Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Creativity’

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust

This post is dedicated to my daughter who “got” Proust before she was twenty. I couldn’t get much further than the first sentence of “Swann’s Way” the first of seven volumes of “In Search Of Lost Time” (although, in my defence, the sentence was three pages long.)

I didn’t manage to read Proust’s novel(s) in English, let alone French, but with the help of my daughter I am better able than otherwise to enjoy and appreciate his (and her) reflections. As some wit remarked “they would rather visit demented relatives than read Proust”. I understand the sentiment and I am very lucky to have had some of his themes explained to me and discussed in contexts I understand.

Although memory, especially involuntary memory, is the main theme of Proust’s work, it is the idea that if we understand our life experiences and know how they affect us and change us, and we can use those changes to transform ourselves, that has me punching the air saying “yes!”

Now, I didn’t explain that very well, so I was really pleased to find this quote from Proust, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”.

I can apply that to so many of my experiences, from the traumatic to the seemingly trivial. And i think I can see how Proust spoke to my daughter. She was four when I damaged my spinal cord, and she adapted her life around whatever I could offer her. (As did my sons, and they too would probably “get” Proust if they ever decided to read his work.)

Some of my real voyages of discovery:

One of the most important lessons I have ever learned was after I lost my mobility – don’t let the things you can’t do stop you from doing the things you can do.

When my twin sons were babies I learnt that housework doesn’t matter. It will always be there, but your babies will grow up. (Or I needed to sleep more than I needed to vacuum.)

I learned that if I walked at the same pace as my toddlers we could all see the caterpillar in the grass.

Teenagers are extraordinarily receptive to exploring all sorts of ideas, from politics to ethics to science … They like to share their discoveries, and I learned to listen.

I learned that dreams come true, but my dream of walking has required determination, persistence and commitment. And creative thinking, by me or by others.

I have lots of art projects on the go all the time. I have learned that this is a good thing because something I read or hear or see adds to my experience and even the most subtle change can enlighten or inspire me to bring something more or different to what I am working on.

Writing focuses and clarifies my thinking, and often helps me look at issues from new perspectives.

I find myself wondering more and more how many opportunities I miss to learn about myself and others. This is not a bad thing. My mind is opening.

By expressing myself in art, no matter how skilled I am, I am translating to another medium an aspect of who I am and what I see. Art makes it easier to have new eyes.

I’ve also learned that those few words defining a real voyage of discovery have provoked me to think carefully about what “having new eyes” really means.

The Real Voyage of Discovery

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

In my last post “I Am What I Think and Do” I wrote:

Dreaming is easy. Processing and focussing your thoughts, then taking action requires effort and hard work. Your goals and how you achieve them help define who you are and who you can become. So although the progression to self development and self awareness through dreams, thought and action might be linear, it isn’t simple. It requires some effort to sort the tangled messages.

The next step is to wrap it up with a big bow and colour it in rainbow colours because life is a gift and it’s up to us who we become.

Well here is the image gift wrapped with the message in the colours of the rainbow

Life is a gift, and it’s up to us what we do with it.

Read Full Post »

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world”

Recently I have come across a lot of bucket lists. I am inspired not by the lists, but by the people who are sharing their accomplishments as they achieve their goals. The young man who is cycling from Canada to Mexico, the woman who has published her fifty thousand word novel … These people are focussed. They have thought about what they want to do, made a plan, then acted on it. They may not be changing the world in the way that Mother Theresa did, or Gandhi, but they’ve changed their world and the worlds of people they’ve encountered.

I am fortunate to have time every day to do what I choose to do. But how am I choosing to use that time? I am busy. I go to the gym, I read, I draw, I design graphics, I write a little and I think a lot.

I believe we are defined by our actions, but without purpose our actions are just a means of passing time. By changing the way we think and act we change who we are … we change who we are, we change the way we think. But it’s not a closed loop, or even the infinite figure eight. It’s a linear progression:

I have realised a dream. I have always wanted to express myself creatively in images but have lacked the skills and medium to do this. Now I can combine my love of letters and words and images with the satisfaction I get from exploring ideas and concepts. Creating a calligram allows me to take something intangible and turn it into an image with a message that conveys far more than any number of words I might use. It may provide entertainment or pleasure or a challenge to others, even inspire or change their thinking. An image is powerful. It can have immediate impact, or it can be subtle, or require time to think about, and lead to other ideas.

Dreaming is easy. Processing and focussing your thoughts, then taking action requires effort and hard work. your goals and how you achieve them help define who you are and who you can become. So although the progression to self development and self awareness through dreams, thought and action might be linear, it isn’t simple. It requires some effort to sort the tangled messages:

The next step is to wrap it up with a big bow and colour it in rainbow colours because life is a gift and it’s up to us who we become.

Creating a calligram challenges me and expands my thinking. While I am creating, my mind free wheels and other related or unrelated ideas take shape. While thinking through all these ideas it occurs to me, that although I have no bucket list, I have three things I am desperate to achieve. First, for thirty years I have loved having time with my children and I intend to continue investing everything I can in them. Second, for nearly twenty years I have been determined to walk and I will continue to do everything needed to improve and maintain my mobility. Third, I will do everything I can to return to Tuscany with my husband while I am still mobile, he is able to carry all my bags, and we can plan and explore its art and history together.

So I can either pass the time while I’m doodling and playing with words and shapes, or I can use it as an opportunity to think … to plan my day, reflect on my ambitions, or explore something inspirational that I’ve heard or read and think about how I might apply it to my life.

Enough. A time to write, a time to draw and a time to progress my plans.

Otherwise it’s only dreams:

Read Full Post »

It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, so that got me thinking about how we celebrate it and why.

One story goes that a Roman Emperor wanted his soldiers to focus solely on war, so he forbade marriage. A priest called Valentine defied the ban and continued to marry couples in secret. The priest’s subversion was discovered and he was put to death.

The romantic celebration of St Valentine’s apparently began in the 14th century when Chaucer associated the saint with romance in his poetry. Around the same time Paris set up a court to protect women. The court dealt with love contracts, betrayals and violence against women. The earliest surviving valentine was written by a Frenchman to his wife:
Je suis desja d’amour tanné
Ma tres doulce Valentinée…
—Charles d’Orléans, Rondeau VI, lines 1–2[27]
Aaah, French, the language of love!

By the eighteenth century, books of poems were published so that young lovers unable to compose their own poetry could draw on these. Paper valentines began to be mass produced and with the beginnings of a postal service anonymous valentines could be sent.

So here we are in the 21st century, and what does Valentine’s day mean now? Huge numbers of red roses delivered to schools, offices and homes. Jewellery stores advertising, diamonds, rings, necklaces. Stationers selling vast numbers of romantic, funny, cynical and friendship cards. It’s competitive, desperate, disappointing, exciting, exploitative … It’s for children, teenagers, lovers, couples, young and old.

It can be a day to declare your romantic intentions, to arouse passions, to ignite love, or simply a special day to rekindle romance.

The days leading up to Valentine’s can be a time to reflect on love, relationships and the glue that holds couples together.

A few images to expand on these thoughts about Valentines:

What is love?

What is love?

Love can be a smouldering fire, to be rekindled with fresh air … or extinguished through neglect:

Smouldering love

Then there is the passion we all yearn for, the heart on fire:

Heart on Fire

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Read Full Post »

My gallery of original artwork is now continually updated as a page. This page can be found as a tab at the very top of the page above the banner, along with “About Me” and “about Spinal Cord Injuries” (since February 2012). It’s much more iinteresting than either of these. Please check it out.

Here is my artwork posted til then:

Welcome to my gallery of original artwork, calligrams. The word calligram means “beautiful writing”, probably because the letters and words are arranged into an image. It is sometimes called concrete poetry. I prefer to describe it as visual poetry. From most recent:

Calligram – The Beginning of Love

Calligram – Reach For THe Sky

Calligram – Music Breaks My Heart

Calligram – Music Sets Fire To Your Soul

Calligram – Music Sets My Heart On Fire

Calligram – Life Is A Gift

I Am What I Think And Do

Calligram – Just Another Dream

Just Another Dream

Calligram – I Dream Therefore I Am:

I Am What I Think And Do

Calligram – Lost in the music:

Calligram – One more for Valentine’s Day:

Valentine’s Rose

Calligrams – For Valentine Day:

Heart On Fire

For Valentine Day

What Is Love

Calligram – The Sweet Sleep – Anastheasia

Sweet Sleep – Anastheasia

Calligram – Adversity, Forging Steel In Great Heat

A Christmas Calligram

Calligram – Blood Diamond

Calligram – Blow Your Own Trumpet

Calligram – Bubbles

Calligram – Let Your Heart Sing

Calligram – Reach High, Dream Deep

Calligrams – Destiny
The next two are meant to be viewed together as one work:

Read Full Post »

I am exploring the power of visual poetry.

My friend and I were sharing our thoughts on the meaning of “character”. Our thoughts can be summed up as
Watch your thoughts, they become your words,
watch your words, they become your actions,
watch your actions, they become your habits
watch your habits, they become your character
watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

This was a “light bulb” moment for me, and I immediately saw how powerfully this message could be conveyed using visuals, and turning this into visual poetry – a calligram, or calligrams.

Take two extremes of people whose thoughts, words and actions changed the world:

Calligram – Hitler’s Destiny

Hitler was a destructive tornado, a cold dangerous wind that blew through Europe. The power of his words swept ordinary people into acts of bigotry, hatred and cruelty. The character and destinies of millions were changed.

Calligram – Gandhi’s Destiny

Gandhi was committed to non-violence, human freedom, equality and justice. His ideals of truth and non-violence led to acts of passive resistance. His words and actions sent ripples of change around the world. Ripples that continue to remind us of alternatives to war and military action.

Words can inspire, but combined with typography or calligraphy, colours and shapes, transformed to visual poetry, become powerful and provocative.

Other poetry – calligram posts:
Calligrams – Visual Poetry
Blood Diamonds
A Christmas Calligram
Poetry – Calligrams

Read Full Post »

More calligrams!
A `calligram` is a poem, phrase, or word in which the typeface, calligraphy or handwriting is arranged in a way that creates a visual image. The image created by the words expresses visually what the word, or words, say.

Since I found out about calligrams and poetry I have played around with the idea of calligrams, letting it cook for a while in my sub-conscious, taking it out every now and then, and now I’ve come out with a few images that I like.
First was the Christmas calligram, then a Blood Diamond.

I have a few phrases that resonate with my soul, and inspired more calligrams

“Something that makes my heart sing” This can be music, or a painting, or sculpture that moves me to tears or laughter, or something I’ve read or heard about that inspires me or gives me something to aspire to. Or it might simply be a memory. Or feeling proud of my children and their achievements.

“Reaching for the stars” I love the image of a star as being something to reach for, dream about and that inspires goals. There’s something about the infinity of the night sky broken by pin pricks of light that makes me want to reach out past the world I know and search for more – needing to know more, do more, be more.


“Blowing your own trumpet” We’re not supposed to do this. But sometimes I’m so darn happy that I’ve been finally able to move a muscle or make a movement that shouldn’t be possible after damaging my spinal cord all those years ago, that I just have to let the joy out!


I love watching people blowing bubbles. Well, I love watching both the person and the bubbles. I recently blew coloured bubbles onto canvas, and it was fun. There is something amazing about a bubble. That it can exist, even for a few moments, is incredible. And each one contains a small rainbow, floating and shining.

Watch this space for more …

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »