Thursday, April 23, 2015

Art Cards

"Peace," front of card, (2 inches by 3 and 1/2 inches)

"Peace," back of card, (2 inches by 3 and 1/2 inches)

When I swim, meditation is an automatic response. It has something to do with the rhythm; stroke right, stroke left, repeat, breathe, and stroke right, stroke left, repeat, breathe, over and over. Also, waves in repetition of refracted and reflected sunlight on the pool bottom, glimpses of sky, clouds and treetops as I breathe contribute an alternating variation to the rhythmic pattern. The result is something like a runner’s high, an altered state in which I feel as though I am in tune with God and the universe(s). In fact a tuning fork is also an excellent metaphor because of its precise sound waves. Touch the fork to water and watch it create a series of waves radiating in concentric circles. So, I am in tune with the universe and God when I swim. However, I do not communicate with God as many Christians claim. Who am I to suppose such a thing. I am but one man, swimming in a sea of humanity lost in an infinite ocean of universes.

There is a method to the madness in the discourse above. I am trying to explain how I arrived at the decision to make Art Cards. During my swimming meditations I often feel infinitesimally small, not in a bad way, but as though I were but one atomic particle carried on the sound / water waves in universes vast beyond comprehension. I also feel warm inside, “loved.” Being so small, but loved, I often wonder how I might do anything that has influence on the almost equally small (on a universal scale) sea of humanity. During one such swimming meditation, the idea for Art Cards popped into my head completely finished, as though they already existed, though of course they did not. The cards were each to be one word, or a very limited word phrase. They were to express however inadequately the sense of being in tune and loved that I have during my swimming meditation. They were to be the same size as a business card, small and easily lost in the daily shuffle of our transactions with one another. They were to be left with people without their knowledge, on a desk, in a mailbox, on a counter in a store, under a windshield wiper. This card, ‘PEACE’ is the first in the series. I tried to make color and the horizontal design emphasize the abstract concept, and I added phrases - parts of the definition of the word, and its application in social process - these fading into the background. At the same time, the letters P - E - A - C - E almost fade into the white haze at the card's center, to emphasize how difficult it is to obtain peace in any one of its many permutations, personally, socially or politically. I hope slipping the cards unobtrusively into the hands of others will in some small way influence the zeitgeist, or social spirit of humanity.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mardi Gras Rex

During February, my husband and I went to New Orleans for his nephew’s wedding. We were there for part of Mardi Gras, the world’s biggest party. It was amazing how obsessed we were about catching the bead necklaces thrown from the various parade floats. During Mardi Gras going to musical venue,  parades, catching beads, eating and drinking consumes the entire population. In fact these are so much more important than wars, politics, murder and mayhem to the partying population during Mardi Gras - I have a feeling they are also more important to the citizens of New Orleans all year long -  that I am recommending the entire world be put on a New Orleans Mardi Gras schedule 24/7. If that could be accomplished we would have the beauty pageant coveted ideal "world peace."

While attending the parades, we took many photos with our iPhones. Looking through those photos I decided to make a photomontage, something I haven’t done in quite a while. I isolated about 15 photos that I liked best, most of them from Bacchus, Proteus and Orpheus parades. I used parts of each image, sometimes reversing the image left to right, occasionally taking just one small item that I wanted in the finished montage. Some layers were made transparent so that you can see through to parts of the images below. I played with these images and layers for 2 hours using Adobe Photoshop to adjust the image until completely satisfied that the Mardi Gras party spirit was captured. The final result is Mardi Gras Rex. The actual preferred printed image is 12 inches wide by 10 inches high, though it can be printed in other sizes. This is a smaller jpeg image, but it carries the Mardi Gras party excitement  just as much as does the larger Mardi Gras Rex.