Friday, August 28, 2009

Altered Book Painting, Blog Anniversary, Stardust, and Connections

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
The Sun rises
The Sun sets
The Earth moves round and round that Center of Light
While I keep spinning all the while
Altered Book Painting
This small acrylic and oil pastel painting is an entry I did this past week in an altered book for a friend. An altered book is an art form where you take any book and "recycle" it into art by painting, drawing, tearing, pasting, whatever you want, over the existing pages. Often these books are passed around to a group of artists/friends with each one of them starting their own book. I encourage you to try it, as it is fun, as well as inspiring to see the artwork you receive. Below is another one I did for another artist's book, just building off photographs that were already in the book.
Blog Anniversary and Connections
Today I'm celebrating 1 year of blogging, though I opened a blog in August 2009, I really I didn't really get going til January of this year. I must say that I am awed by how many people have stopped in to read or see what I have posted... and doubly awestruck by how many people come from different countries. So, thank you readers, and fellow travelers on the web and in life's journey. It is a reminder for me, in that, there really are people out there listening to what each of us says, no matter how small a voice. And to never never forget, the power of words and our messages, whether coming directly out of our mouths or being posted on the internet.

Just think of all our interconnections, reaching globally across miles of oceans or plains, and skies. I have enjoyed the conversations and exchanges and "meeting" some of you via your blogs too. I like to imagine all the kindred spirits will rise up with their voices and be heard singing a new paradign that creates peace and harmony, respect and caring for all creatures and cultures around the world... Whether it be by our words or art or both, come, let's join in sending out positive vibrations....

We are Stardust
And, celebrating another anniversary..... it's astounding that 40 years have passed since August 1969, the summer of Woodstock and many US cultural changes..... Here's a You-Tube with Joni Mitchell live at Big Sur, California, September 14, 1969... singing one of my favorite songs, not the best recording but still great. Here are the words too... Copyright the artist(s).

I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, where are you going
And this he told me...
I'm going on down to Yasgur's farm
I'm going to join in a rock 'n' roll band
I'm going to camp out on the land
And then try and get my soul free

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it's the time of man
I don't know who l am
But you know life is for learning

*We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation

*We are stardust -
Billion-year-old carbon -
We are golden
Caught up in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Spirals, a Photoshop Tip, and M81 Galaxy

The serpent bones spoke to me of the ancient cycles of living, dying and being reborn...the serpent bones, with skin long since shed, whispered that the spiraling inward towards our center or spiraling outward towards the cosmic, it is the same.Spirals and a Photoshop Tip
Today I'm playing with photographs and Photoshop (PS). I was choosing a picture to send in for the latest photoartjournals Yahoo group exchange on Spirals. The top picture is taken at a Reptile Garden in South Dakota on a road trip a couple of years ago. I was captivated with not only the skeleton but the dramatic spiral shape. I used PS to remove the display frame and signs around the skeleton. The second photo I used PS to produce a negative image. You can do this by selecting Image>adjustments>invert... very easy.

Spirals are such a wonderful natural design, and as a design has been found in all cultures since ancient times, often associated with the sun or the snake. Here is another quote I like about them, don't know who wrote it: "Our earth describes a spiral course. We move in circles, but we never come back to the same point. The circle is not closed. We only pass the same neighbourhood many times. It is characteristic of a spiral that it seems to be a circle but is not closed."

A Lunatia lewisii, aka, Moon Snail, a vacated shell found at Mutiny Bay, Whidbey Island, WA (lovely, these can grow up to 7 inches!)...
The interior of the Westport, WA lighthouse...A Chongololo or giant African millipede (grows up to 11 inches) at the Victoria BC, Canada Bug Zoo (creepy, but a fascinating place)...The Spiral Galaxy M81
The M81 Galaxy is a spiral-shaped system of stars, dust, and gas clouds, the galaxy's arms wind all the way down into the nucleus. The Hubble Space Telescope gathered the data needed for the photos in this You-Tube video between 2004-2006, and produced the sharpest image ever taken of deep space and this "grand design spiral" galaxy which is located 11.6 million light-years away. The Hubble Space Telescope's view is so sharp that it can resolve individual stars, along with open star clusters, globular star clusters, and even glowing regions of fluorescent gas. This color composite was assembled from images taken in blue, visible, and infrared light. The music is Creation du Monde by Vangelis. Copyright by the artists... Enjoy and contemplate your spiral journey.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Process Painting, Hot Weather & Climate Change

"Though that blazing sun does make life possible, I found it difficult to appreciate the searing hot rays..."
Above are examples of "process" paintings I did about two years ago using tempera paints. A process painting is about painting intuitively without plan or design, painting emotions, like expressionism, rich with metaphor. The top one is named "Light Above the Sea." The second box shows the start of a process painting on the left and the quite different final version on the right... It's called "The Black Hole and the Fire and the Rose". As you can see the one on the right is what I use in my banner. It's about transformation from one state to another.

Hot Seattle

A couple of weeks ago we hit some record highs here in the usually temperate, cool gray Northwest... we had 105 degrees heat for 2 days and the rest in the 90's. Not that it's absolute proof, but, I couldn't help but think of climate change, and some of the other unusual weather patterns that are occurring here and there around the globe.

Climate Change
I am definitely one of those that think climate change is real, and not just another "media or liberal conjured" issue as some may still think. Drastic weather changes here and there, huge chunks of polar ice sheering off, permafrost melting (with the threat of large stores of methane being released), glaciers retreating or disappearing, animal species disappearing or moving to areas never seen, etc.,etc... Gloomy stuff. It reminds me of way back when, when the threat of nuclear bombs was acknowledged, everyone was terrified, we practiced drills in school (ha), then eventually we all became used to it, the idea that we could be annilated in a moment, and it became a part of the fabric of our lives, just more threads in the complex modern web. Now I wonder, is the environmental issue, the climate change and all that it could bring, something that we acknowledge and then move on... getting used to the idea that quite suddenly we could hit a tipping point, a point of no return...

All that debating.... Does it really matter whether it's manmade or not? Shouldn't the important thing be what will be live-able for us as a species? What if we could change things? What if everyone did even one small thing?

In that spirit of one small thing, here is a You-Tube video of Greg Cravens "How it All Ends" (Oct 2007) to watch and consider... not all dry, he has a sense of humor, and a little goofy costume too. Greg Cravens started with a You-Tube video called "The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See" which has had over 7,200,000 views, but he says this sequel makes the better argument. He says something I have said for a long time... it's not about saving the planet, the planet will get along just fine without us, it's really about saving ourselves...