Imagination’s travels

Some places you can only visit through art. Forests are not pink or violet. And yet sometimes one feels they ought to be. We do not love Nature any the less when we dress her up to suit our occasional fancy for color.

Dreams are occurrences of nature too. We are parts of nature also. Our imaginations arise as a force of nature.


On words & writing

I write like I paint. I see something, I describe it. Later when a word seems wrong I swap it out for another. The thesaurus becomes a good friend. It’s a field guide to words. Each word, like a familiar or an exotic bird, has its near relations. Follow the word and it will take you to its unique habitat of thoughts. Once you’re inside the habitat, well — there’s no telling what you’ll find. If you’re like me, you may get lost admiring the habitat’s flora and fauna and forget the original thing that was the goal of your search.

What was the question again?

Words are like colors in the artist’s palette, too. Some words are especially lovely just as some colors are keen and bright. When I find a lovely word, one whose meaning rolls out intriguing imagery or whose sounding beguiles, I just want to use it for its own marvelous sake alone. Art for art’s sake … words for words’ sake.

English is a big capacious language — in no small part because its speakers, like magpies, are always stealing. We fold the words of other languages into English, give them hearty welcome, and sometimes use them with such alacrity that they seem to be entirely our own possession. We forget that once upon a time we stole the words from someone else.

Plant words like seeds in a garden and see what sprouts. Give them the warm light of your admiration. Create a fertile soil with much reading and thinking. Even if the produce of your planting turns out to be weeds, know that those native plants are extraordinarily well adapted and hearty.

I began with a metaphor about birds. I didn’t forget. So, there’s a bird above. Exotic bird. Made of glass, “a hard, brittle substance, typically transparent or translucent.” Synonyms are few for “glass,” but it has lots of related adjectival companions: clear, transparent, crystalline, translucent, limpid, pellucid, unclouded.

The picture above is clouded rather than unclouded, but it has its glass-like elements. The water is a mirror that reflects, refracts, echoes the light falling on its moving surface. In life. Of course a picture doesn’t move. And neither do words, once you set them into place.

But thoughts move. Thoughts, restless, are constantly changing like weather. Thoughts and their words move so feel free to chase them. Never know where they’ll lead.

Collage of Citrus Fruits

I have been using collage to learn ways of simplifying images. As to the simplification, it appears that I still have much to learn. But I am enjoying collage nonetheless. I guess it’s just natural that the medium should reflect my natural tendency to make things complicated.

As with all the things I do, drawing plays a role. I have made numerous sometimes idle drawings of the motif in spare moments. These are probably the true route to simplicity for me. Here’s one of those drawings, this one made using colored pencils.

Moving Mountains, One Clump at a Time

Mountains are ungainly large and difficult to move so if you want to move a mountain it’s helpful to break it into pieces and move it one piece at a time. That’s what I’ve done here.

If you’ve ever read this blog, you might recall this mountain scene which began with some small drawings including the one below.

I have obsessively drawn this modest mountain lots of times. And it has transformed into a painting measuring 30 x 40, but the painting is having an identity crisis, so I abjure reproducing it here at present. We’ll let the painting have some privacy for the moment.

Hope anyone reading this sometime blog finds topics of interest. May life treat you well. Be sure to notice all the visual splendor around you.