Showing posts with label creative process. Show all posts
Showing posts with label creative process. Show all posts

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Paint Thoughts

When other people paint, do you have
thoughts like:

It's GOT to pull you away

...but not too much.

Friday, January 25, 2013

On sketching from life or using photographs

In response to a question at Facebook about whether I sketch from life or use photographs:
...sketches are either from life, or directly from my imagination. Occasionally, I take a reference shot with my iPhone if I have a good start on the drawing itself. The camera turns 3D space into 2D and sees it in a way that an artist might not if they were to turn the same scene into a flat picture. Often a drawing made from a photograph looks like a drawing made from a photograph and lacks the energy that doing it from real life would impart. If you use photographs, stop using them at a certain point in the process of drawing or painting and let the energy of the scene speak directly to you. Don't fully rely on them and don't duplicate them - make your own interpretation. Just my take on it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

A Palmistry of Signs

What do you think? I plan to write it into my painting. Once there, the words can't be changed.

A Palmistry, a Psalm

The hand is a poem. A fragmenting poem in my hand. Fingers blow in the wind like bulrushes. That gnarled branch overhanging the water, a twisted wrist. I wear a carpal bone like a pendulum, the rattle of Coatlique.

Our hands, neuronal cells pulsing nerves probing the world, soft, sensitive. In the signs in the lines on our palms a seer's language. Our journey mapped in grooves of curvature of skin over muscle and bone. Born here; die there. One, or two, or five central relationships. You will /or will not have children. This will be a difficult time; easier there. My, you are a sensualist.

They cut off the hands of thieves. Only I never stole. When was my hand severed? As a child? In the nightmare it is staked in the window, a sign for the henchmen of dictators, thieves of the freedom of souls. Herod's soldiers grabbing the first born; Nazi boots kicking down the doors of the Jews. Marked houses. Signs of those sacrificed on the altars of cruelties of power.

In my hand, you will find I've lived a clean life. Does this echo the ethical universe? Ethos is what enables order, harmony, beauty. This swollen and sore hand is emblazoned with 'the mark.'

I touch you, lying on the soft grasses of the riverbank, glide delicate fingers over your features, reading you, your body of braille. And massage you, warm oiled dance of fingertips and palm whorls penetrating knots, torments, memories. Even as my wrist flicks, and breaks.

My hand drifting downstream, decked in an Ophelia of lace and rings. Hold it; hold me.


I made a recording of the prose/poem, if you like to listen while you read.

(Background music by Aymeric, from their album on Jamendo, 'Sometimes,' cut 03.)


Some notes on writing process.

(Is this a defense of my style, or a rough explanation of my aesthetic?)

While I like to offer depth and complexity, for the record, I don't do 'stream of consciousness' - I've been working on this for a while, the images, the feelings, the meanings - even if it only took 20 or 30 minutes to write. Nothing comes out of a vacuum, and the semiotic undercurrent in our subconscious minds has not got the metaphoric order of a poem (or prose poem). I like to radiate out to divergent images, spark their neuronal connections, get the whole mind thinking, sometimes puzzled, sometimes recognizing. My poetry hopefully gives the reader a bit of a ride into an imaginative world, a ride that also offers exercise of those faculties of imagination, and the extraordinary ability we have to find meaning in divergent things. And be inspiring, of course. Emotionally, we are a very complex and nuanced species, and our emotional reactions and apperceptions cohere our lives. I like to tell it as it is, in all its paradoxes, ambiguities, irresolvable inconsistencies, its terrors and beauties - this is life, how we live.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tangled Garden in-process

Recently I shot some footage that I really liked. The camera was on a monopod and held quite still, so the movement (other than the slow lateral panning) is the wind. Because the footage of the leaves is in shadow, it's a slightly fuzzy recording. I did everything I could think of to sharpen it up, and a few of the filters required a 13 hour render! I saved that render as a Quicktime file, and continued working with it.

Recently I have also discovered Catherine Corelli on Jamendo, a Russian musician, artist, writer, a brilliant young woman whose music range, as described in a biography in her blog, is "from nu-metal or death-metal to pop-music, jazz, rap and even symphonic and chamber music."

On her album, Seraphic Tears, and you should click the link and go and read the mythic story of Lillith she has written for the album, and listen to and download the album if you like it, and donate something to the artist if you are in a postion to do so. The lady should be platinum (all her records, I mean).

Anyway, there were a few tracks in Seraphic Tears of Catherine singing without words. I don't know what you call that - extended arias, the semiotic of songs, from before where it began, travelling from the intensity of note to note, transforming, a deterritorialized voice, the substrata of language, where the rhythms and pulsations are, glottal vibrations expressed in a continuous balance between breath, voice, muscular contractions and expansions of the diaphram, the emotion of the heart that becomes the singing of a neoclassical goth angel.

So I worked for most of two days last weekend, mixing three of the songs with the footage, oh they are so beautiful, and then doing a minor bit of splicing and mixing since the clip, at 21 minutes, was longer than the sum of the songs.

I uploaded my effort to YouTube, kept the video private, sent it to Catherine. Since I couldn't see where to include a long note, I wrote it in 'info,' where you can read it, along with her generous response.

Every day for the last week I have recorded something on the track, it's very difficult for me to create a videopoem of 20 minutes when I am used to 3-5 minutes. I have two poems that work, 'Tangled Garden,' and something I wrote when I was 27 called, 'In the Hands of the Garden Gods' (unpublished, and written after I had successfully overcome bulimia by myself, my own transformative journey to healing, and it contains some darkness for sure, but it works surprisingly well with the neoclassical metal of Catherine's singing).

But these poems are not long enough for the full length of the video, and I'm not sure I can hold a viewers attention for that long with a few poems, and some dream talk recorded watching the video. I think it needs a narrative, a story. I am not a narrative poet, however. My poetry is not anecdotal, does not contain little stories with profound or quirky endings. The stories are there, but they are included from another level of realization, another layer of consciousness embodied in its languages. Anyway, it is quite a task to consider weaving a story into a long poem.

I'm also finally reading Deleuze and Guattari's, Thousand Plateaus, in an ePub format on my iPhone (the pdf from the University of Santa Cruz converted from pdf to ePub by an open-source program called Calibre) - backlit is beautiful, small screens of this dense work is a marvelous way to read it, and with the app Stanza I can bookmark, highlight any lines or sections, and create notes that hang out like stickies. So the piece I am writing is *very* Deleuze. That is ok, I've been coming to Deleuze all my life. (Saying this even though I've owned A Thousand Plateaus since 1994, when the translation was published in English, and read the intro chapter on Rhizomes at that time.)

Last night, finally, finally, I wrote a few pages, by hand, but it is process and still no story to entice and interest you. Perhaps I can embed a story in sentences of process? I may put what I wrote last night in another post but password protect it since it's still in gestation (you'd have to email me to get the password).

Here is the video, a 363MB quick-show version of a 14GB original. After Catherine gave her permission to use her music in the video, I changed it from private to unlisted (it won't appear on my public site or in any search engines). When I finish it I will upload a higher resolution version for public viewing, though it will still be a little fuzzy - which is okay, this works beautifully with Catherine's voice (and to my eye the organic dream weaving of the clip works better than, say, electronic colors and shapes generated by a computer when playing music).

direct link: Tangled Garden play at 720p for best viewing (an early version, without title or credits yet) (the very fuzzy first 25 seconds or so are where the title will be)

The footage is of the middle, where the grass bends. Neither the roots nor the sky. All the things that appear in the fluttering leaves, twigs, branches, with light breaking through. I love it.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

What is a pebble? A moment of attention...

So many thoughtful responses to Dave Bonta's question, "What Kind of Attention," at a discussion post at Writing Our Way Home:

So I guess probably everyone here agrees with at least one of the following three propositions: that paying attention is worthwhile in and of itself, that the writing or other artwork that comes out of such moments of attention can be compelling, and that paying attention can lead to authentic/original insights. As a writer and reader, I've long admired poets such as Mary Oliver and John Haines whose poetry seems to originate in just this kind of attention to the world (which isn't to say that I don't like other kinds of writing, too). My question for writers and artists, though, is this: is there a special kind of attention that leads to the best insights? And does it exist purely in the observational moment, or is it also something that comes from immersion in the act of creation as well? What is the precise (or even the approximate) relationship between these two periods of attention?

Each response has depth and insight, and it's worthwhile to take a look at them. This is mine:

When I wrote a dent/tweet for AROS during January (and will be resuming), I found it interesting. Each day and night is filled to the brim with sensual awarenesses, emotions, thoughts, ideas, a full range, very complex, each moment, truly!

Yet I would have driven myself crazy if I thought, 'what to focus on, what to focus on.' There's so much, even in my very quiet reclusive life of daily samenesses.

What I found was it was like my 'writing self' set 'an intention' - an aros everyday. Because every day, even if it was nearing midnight and I was scrounging for something, anything, a moment always emerged with more 'weight' - like a pebble falling out of the sky.

This pebble fell from the sky as if it were from another landscape - one where 'a moment' could be expressed in a small image, or thought, or utterance, or poem.

In this other landscape, which is part of my landscape, language predominates. The pebble is a languaged construction of the world that I inhabit, I know that. Drawings, which I sometimes did, always needed the written component. And, afterall, this is a poetry group.

So, for me, it's not so much my attention in my world as listening for the moment that is realizing itself through my perception.

And it's heavy, heavier than the other moments, it carries a weight that is already transforming itself into words, and it is not likely that I would then miss it!

If any of this makes sense!

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Creative Fire

"I hope you are all creating every day according to the inner map you were born with. I know it sometimes seems that map is written in invisible ink... but you know to read invisible ink, you have to hold it over heat. Same with creative life, 'Fire, give me more fire!'"
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, from "The Creative Fire" mansuscript, this quote posted at her public site at Facebook.

where potential poems
lay like unfertilized ova

a thousand rise
new moons
on the landscape of the future

I have no chromosone
starmap to offer
or helixes of lunar pearls

I wasn't born with a vision

mapless, without signs

my fire is your fire

what bursts from this undifferentiated mass, a singular
moment, astral blossom of solarity, prism of
colour, strange sapient gloss

is a response,
a spark,
the lighting of our blazing

A composite image I composed for this poem (from public 
domain and NASA images).


I like Dr. Estes quote very much, and am inspired by her words. I've written a poem - the creative fire like an Olympic torch alighting us. Her philosophy, though, has given me pause for thought. For me there isn't an 'inner map' that I was 'born with.' While there is inner pressure to produce, my creativity is a response. It's not about my 'feelings' or particularly 'confessional,' but sparked by something I want to address. Sometimes it can be a way to work out a puzzle. What I write or paint or produce occurs in relation to my world, the people in it, a sense of spirit, a need to discover truth, a way to connect, reflect, deflect, untangle, give, discover the depths of.

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