September 29, 2011

Loss - My Missing Year

It turns out that the hoped for spring rain did not appear; instead I have been deeply entwined with Grief and Loss from the death of those I dearly loved.  Both Odyssey and the Bluedwarf Studio website have been silent as a result.

April 16, 2011

Birth: "Spring Rain"

This is my newest work in quite sometime. Therefore the connection to my preceding journal entry,
Winter's Famine,  furnished the essence from which I designated the title as "Spring Rain". This is a digital watercolor created using Painter X and a Wacom Intuos 3.0 Tablet.

Inside the Womb of Imagination explores the process of the creative flow from the first conception of an idea to the 'birth' of the end product.  A birth is always a completed work. This is the journal's first birth published here.  I hope you enjoy and thank you for viewing!

April 12, 2011

Winter's Famine

Where I live the sights of Spring are slowly dragging themselves in after Winter, looking like creatures of famine.  Baby leaves -those which I've named according to their bright green color when first appearing, or when they are born if you will- are showing their faces but without the brightness and shininess of birth.  Brand new buds look drab and uneager to grow.  And grass still brown from a dry Winter is trying very hard to go green on its own.  They all are very thirsty!  Eagerness and newness and brightness are missing from Spring this season.  And in this surrounding area their nemesis Fire is playing casually and thoughtlessly.

This is a very good description of my own inner creativity this year.  I'm hopeful that for me spring rains have begun and the famine is over.  I have my first new work in such a long time.   

February 19, 2011

Grief, More or Less

My journal has been quiet but not without reason.  About mid January a fateful day arrived.  Since then I have been tunneling through survival; the survival of a significant loss.

What happens to creativity when encountering a significant loss?  A few months ago, my creative flow was an internal avalanche of passionate energy waking me in the morning to rise up and work.  Earnestly and joyfully I flew on the wind.  Now, I am a winter day in northern Minnesota where only the frosty air crackles in the below-thirty degrees Fahrenheit, and only the lone twitter of a chickadee can be heard or the rare, unearthly boom from 3-foot-thick-ice on a lake sounds.  I am surrounded by snow and stillness.  My creativity is as frozen as all that is around me. Though I've been able to return to artistic endeavors the effort is one of real work- like trying to clear land filled with thorn bushes.  And each day awakens with grief , more or less.

The journey of imagination is entwined with our lives and therefore also with our losses.  When you have experienced  loss how did it affect your creativity?  This journal is open to every skill level and all creative efforts.  Feel free to comment about it here.  Thank you. 

December 09, 2010


I will be on Holiday break through the New Year.  I wish a Happy and Merry Holiday Season to all!  Peace

What is Creativity? Part 3: "Pandora and Her Jar"

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
Nicholas Regnier, ca1626
“Allegory of Vanity- Pandora”
Public Domain

 Does anybody remember the story of Pandora and her box? The woman from Greek mythology to whom the Olympian gods give many gifts; one of which is a sensuous box for which she is under penalty to never open. Upon an ancient Broadway theater her story is weaved together with the likes of Prometheus and Epimetheus. They are two Titan brothers who are distinguished by antithetical characteristics. On that stage, Pandora is captured like a prey animal by curiosity, and unfastens the lid of that ill-famed box. All Things Bad inside are set free and our world thereafter suffers terribly. Pandora's story sounds a lot like that of another women from ancient times. The story of Eve. The Abrahamic traditions tell us that Eve lives in the garden of Eden with her husband Adam. Here, the Creator provides them with an abundant, unending, and delicious supply of fruit to eat. Yet they are warned, they may eat fruit from all of the trees in the garden except for one tree. Do not eat from the tree of knowledge, they are told, or they will surely die. That odd animal the serpent also habits the garden. Slyly, the serpent stimulates Eve's native sense of wonder for the non bestowed fruit, and the power of curiosity ripens within her. Having both eaten of it, Eve and her husband are exiled from paradise and thrown into the present epoch in which we all live; that of trial, tribulation, and death.
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
John William Waterhouse, 1896
Public Domain

These stories are considered some of the most ancient stories from different cultures. Yet, even from ancient times the power of curiosity has clearly been understood, and for perhaps our own good written down in script. It was curiosity that caused me to initially ask the question, “What is Creativity”? I presumed it to be simply a little question for beginning my journal. Instead, it mushroomed quickly into a project like that of building a cathedral- taking an unexpected amount of time and leading me to a myriad of unforeseen places: creativity from a business perspective, creativity from a psychological perspective, creativity from a modern neuroscience perspective- a branch of biological science incorporating the fields of chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, and physics. There is the issue of creativity as a giftedness with the nature vs. nurture discussion. There is the recent rise of what I call 'The Creatives', a new people group resulting from the advancement of the Internet and communications/media technology. Who knows how many more threads of this discourse we could follow? And to complete the circle, there is also creativity from the artistic point of view from which we began. “Whew”! So how on earth am I going to give this little question a fair shake? I think the answer to this question is simple....I cannot. I do think though, having gazed at the massiveness of the enigmatic query, I can give my journal a beginning place.
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
Ascribed to Ja'far al-Sadiq, ca 1550
“Adam and Eve”
From a copy of the Falnama (Book of Omens)
Safavid Dynasty, Tabriz or Qazvin, Iran
Public Domain

If the theme of Inside the Womb of Imagination is creativity, then it seems right to give some kind of structure to what creativity is. What is this thing that has a beginning, grows, and develops; finally bearing a legacy of handiwork, invention, product, or realization? Creativity, in my opinion, is essentially the heart of intelligence. It is the pump or motor that moves our world. It is the marrow that facilitates our brain...our hub of awareness, understanding, and emotion. It is our vitality. A life within its very own womb.

I view creativity within us as originating from two sources. The ancients seemed well versed in one. Creativity is the efflorescence of curiosity. Curiosity, that savvy prey creature of Pandora, and that big-eyed wonder which the serpent used to tempt Eve is from my viewpoint one source from which creativity springs. The ancients understood that curiosity did not always lead us down a commendable road. Therefore, the birth of something new does not necessarily need to be good to the whole, but at least successful for a few. While I will not identify incidents in history, I'm certain wherever we live in this world we can all think of many circumstances in the past when a new, even radical idea for greater opportunity was used for the benefit of only a few. And many others suffered. In an occurrence such as this, eventually imagination is born in others to rise up and stand against this black inspiration. Or, should we examine our natural environment for bad ideas we shall find ample lessons. One good illustration was the use of a synthetic pesticide called DDT. It was an innovation to improve the quality of our harvests by controlling pests that brought physical and financial ruin to our food crops. However, after an extended period of time we began to understand the devastation DDT was causing in our food chain. How many times have we done something believed to be innovative to our world, only to discover that this advancement has instead caused harm to our natural environment? Creativity, therefore, reveals in itself a paradox. Follow the scent curiosity leaves behind and we can find that same arrogant trouble that did not pity Pandora and Eve. And on the contrary, curiosity can also escort us to something brand new- a discovery fresh, not before known, experienced, disclosed, or perceived- and marches forward our presence here for good. Creativity can be the protagonist or antagonist in the play of our lives. “It is the pump or motor that moves our world”.

My Personal Illustration for “What is Creativity”?
Copyrighted ©2010-2011 N. Leonard All Rights Reserved
Pigma Micron Pen/GraphitePencil Drawing

Creativity inside us as a native quality of who we are is the second source of origin. I have been very struck by neurological studies that have demonstrated the creativity of our brain itself. When we are born, our brain provides 'common rooms' for certain functions. For example, speech, emotion, motor skills, and memory have the same rooms in everyones brain. When injury or surgery damages a particular common room the phenomenal plasticity of our brain may be revealed. This ability was once believed to be nonexistent. We now understand that sometimes the brain will reroute the damaged function by the creation of a new room and relocate it there. The function or skill is not lost. This native creativity within us and who we are as a life form- be it our very brain or our creative thought is an astounding demonstration of a wondrous Template. We are sculptures carved by the original Sculptor. We are the imagination of life's first Artist. Our intelligence is an impression of Intelligence. The growing knowledge of medicine we have is a gift from a gifted Physician. Our basic nature to build mirrors that of a master Engineer. We did not discover science but Science discovered us. Words that poetically issue forth flow from the Living Word spoken in us. Music that embraces and caresses our soul sings from the Song who sang us into being: “A voice had begun to sing...There were no words...But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise [they] had ever heard...One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand point of lights leaped out...The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time...if you had seen and heard would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves which were singing and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing...All this time the Lion's song, and his stately prowl, to and fro, backward and forward was going on. And when he burst into a rapid series of lighter notes...primroses suddenly appearing in every direction. Thus, with an unspeakable thrill [they] felt quite certain that all the things were coming (as [they] said) 'out of the Lion's head'. When you listened to his song you heard the things he was making up: when you looked around you, you saw them.”(1) We are creative because we are designed to be.  “Creativity is the marrow of our brain...It is our vitality”.  It has a life of its very own.

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
Source/Photographer Georges Jansoone, 2008
Marble relief on Cathedral; Orvieto, Italy
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


The word creative was first used in the English language by Geoffry Chaucer. He was of England ca 1343 AD. Sometimes referred to as the father of English literature, he is most widely known for writing "The Canterbury Tales".

In ancient Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman and the Olympian gods graced her with many gifts. Her name in fact is derived from 'all' and 'gift', meaning 'all gifted' or 'all endowed'. While the myth is very ancient, it wasn't until the 7th century BC that Hesiod put it in literary form for the first time. The name Pandora is not used in his telling and it was understood from the ancients that the box was actually a jar (Gr: pithos; of Crete and Levant usage). It is believed the word was mistranslated into prixis (L). This error is often attributed to Erasmus of Rotterdam when he translated Pandora's story into Latin in the 16th century. The fateful 'box' has remained in use since.

In Abrahamic tradition, Eve was the name of the first woman. She was created by God from Adam- an interesting paradox- and lived with her husband in Paradise. Within their choice was the power to remain in Paradise or to become 'like God'- as tempted by the Serpent. They chose to eat the fruit of doom and mankind has been searching for Paradise with everlasting life ever since. The recounting of her story is found in the sacred writings of the Abrahamic faiths.
What Pandora's jar would have looked like.
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
Source/Photographer Jastrow, 2005
Description: Orientalizing pithos
Found in Crete, now sitting in the Mus'ee du Louvre, Paris
(Dpt. Of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities)
Public Domain

1. C.S. Lewis, “The Magician's Nephew”, HarperCollins Publisher, NY, NY, Full-Color Boxed Collector's Edition, ©2000, pp. 107-116. 
C. S. Lewis, “The Magician's Nephew”, First Edition Print ©1955.
* All copyrights, and trademarks in the characters, names, and titles of "The Chronicles of Narnia" are
owned by C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd.

All other information used in the supplemental section came from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

This entry is preceded by:
What is Creativity?  Part 2  "Extra Credit"
What is Creativity?  Part 1  "Voices from Everyday Artists"

December 05, 2010

What is Creativity? Part 2: "Extra Credit"

Like those artists who expressed their 2cents in answering the question, "what is creativity?" (below in Part 1), I myself have my own 2cents on the matter.  But before I go there, I stumbled upon an item that I want to provide for you as well, here on my journal.

The Art Institute of Vancouver in Vancouver, BC, Canada has an online test they provide for measuring how left-sided and right-sided your brain works.  This is just a test.  But it has helped me to understand better how I think and use my brain, both logically and creatively.

If you choose to follow this link I encourage you to click on
"About this Test", where you will find this next statement and more:  "...This test produces results unique to each individuals own left and right hemispheres. Many of the methods used here were pioneered by Dr. Roger Sperry's research on brain lateralization, for which he won a Nobel Prize in 1981..." 

And then click on the "Disclaimer", which provides the following information and more:  "The test is published for the sole purpose of intellectual stimulation, education and general knowledge...However, despite the first-rate information used to create this test, tests should not be considered [entirely] complete or accurate..."

Then enjoy taking the test and see if you can learn something new about yourself as I did.  The test 'measures' how you use both the left side and right side of your brain.  What I found helpful was the six thinking-type categories for each side, twelve in total.  All with explanations for you to evaluate.  Views on my own thinking which I had previously thought of as Left-side dominant,  I can now understand from perhaps a more clear picture divided between my 'left ways' and 'right ways'.  In sum, I understand for the first time in my life that I am actually a Right-side dominant individual.  Some of what I thought was left-sided thinking may actually be right-sided thinking.

I have included this 'extra credit' Link because the Art Institute of Vancouver has defined an answer to our question, "What is Creativity?"  I am simply adding their's to the growing list of 'answers'.  
They say, "Being creative or artistic doesn’t mean you know how to draw or play an instrument. Being creative is a way of thinking, a way of viewing the world. "

The quote above and the link to the test are both found on the Art Institute of Vancouver web page:

December 04, 2010

What is Creativity? Part 1: "Voices from Everyday Artists"

I thought it would be interesting to begin the exploration of this question by asking everyday artists, “what in your opinion is creativity?” I opened the question to both short answers or well thought explanations; and anything from serious to amusing. This question was posed on two different graphic art website forums. Additionally, I asked a handful of my personal artist-friends from one non art website if they wanted to add their 2cents. As you read what others say, you may hear similarities. I am allowing these to be heard for the purpose of emphasis in what others think. In order to maintain neutrality on my part, I have ordered the answers alphabetically by name. All names are substituted with numbers. Those who chose to participate vary in skill level and artistic genre. Here are many of those answers:

One said, “Creativity is being able to do without thinking- and ending up somewhere you expected to be, and somewhere you weren't expecting to be; but [you] are equally happy with...”

Two said, “For me creativity is being in the mood for creating...[It is] the ability to see new things out of old things or recombining [things]... a sigh...It would be easier to explain how a banana tastes.”

Three said, “ I work in the nude with a team of monkeys around me...”

Four said, “see:   It's a very useful site for this sort of thing.”

Five said, “There seems to be definite moods of creativity, where I'm in the frame of mind to think creatively and can focus on that alone and not be distracted by other things. When in that mood, things seem to work.

Six said, “Creativity is something that is done with the right brain and over analyzed with the left brain... Creativity is what creative people [do] intuitively”

    Two said in response to Six, “What do you mean with intuitively? It is the Muses, those entities that whisper in your ear new idea's. Mine [my Muse] stinks by the way.”
Seven  translated said, “Creativity [is] establishing an idea into reality by means of (your) imagination”

Eight (edited) said: Creativity in the sense I think you mean it is a state of mind.  [If we] leave aside [the] sterile argument about whether this is a birth or a nurtured state; in essence it is a way of looking at things. There is nothing new under the sun. So striving to be new, I believe, is the wrong emphasis. It's more a question of making [the] associations between things that are unusual. This brings me back to the way you look at, and think about things.”

Nine said, “I finally figured out an answer.  Your question.  'What is Creativity?'”

    I prompted Nine for an explanation.

Nine said, “A dog may need to be creative to escape from a back yard, but when humans try to give meaning to their world through art, it is a much higher form of creativity. Part of that higher creativity would include asking, ‘What is creativity?”
Ten said, “For myself personally, creativity is really about expanding beyond the most obvious and going for something that's more unique or unexpected. Since a lot of so-called "creative" work--be it music, art, writing, photography, design...etc can be just "paint by numbers" and following the most tried and true templates, essentially regurgitating what others have already done over and over for decades, if not centuries, it becomes easy to just piece together your influences in the most obvious way and then call it your own. It's usually easy to spot works like that if you know the source of the influences.
    So essentially there are two levels of creativity--the first level is when the average person who was never exposed to doing anything that requires a lot of creativity starts to try his hand at it for the first time. We're not just talking about what's typically considered creative, since there are other forms of creativity in daily life that has nothing to do with the arts or entertainment or design, yet still require a lot creative thinking, such as programming, engineering, marketing...etc. At the first level, it's all about learning how to create competent works that's at least acceptable and not totally embarrassing. At this level the person if often struggling to just get the technical aspects right--the craft. Even if the person is innovative and imaginative, often the craftsmanship doesn't do the ideas justice and thus the work is not up to par overall.
    The next level of creativity is when someone has learned to master the craft to a certain level, and now concentrates on imparting a unique creative vision, and this is when the work becomes the most interesting. Often at this level, the creativity extends beyond just unique ideas, but also into innovative ways to execute the work. That is possible because the person has already attained an authoritative mastery of the craft, and now can start to break the rules or revolutionize the way things are done with new techniques and approaches, setting new standards and push the medium they work in.

Eleven said, “Creativity, like the word Art, is a much overused and so devalued word. It should be saved for descriptions of the finest example of the fruits of mans ingenuity and imagination, whereas it’s often applied to banal examples of popular ‘culture’ to the extent where true examples of creativity are often lost in the morass of loudly advocated and decidedly average achievement.”

Twelve said, “I don't really try to be creative but I think I have an OK eye on composition...I just love the natural world and that comes through in my photos.”

Thirteen said, “For me, the ability to convert my visions into tangible images. Also, the ability to make connections from seemingly random ideas. I always think of the first thing Six taught me many years ago without knowing [that] he did. That connection allowed me to develop a lot of my future ideas.”

Fourteen (edited) said, I don’t understand creation (small ‘c’). If I paint a picture, was it there before me?...Will it survive me?...But the creation was only there when the image was being formed. It ceases to exist at the very moment it exists. Although the image will fade with age, creation stops there. The painting [then becomes] a part of Creation.

    Also said, "A brief moment of inspiration when something new is added to the collective consciousness.”

    And also said, “Me. A long time ago. When I had hair and...creativity??”

    Two responded to Fourteen with, “So creativity has something to do with hair. 'Hmm', [this] is why these creative artistic types have long hair.”

Fifteen said, “To come up with something original, clever, and innovative. [This] would be my quick definition.”

Sixteen said, “Most creative things are derivative. Just as with all realms of human activity we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before. Many creative people have studied others or had some kind of influence in their life that they draw upon. The real talent/genius is in making that connection or leap that the rest of us can't make.
    I don't think applying the label "creative" needs to be reserved to those with stunning talent or making breakthroughs. I often see things in boring daily life that sometimes strike me by the creative thought that went into it, whether it's subtle or flamboyant.”

Seventeen (edited) said, Creativity is the ability to generate novel solutions to problems which also have value or appropriateness; and are outside of merely being different or fanciful. Ironically I find artists, generally speaking, are some of the most uncreative people. Sometimes relying on simply being different and equating that to originality. A lot of people confuse creativity with mutation and imitation. Creativity without innovation usually lacks substance- to me anyway. An artist’s unique personal expression does not necessarily imply that it is a creative act either.
    As mentioned, artists tend to retread ideas. The literary critic Harold Bloom in his book, The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry, gives a unique twist on what it takes to be truly original. He said “…authors of real power must inevitably misread their precursors' works in order to make room for fresh imaginings.”
    So, without a unique and appropriate resolution a creative work may not be so creative after all. Just another 'same thing' in imitated form.

Eighteen said, “In my opinion, creativity is coming up with an answer to something when you're stuck.”

Nineteen said, “I have lately become somewhat wary of the word creativity. It seems to have become an elusive gift that everyone aspires to and the certain 'creative types' are usually envied by the more mortal humans. Well, in my very humble opinion, creativity is nothing but self-expression. The way I see it, any painter, animator, musician, actor (etc.) good at his work and envied for being so creative is not doing anything but expressing himself in the best manner possible for him.”

Twenty (edited) said, My thoughts on creativity [are] doing something tangible with an idea conceived in ones mind. It could be something envisioned or perceived from another object. For example, should you find a unique design on the beach or in the forest and want to create your own impression of it. You can do so digitally by taking a photo, or use a carving knife and create it in wood.

Twenty One said, “Honestly I created the flock of seagulls hairdo in my bathroom when I was 13 before I ever knew what the band was or how lame they were...I thought I was so original and creative.  [When] I showed my mom...she laughed, showed me a picture and enlightened me about the band. I think in that moment of discovery I felt the most creative I [had] ever been. [When] my mom shattered my world [that was] the lowest. Now I just look back and laugh.”

Twenty Two said, “Creativity I would say is [the] ability to think 'out of the box' so to speak; to be able to go away from your usual routines and come up with new, fresh, [and] different ideas.”

If you would like to add your 2cents on givng an answer to the question, "What is Creativity?", please feel free to do so by leaving a comment.

November 30, 2010

Combining Dr. Seuss with Zentangles

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, I am utilizing Zentangles into my sketchbook.  I am also focusing on books by the King of Nonsense- Dr Seuss.  From the POV of both illustration and creative writing his work is a delicious plate-full of delightful imagination.  Currently, my sketchbook has the following goals:

1.  Getting back to basics and comfortable again with one or two drawing tools
2.  Drawing becomes fun and relaxing
3.  Draw, Draw, that drawing becomes part of my everyday life
4.  Drawing with imagination

This may sound like a lot of goals, but the Zentangle method is accomplishing numbers 1-3 together, and my current  focus on Dr Seuss applies to number 4.  My sketchbook does not include any drawing of real life figures at this time. 
Here are a few examples from my sketchbook.  If you do not know, it is in one's sketchbook where mistakes can be made. Things don't necessarily need to make sense (artistically) because you are working out an idea.  Technique doesn't need to be wowing because you are learning and growing in technique.  These images are presented with no intention to be impressive; but are simply examples of how my drawing, and thinking, and emotions are moving towards my goal.  
This final image is my version of a Groff found in Dr. Seuss' book Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!
Interestingly, I did not set out to create a cute and cuddly creature.  Dr. Seuss' Groff is not cute and cuddly.  I do not think of myself  as one who draws cuddly things.  In fact, I would not have known how to approach that kind of illustration.  It just happened.  It is a combination of Dr. Seuss and Zentangle.  And demonstrates the importance of maintaining a sketchbook. 

Escape from the digital realm for awhile and return to the basics if you need to.  Make your sketchbook a priority. I've read that encouragement so many times from so many sources.  Now that I'm actually doing it I'm seeing and feeling the benefit, and it is good.

The following were used in the images above:
400 Series sketchbook [60 1b./lightly textured/archival quality/premium-recycled paper]
Pigma Micron 01 (.25mm) Blk pen [pigmented/archival quality/non-bleeding ink]
Graphite Drawing pencil [H hardness]
Colored Pencils

Did You Know?
Theodor Seuss Geisel was Dr. Seuss' real name.  He was born in 1904 and died in 1991.  He attended Dartmouth College from 1921-1925 where he became involved in the college humor magazine Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern.  As the result of being penalized for drinking during the Prohibition Laws of the time, he was forced out of all extra curricular activities in college- including the Jack-O-Lantern.  To maintain involvement with the magazine he began using the pen name "Seuss".  Following graduation at Dartmouth, Seuss enrolled in and intended to continue his education at Oxford to obtain a doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature [hence the title Dr].  But while there, he met his wife and returned to the US without a degree.
Seuss submitted both humor articles and illustrations to established periodicals such as Vanity Fair, The Saturday Evening Post, and Life magazine.  During the Great Depression era, he was involved in drawing advertisement for such companies as Standard Oil, General Electric, and NBC.  With the advent of WWII Seuss began drawing political cartoons.  He was very critical of the isolationist movement within the US, and other issues.  Beginning in 1942 Geisel supported the war effort in a variety of ways; he was even a Commander in the Army over the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the USA AF.  He received the Legion of Merit award for his service.  His military work then transferred into the civilian scene and won an Academy Award for both Documentary Feature and Animated Short Film.  Following the war he returned to writing children's books.  He was turned down by 27 publishers!  It was in the mid 1950's when a textbook editor with Houghton Mifflin asked Geisel to write a book using certain words that first graders should know but did not, statistically speaking, and "bring back a book children can't put down"... 

Now Spot and Jane had lost their fame, and
Doctor Seuss became his name.
(written in trochaic tetrameter  )

As mentioned, Dr. Seuss published cartoons before authoring children's books.  His cartoons were his expressions on the current social-political scene.  Therefore, his children's stories carry some themes and many characters which originated in his cartoon era.  Examples:  ballooned whales, long cows with many legs and udders, the tower of turtles, Yertle the Turtle was Adolf Hitler- according to Seuss himself,  two men with connecting beards represented the connection of Nazism and American Isolationists [according to Geisel], elephants for India, insects with huge stingers represented Allied aircraft, and the star-bellied Sneetches story.
Unlike us, Theodor Seuss Geisel pronounced Seuss as we would say 'soyce or soice'.  And despite his success as an author of 44 children's books, he had no children of his own.

All information in the Did You Know section was gathered from Wikipedia

November 25, 2010

What is Art?....(Is it Truly in the Eye of the Beholder?)

Happy Thanksgiving to reader's from the US!

One of the creativity blogs I'm following is Gurney Journey by Dinotopia creator James Gurney.  His latest post is of interest to my own journey here on Odyssey.  He explores philosopher Denis Dutton's theory of beauty based on Darwinian Theory.  Gurney shares a You Tube video of Dutton's theory in a TED lecture format featuring the white-board animation work of Andre Park .  He then evaluates that theory through  viewpoints from aesthetic philosopher Edmund Burke and author Leo Tolstoy's essay What is Art?

I found this discussion quite apt as I prepare my own question, "What is Creativity?".  I am inclined to find myself on the side of Gurney, and quote from his post here:
"Far more convincing—and useful— is Tolstoy’s notion that art is the deliberate transmission of emotion. It applies to dance, theater, painting, music, and all other forms. And it is immensely practical to the working artist, because it provides a clear test for the aesthetic value of a particular work."
The following sources include a link to the post on Gurney Journey in its entirety, and the sources used in that entry.

From the blog of Gurney Journey: Darwinian Theory of Beauty
"What is Art?" Essay, by Leo Tolstoy, 1897, Wikipedia
Aesthetic Philosophy -including that of Edmund Burke from Wikipedia
Dennis Dutton TED lecture from You Tube
What is a TED lecture? (Technology Entertainment and Design) on Wikipedia

November 22, 2010

Bluedwarf Studio

Bluedwarf Studio has been temporarily unpublished as it under goes a change of host.   Thank you for your patience.

November 18, 2010

I Hear a Light In the Dark, #1

Artistically, I am returning to my sketchbook in a focused manner of renewal. Since I transferred my creative energies into the digital arena- excitedly adding one application after another as my pocketbook allowed- it seems that the good foundations of drawing maintained with a sketchbook got pushed aside.

Regardless of the wonderful worlds I can go to with digital tools, at the heart of it all I love to draw!  So quite recently, I picked up a few new books with the hope that they would help me return to drawing with a vengeance. As the very first post for this category, "I Hear a Light in the Dark", I want to pass on a super little book that is taking my drawing to exciting new places.  This book is Totally Tangled by Sandy Steen Bartholomew,  published by Design Originals, 2010.

Totally Tangled is a softcover book with only 51 pages. It introduces you to a method of drawing called Zentangle, and is written for both artists and non artists.  The purpose of this drawing method is to draw patterns in a meditative manner, and therefore help you reduce anxiety and become more confident in your drawing abilities.  The book itself is not presented in a step by step process, but is open ended offering good flexibility.  Make sure to check out the website and have a good look into what tangling is all about:

I have two images here.  As a beginner in tangling, the first image is an example of some of the initial patterns the book shows. The second image is a thumbnail of one of the very first drawings that then came naturally to me.  Simply as a result of following the Zentangle idea.  For the first time, I'm drawing with imagination that I've longed for and have a foundation to build from.  This transformation happened literally overnight.  Should you try this method, I hope you too will find a renewed ability in your drawing.  That your work will experience a spark of imagination that you did not have before.  That you will rediscover your sketchbook as a very pleasurable and relaxing tool.  Sketching has now become my favorite way to unwind! 

If you are visiting this page as a photographer, or as an artist other than a visual artist and believe you cannot draw- then give the Zentangle method a try.  Maybe you too will find the 'zen' aspect as contagiagious as I have.

I used the following in both images: 
400 series sketchbook [60lb./light texture/acid free/premium recycled paper] , 
Pigma Micron 01 (.25mm) black pen [pigmented/archival quality/non-bleeding]
drawing pencil [of H hardness].
I used colored pencils in image #2