimes emerge in my stories, and to this day I keep fantasizing about illustrating my own children’s book of tales.

So I guess I can say that this book has had an influence on my creative endeavors.

Prompted by the Daily Post

ljg 2013