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Thread: Zen of Creativity Chapter 6

  1. #1

    Zen of Creativity Chapter 6

    Chapter Six Jeweled Mirror

    In this chapter John Daido Loori is instructing us on how to be a ‘creative audience’. Certainly, a similar process to opening our creativity for the purpose of making art. This is different from ‘criticism’, this is exploring artwork in an intuitive, open way. Experiencing it without words, thought, memories and just seeing where the art takes us. How a work of art makes us FEEL. And thus, discovering what sort of impact our work has on others.

    There is certainly a place for art criticism. French poet and philosopher Paul Valéry defined art criticism as “..a form of literature which condenses or amplified, emphasizes or arranges or attempts to bring into harmony all the ideas that come to the mind when it is confronted by artistic phenomena”. But this creative audience is more personal, more a direct response from our peers to our art.

    It is important to be comfortable with the group of people we choose. To feel safe and trusting. We all know how easily we can be discouraged, even made to feel terribly inadequate when having our work analyzed, criticized, examined and discussed in harsh and rough terms.

    Although I’ve had my artwork critiqued by arts professionals over my career (which never fails to terrify me), I’ve not been part of such a group as this. I do have friends I can ask to look at certain pieces to get their opinion, but they are all people I trust and know they are sincere and honest. I do want honesty, not someone telling me what they think I want to hear. But as an aspiring writer, I’ve been a member of a ‘writers support group’. The number of participants has ranged from 5 to 7 over the years. I’ve learned so much from this group. And there was never any negative feedback. Not allowed! Never a negative atmosphere. We discussed what worked and why. I learned and grew from this association. It was also a wonderful impetus for me to write.

    So from my experience there is great advantage to having a group of people we trust to let us know if we are accomplishing what we intend to accomplish with our artwork.
    What about your experiences with feedback? Please share.

    I think being an artist makes us very vulnerable, we put ourselves out in the world in a way that no one else does.


    MEITOU'S PROMPT


    Hello everyone and welcome to the prompt for Chapter 6.

    As Anne has pointed out above, this chapter looks at creative feedback – but worry not, this prompt will not be asking you to critique the work of other members in this group, or indeed your own work – although we may come back to that at a later date. Instead I'd like us to enter into this frame of thinking in a simpler and more direct way.

    After having carefully read through the chapter and the exercises described by Evelyn Underhill and JDL, I'd like you to cast your mind back to something you have read, seen, heard, experienced, that affected you profoundly and then try to express how it made you feel. I've found that often it's a 'first' – the first book, poem, song, film, image that really moved something within me, something that resonated really deeply, that changed my way of thinking or my outlook. This response, more often than not, can be elusive when trying to capture it in words, unquantifiable, ineffable – and I feel that it's precisely this that distinguishes it from critique or opinion.

    I've always liked this quote from French writer Albert Camus ( which obviously applies equally to women!)
    “ A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”

    Can you find again one, two or three things which opened your heart? Write as much or as little as you want and perhaps add an image or link to the work that inspired you. Let all judgement and more importantly, fear of judgement drop away, let your feelings shape the words and liberate them – and of course, have fun.


    We are both so grateful for your interest and participation in this project. So much to learn from each other!
    Gassho

    Anne & Meitou


    webothsattoday

  2. #2
    Hi,

    I don’t like reading or writing very much (I do a lot of it at work) and never had much use for things like Facebook or Twitter. I was thrilled to find Instagram that uses mostly pictures as a form of communication. This was about 7 months ago and I been having a blast communicating this way.

    This is my flying turtle:

    IMG_0060.jpg

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  3. #3

    Zen of Creativity Chapter 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    So from my experience there is great advantage to having a group of people we trust to let us know if we are accomplishing what we intend to accomplish with our artwork.
    What about your experiences with feedback? Please share.

    I think being an artist makes us very vulnerable, we put ourselves out in the world in a way that no one else does.

    Hi,

    I am surrounded by supportive people that give me a lot of room to be very creative. It goes back to my mother (Jewish mother) telling me that I could do anything (supportive). I tend to surround myself with very kind people that I trust (family, Treeleafers and just a few friends), all of whom I trust.

    Regarding creativity, it is something natural to me. My family and friends have gotten used to it as it can be very humorous but also very annoying. With words I am constantly “clanging” (associating words by sound vs concepts) out loud. I also loose associate (associate with loosely held concepts) all the time. It makes it difficult to follow me but I can pull it together when I need to. I rather be “free” and without the restraints of linear logical thinking. It’s just more fun. I guess I have problems not being creative (childish thinking?).

    There is a book by a PhD with a mood disorder “Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament” that is interesting and goes into people with mood disorders and creativity. Clanging and loose association are forms of thinking that are often seen in people with psychiatric difficulties (me).

    All of us have some narcissism, it’s just a matter of degree. My mother told me I could do anything, so I believed her and I do things a lot of the time without fear of criticism. Criticism does not stop me like it may others. I am not sure how on point I am discussing this question.

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    Last edited by Jishin; 08-06-2019 at 11:59 AM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post




    Can you find again one, two or three things which opened your heart? Write as much or as little as you want and perhaps add an image or link to the work that inspired you. Let all judgement and more importantly, fear of judgement drop away, let your feelings shape the words and liberate them – and of course, have fun.

    Hi,

    I am not really sure. There is so much out there that is interesting when we slow down to look at it. Artistic words I like are mostly from songs that I can listen to like “Imagine” by John Lennon as I do not like to read. As a child I lived in São Paulo, Brazil and across the street was the Modern Museum of Art where the neighborhood kids would hang out after playing soccer. I guess I was very lucky to have had access to great art as a kid.

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  5. #5

    Zen of Creativity Chapter 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Hi,

    I don’t like reading or writing very much (I do a lot of it at work) and never had much use for things like Facebook or Twitter. I was thrilled to find Instagram that uses mostly pictures as a form of communication. This was about 7 months ago and I been having a blast communicating this way.

    This is my flying turtle:

    IMG_0060.jpg

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    This post is classic off the wall stuff for me. The best I can explain it is I enjoy taking pictures and loosely associate discussions about art with pictures I take because I like photography so much. The fact that it is not directly on point does not bother me too much (benign touch of narcissism).

    It’s a loose association that can be annoying to some, fun to others and make perfect sense to a minority of people I suspect.

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    Last edited by Jishin; 08-06-2019 at 12:01 PM.

  6. #6
    Hi,

    This belongs in another part of the creativity discussion but I will put it here since it may be more appropriate.

    This is the creative process that went into the turtle picture above:

    Intrigue by images.

    Money to burn (photography can be very expensive although today's smartphones take amazing pictures making expensive photo equipment almost obsolete).

    Propensity for addiction but it's better than being hooked on alcohol (in recovery for 20 years).

    Creativity.

    Lots of study. About 300 hours of online courses in photography and using software for post editing like Lightroom.

    Lots of practice.

    Luck.

    I was in a dark room in a Zoo and they had a turtle exhibit. The turtle was going fast towards the top to get some air and I wanted to freeze her in action and not get a blurry picture. I had my settings to get the most light possible (the pupil of the camera was wide open) and at the same time I set the shutter speed of the camera to fast (like blinking the eye fast to catch a very small period of time of the turtle movement to "freeze" its motion). I was using an expensive camera and I knew that the camera would probably compensate for this mixture of settings and the picture not come out too dark or if it did I could fix it by lighting it up in post processing. I was able to get several pictures of the turtle and when home I examined them. I liked this one and played with the lighting. The picture was indeed a little dark but I could lighten it up to show the background quite nicely. But I played it the other way to see what would happen. I was able to make all the background turn black and also some of the foreground and only the very bright areas remained. I liked it how it turned out and so it was.

    In way of a supporting environment, my family is kind enough "enable" my new addiction by mostly leaving me undisturbed when I am playing with photos. Other people that I know (like treleafers such as Anne and Meitou don't criticize the stuff I put on Instagram and "like" the stuff they like and this is reinforcing.) My family just sort of ignores me in a benign way, mostly saying it looks ok and sometimes more.

    Thats story behind the "Flying Turtle".

    Gasho, ST
    Last edited by Jishin; 08-06-2019 at 01:35 PM.

  7. #7
    Jishin,

    You have several things going for you. A supportive family starting as a child! huge. (My mother didn't think I could do anything.) And the continuing support of family and friends. An early exposure to art. And you have natural curiosity about the world around you and a very good eye! One thing about photographers they are always on the look out for the perfect shot (' the decisive moment' a la Henri Cartier-Bresson), so most are keen observers.

    And all that comes together for you to produce the amazing image of a flying turtle. wacky! beautiful! And just the right amount of disturbing. The ominous black background/foreground, the turtle coming from who knows where, above? below? radioactive colors all add the its mystique and surreal beauty. thanks, Jishin. Fine work!

    bowing...
    Anne

    ~st~

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    making expensive photo equipment almost obsolete).
    I'm not too sure about that

    Gassho Kyotai
    Still havent sat



    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    I am a student at Treeleaf. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. Gassho

  9. #9
    Thank you Anne! You are too kind.

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyotai View Post
    I'm not too sure about that

    Gassho Kyotai
    Still havent sat



    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk


    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  11. #11
    Wow Jishin what great insights, so much here to think about and such a great discussion. Just now I'm without a computer, so it's difficult to get all that I want to post together via my little phone or comment more than this. Hopefully I'll be back to normal (wherever that is!) tomorrow.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  12. #12
    I've written elsewhere in the art forum about my negative experiences with clumsy critique, but briefly, as most people won't have read it, I went to art school in the early 70's and as an inexperienced and vulnerable 18 year old I found criticism very hard to take. The period in which I attended this particular school is considered now as its Golden Age and I'm only sorry now that I failed to capitalise on that. But to be fair, I don't think that tutors back then, although many of them brilliant artists and designers in their own fields, were necessary skilled teachers, in that they didn't follow up criticism with advice. I find this quite bizarre looking back. During my foundation year, a kind of try out year in which we were encouraged to explore different disciplines - a painting tutor told me I had no sense of colour. He didn't explain what he meant or offer any kind of advice, teaching or remedial practice, so I was left, at 18 years old, thinking it would be pointless to pursue any kind of creative painting, that I had best stick to graphic monotone imagery and would do better to apply myself to graphic design. All because of what amounted to an off the cuff remark and my timidity in not asking for clarification!
    I can see now, with 40 plus years hindsight, that while elements of the graphic design course worked well for me - photography and typography, and in complimentary studies, film making and editing, and researching art and cinema history for my theses, overall this wasn't the course for me. The tutors were all men who were very oriented toward a slick type of commercial artwork, who had (literally)no time for students feeling their way in illustration or creative design, and were all about the deadline, making the money, making a name. At the end of each project there would be a 'crit', in which they would often call in visiting professionals to critique students' work - nightmare! A lot of harsh criticism was given out ( not just to me) but I cannot remember a single instance in which there was a follow up with students to discuss how their work could improve. It was tough. So tough that it ensured that once I left, I rarely took part in any creative activity again - in fact it would be 30 years before I found the confidence to tentatively dip my toe in creative waters again. This is why most of my social media activity is about supporting and showing my appreciation of artists of every stripe and trying to say, by not being afraid to show my own stuff, that we are all creative, we just need to put down all those conditioned responses and judgements ( particularly towards ourselves) and find the heart of ourselves before all that negative thinking set in.

    As I've said in the past, I doubt that any of us at 5 years old sat in front of a piece of paper and thought 'Oooh no, I'm not good enough to draw a house'. That's where I want to be and where I want other people who lack confidence to be. It's kind of like beginners mind after all, open to every possibility.

    And I agree with you Jishin about expensive photographic equipment - a mind open to creative possibilities and a good eye will find a great shot regardless of whether you have a £2000 camera or a little old Huawei android like mine. That's my opinion. Thank you for explaining the Turtle shot, it's amazing and also works well as an illustration of what we were talking about in Chapter 5 - seeing something for what else it is. I loved that you worked with filters and effects, I've tended to do little of this but feel inspired to experiment a bit more.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  13. #13

    Zen of Creativity Chapter 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    And I agree with you Jishin about expensive photographic equipment - a mind open to creative possibilities and a good eye will find a great shot regardless of whether you have a £2000 camera or a little old Huawei android like mine.


    Here is a link to a course for $97 on iPhone photography that applies to Androids too.

    https://secure.iphonephotographyscho...-photo-academy

    Huawei makes great phones. If anyone likes the Android platform and is about to get a new Android, get the Huawei P30 Pro. It has 4 front cameras and one in the back for selfies. It can do the wide angle shot, 5x optical magnification, 10x with very little loss of quality and up to 50x (unusable for much). The wide angle can be used for macros like flowers. The current iPhone has 2 cameras in the front, a 1x and a 2x that work great. It does up to 10x magnification digitally but this is not very useable. The 2x is great for macros like flowers. The new iPhone will surely have a wide angle (3 cameras in the front) and may have greater magnification than 2x.

    It’s key to understand the difference in optical (magnification with physical lenses with little loss in quality) vs digital (magnification of image digitally with loss of a a lot of quality) magnification.

    For the great majority of pictures smartphones work great. They say that the camera you have with you when the shot pops up is your best camera and I think this is true!

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    Last edited by Jishin; 08-09-2019 at 12:35 PM.

  14. #14
    Thanks for sharing everyone - so much to think/talk about in this thread.

    Meitou, Ann - can really relate to some of those early experiences where encouragement was less that forthcoming!

    Following on from that - past adolescence I've always tried to be part of a supportive group - whether that be for art or writing.
    I do appreciate constructive criticism and seek out feedback - especially in my writing. However, I still have that nagging voice in my head that
    tells me I'm not much good at the things. Finding a voice through creative expression has become very important to me - it's not about ego - I'd be
    happy not to 'sign' my name to any of my work - it's about feeling alive in the world and putting something out there that might inspire others - even if they just relate to it on a mundane level of communality of feeling.

    An image that really moved me was at a collective show of the work from women attending a community project using art therapeutically. It was simply a piece of elastic stretched very tightly across a piece of card simply entitled 'my life'. It made me cry and still makes me cry now thinking about it. To my mind this anonymous woman had created a great piece of art conveying a deep feeling that others would relate to.

    I have a great distrust of the 'art world' and much prefer art that comes from the fringes, the outer borders, the untutored and often anonymous. Outsider art.

    I'm often moved by textiles and love ancient embroidery work - all those woman sat stitching day after day - dreams and thoughts and feelings invisibly embedded in stitches.

    Jishin - I love your description of non-linear language - clanging and loose association. Could you give us a few lines - it would be a poem.

    Chapter 6 has given me a lot to think about - could we stay here a little while as we're moving on quite fast?

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    sat today

  15. #15
    Hi all!

    At some point I think it is important to open your work to an audience and get a different perspective on what you are trying to do. That said, if someone wants to create art for their own enjoyment and never shares it with anyone, that is completely fine too! However, having an audience brings another dimension to any creative work, as other people will read different things into your work than you might have intended, and as John Daido Loori says, showing your work allows others to be touched by it. Good art communicates a feeling and for that to happen, it needs to be seen, heard or touched.

    One of the first haiku groups I was a member of had a policy of zero negativity about anyone else's work. However, it was on Facebook so the general opinion on your poem could be discerned through the number of likes and positive comments. This was great as it meant that people were not afraid to post their work. However, as I got more confident, I wanted more criticism so found other groups which did offer (mostly) helpful critique. At that point I pretty much knew the quality of my work so was able to differentiate between good and bad suggestions.

    I very much like JDL's idea of how to practice creative feedback. I wonder if we can use that on our own work, especially after a period of time has passed before its creation?

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  16. #16

    Zen of Creativity Chapter 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyo View Post

    Jishin - I love your description of non-linear language - clanging and loose association. Could you give us a few lines - it would be a poem.
    Last night my wife said “better” in a sentence.

    I then started singing

    Is it getting better?
    Or do you feel the same?
    Will it make it easier on you now?
    You got someone to blame

    (“One” from U2)

    Very loose since my only motive here was that the word better was in her sentence and then in my lyrics

    but I had no intent whatsoever in communicating anything.

    It was spontaneous and her better and my better belonged together.

    A lot of times the words may not even be the same.

    One love.

    Other times not so logical.

    Things may rhyme by sounds

    but concepts are absolutely unrelated.

    Maybe bad Jazz, bad Poetry (you have a point)

    or good insanity is the closest to it.

    —- while writing the above the musical notes of the song One where clanging in my head with an influence on this explanation.

    She told me to stop BTW as she was not in the mood.

    It would have sound it better

    If you were there to see it.

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    Last edited by Jishin; 08-11-2019 at 02:27 PM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post

    I then started singing

    Is it getting better?
    Or do you feel the same?
    Will it make it easier on you now?
    You got someone to blame

    (“One” from U2)
    I would love to hear Jishin's version of this song! I'm sure your sining is as good as your photography!

    Gassho Kyotai
    ST



    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    I am a student at Treeleaf. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. Gassho

  18. #18
    I think it's good. Others strongly disagree.



    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  19. #19
    Ok Jishin, I have to date myself. Better...

    It's getting better all the time
    I used to get mad at my school (No, I can't complain)
    The teachers who taught me weren't cool (No, I can't complain)
    You're holding me down
    Turning me round
    Filling me up with your rules
    I've got to admit it's getting better (Better)
    A little better all the time (It can't get no worse)
    I have to admit it's getting better (Better)
    It's getting better
    Since you've been mine
    Me used to be angry young man
    Me hiding me head in the sand
    You gave me the word, I finally heard
    I'm doing the best that I can
    I've got to admit it's getting better (Better)
    A little better all the time (It can't get no worse)
    I have to admit it's getting better (Better)
    It's getting better
    Since you've been mine
    Getting so much better all the time!


    Making art for me has a moral edge to it. About 30 years ago I cleaned out my studio and ended up throwing away a lot of pieces that I had in storage. It went into our landfill! And I was horrified at myself and decided then and there that I couldn't make any more objects until I had a way of getting them seen. Pretty much I've stuck with that, although I do have a storage room full of artwork (as I suspect most artists do). But I did manage to start showing my work regularly . Which takes time and effort on the part of the artist, time away from the creative aspect of being an artist. But I always make work with the idea and hope that someone somewhere will appreciated it. There are so many objects already in the world. That weighs on me. everyday. Writing has the appeal that I'm not adding to the clutter of our world. But still I can't help myself. I love making objects. And I guess I will until I can't physically any longer.

    Jinyo thanks for your comments. And I agree the art world is wrought. Being an artist is not the art world, but unfortunately its a part of it. Although with the digital revolution, artists are taking care of getting their work out into the world without galleries. I have a gallery/zendo in my studio and can use that for my work, and several times a year other artists show in my space. ACOG http://annecooperstudio.com/ACOG.html

    I love this ...
    I'm often moved by textiles and love ancient embroidery work - all those woman sat stitching day after day - dreams and thoughts and feelings invisibly embedded in stitches.
    When I was a child my grandmother was showing me an old quilt (all hand quilted) she had and she said that "there is a thought in every stitch." I always loved and remembered that image! and you do too...

    So much to think about here everyone. thanks so for the input...

    Gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    Ok Jishin, I have to date myself. Better...

    It's getting better all the time
    I used to get mad at my school (No, I can't complain)
    The teachers who taught me weren't cool (No, I can't complain)
    You're holding me down
    Turning me round
    Filling me up with your rules
    I've got to admit it's getting better (Better)
    A little better all the time (It can't get no worse)
    I have to admit it's getting better (Better)
    It's getting better
    Since you've been mine
    Me used to be angry young man
    Me hiding me head in the sand
    You gave me the word, I finally heard
    I'm doing the best that I can
    I've got to admit it's getting better (Better)
    A little better all the time (It can't get no worse)
    I have to admit it's getting better (Better)
    It's getting better
    Since you've been mine
    Getting so much better all the time!


    Making art for me has a moral edge to it. About 30 years ago I cleaned out my studio and ended up throwing away a lot of pieces that I had in storage. It went into our landfill! And I was horrified at myself and decided then and there that I couldn't make any more objects until I had a way of getting them seen. Pretty much I've stuck with that, although I do have a storage room full of artwork (as I suspect most artists do). But I did manage to start showing my work regularly . Which takes time and effort on the part of the artist, time away from the creative aspect of being an artist. But I always make work with the idea and hope that someone somewhere will appreciated it. There are so many objects already in the world. That weighs on me. everyday. Writing has the appeal that I'm not adding to the clutter of our world. But still I can't help myself. I love making objects. And I guess I will until I can't physically any longer.

    Jinyo thanks for your comments. And I agree the art world is wrought. Being an artist is not the art world, but unfortunately its a part of it. Although with the digital revolution, artists are taking care of getting their work out into the world without galleries. I have a gallery/zendo in my studio and can use that for my work, and several times a year other artists show in my space. ACOG http://annecooperstudio.com/ACOG.html

    I love this ...
    When I was a child my grandmother was showing me an old quilt (all hand quilted) she had and she said that "there is a thought in every stitch." I always loved and remembered that image! and you do too...

    So much to think about here everyone. thanks so for the input...

    Gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~
    I may not be much use in an art thread but I will always pop in to cheer for a Beatles quote

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  21. #21
    Some fabulous stuff coming up in this discussion - it's amazing how broadly we can interpret art, it's part of its magic in my opinion.
    I've been thinking a lot about those few great images...and there are so many that have opened my heart to so much, but not so many that have come immediately to mind over the years.
    The first image I think of always in this context may seem a strange one, but I can see in hindsight how it has influenced me over the years.
    When I started at art school, one of the books for required reading on the foundation course was a very general history of modern art. To me at that time, modern art meant Impressionism and Cubism, I knew of nothing else. The beginning of the book started with the end of the neo-classical period, so we were being shown what we wouldn't be studying, just to understand what an impact the modern art movement had. But one neo classical painting really gripped me - even now I find it difficult to understand what I was responding to - I was all about the modern, so why be so taken with this painting - The Oath of the Horatii, by Jacques Louis David, painted in 1784.

    Oath of the Horatii.jpg

    So what did I love about this painting? There was something striking and powerful in the absolute simplicity of the image - the three brothers willing to sacrifice their lives for Rome, their father holding aloft their swords, the grieving women, particularly the weeping figure of the brothers' sister, who is also betrothed to one of the three enemies they will be fighting - she's in a no-win hopeless situation. But at the time I didn't really understand the ramifications of the connection between masculinity and patriotism; what I was reading here was the futility of violence, the inevitable tragedy being played out central stage. But perhaps what struck me more was the beauty of the scene - the beautiful pared down use of colour, the wonderfully dramatic effect of light and dark, the technical prowess of David in his layout and composition of the scene. It all just sang to me.
    Just before starting my art course, I went with some friends on holiday to Paris, a weeks camping in Versailles ( no such thing as gap years back then!) and we visited Paris daily. I was so excited to see the Oath of the Horatii in real life where it hangs in the Louvre, but was completely unprepared for the sheer scale of the painting, it's huge, amazing, overpowering. I've never seen it again, but glimpsed it briefly in odd circumstances - I happened to be idly watching Ron Howards The Da Vinci Code, when I noticed Tom Hanks run by the painting as he chased through the Louvre - it was the highlight of the film for me.
    I can understand today that it was the apparent powerful simplicity of this painting that really resonated with me - all of the art that I've really loved over the years has had this quality - in fact it was the same simplicity I found in Japanese art that was partly responsible for me being here writing in this forum today - from strange acorns does the Dharma oak grow!

    Anne, I love the idea of making art in the hope that someone somewhere will like it - I don't think I've ever fully appreciated that idea, so caught up have I been in not wanting to show what I do to other people. I'm finding this idea really inspiring and so refreshing, especially when so many artists I follow on social media seem so bent on number crunching, painting to sell ( to match room colour schemes) etc. I like the idea of just putting stuff out there and hoping someone will like it, maybe even be inspired to do something themselves. It's given me new impetus, thank you.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  22. #22
    I am inspired by photos that tell a story or capture stillness in nature..especially in places that seem ordinary or plain. One of my teachers in photography taught composition this way. Find a shot worth taking in a seemingly ordinary space..where others would walk by and not even notice. Finding the beauty in the ordinary.

    This type of photography not only trains my brain to find the shot..but also to be more present in each monent.

    Below are a few moments in nature I captured that opened my heart and mind to the moment.

    Gassho Kyotai
    ST

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    I am a student at Treeleaf. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. Gassho

  23. #23
    Great photos Kyotai!

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  24. #24
    I love those Kyokai. Amazing images. I too have a fondness for capturing the mundane. I draw seeds, roots, insect parts etc. for that very reason to celebrate the beauty of the ordinary. You do so in a way that defines the beauty and magic of the overlooked! Thank you.

    And Jinyo, we will slow down a bit. Although the previous chapter posts can still be visited and anyone is welcome to respond. Meitou and I monitor them! We'll move onto chapter 7 probably the end of next week. There is so much to digest here I realize that it's more fun to let the images, thoughts, ideas sit a bit before rushing on. So thanks for that suggestion.

    bows,
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  25. #25
    Hi friends,

    This is all so wonderful, and I love reading everyone's work so far.

    I don't mean to interrupt or derail, but I just purchased the book. Should I work from this chapter backwards? or should I start from here and participate going forward? I would like to do the prompts from the first 5 chapters and share, but I don't want to post in those threads if we have moved past it.

    thank you

    Gassho
    Krissy
    sat today/lah
    Thank you for teaching me.

    I am very much a beginner and appreciate any words you may give me.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Great photos Kyotai!

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    I love those Kyokai. Amazing images. I too have a fondness for capturing the mundane. I draw seeds, roots, insect parts etc. for that very reason to celebrate the beauty of the ordinary. You do so in a way that defines the beauty and magic of the overlooked! Thank you.

    And Jinyo, we will slow down a bit. Although the previous chapter posts can still be visited and anyone is welcome to respond. Meitou and I monitor them! We'll move onto chapter 7 probably the end of next week. There is so much to digest here I realize that it's more fun to let the images, thoughts, ideas sit a bit before rushing on. So thanks for that suggestion.

    bows,
    Anne

    ~lahst~
    Thank you

    Gassho Kyotai
    ST

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    I am a student at Treeleaf. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. Gassho

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by krissydear View Post
    Hi friends,

    This is all so wonderful, and I love reading everyone's work so far.

    I don't mean to interrupt or derail, but I just purchased the book. Should I work from this chapter backwards? or should I start from here and participate going forward? I would like to do the prompts from the first 5 chapters and share, but I don't want to post in those threads if we have moved past it.

    thank you

    Gassho
    Krissy
    sat today/lah
    HI Krissy,
    So glad to have you with us, please do post in whatever way works best for you. We've come to realise that there's still so much to be got out of the discussions and prompts so it's fine to go back and forth as you wish. I'd suggest that now you have the book, start from the beginning and read up to this chapter, then decide which prompts inspire you and take it from there. Looking forward to your contributions and thank you!
    Lovely images Kyotai, that fern is particularly stunning. Beauty comes in so many forms.
    Bows
    Meitou
    sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  28. #28
    Here's a cool one:

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  29. #29
    Water is cool.

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  30. #30
    Inspiring thread !

    I'm not familiar with that painting Meitou but it's really interesting. It's almost like human emotions are cut in half - male bravery one
    side of the painting, female tenderness and emotionality the other. Very striking.

    Kyotai and Jishin terrific images from nature. I need to go out in my garden today and spend some quiet time just 'looking'. There are many ferns,
    dragonflies just now. I love the close up of water droplets too.

    Welcome Krissy - just take your time with the reading - no need to rush - it's good that we can go back and forth between threads.

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    will sit today - hopefully in the garden.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyo View Post
    Inspiring thread !

    I'm not familiar with that painting Meitou but it's really interesting. It's almost like human emotions are cut in half - male bravery one
    side of the painting, female tenderness and emotionality the other. Very striking.

    Kyotai and Jishin terrific images from nature. I need to go out in my garden today and spend some quiet time just 'looking'. There are many ferns,
    dragonflies just now. I love the close up of water droplets too.

    Welcome Krissy - just take your time with the reading - no need to rush - it's good that we can go back and forth between threads.

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    will sit today - hopefully in the garden.
    Be careful of what you find in the garden.



    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  32. #32
    Buddhists should not judge by appearances ...

    Opheodrys aestivus, commonly known as the rough green snake, is a nonvenomous North American colubrid. It is sometimes called grass snake or green grass snake, but these names are more commonly applied to the smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis). The European colubrid called grass snake (Natrix natrix) is unrelated. The rough green snake is docile, often allowing close approach by humans, and seldom bites. Even when bites occur, they have no venom and are harmless. ... The rough green snake ranges throughout the Southeastern United States, from Florida, north to coastal Maine, Indiana, and west to Central Texas. ... The preferred habitat of O. aestivus is moist meadows and woodlands, often near water. It is highly arboreal, frequently found climbing in low vegetation, and is also a good swimmer. However, it is often found on the ground as well. Unlike many snakes, it is largely diurnal.

    The diet of O. aestivus consists mostly of insects and other terrestrial arthropods, but some snails and tree frogs are eaten as well. This snake is not a constrictor; most prey are grabbed and simply swallowed alive. ... Predators of the rough green snake include birds and other snakes, such as the eastern racer (Coluber constrictor) and the eastern king snake (Lampropeltis getula).
    We have had a visitor to the Zendo in Tsukuba recently ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post243936

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Buddhists should not judge by appearances ...



    We have had a visitor to the Zendo in Tsukuba recently ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post243936

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Green snakes are gorgeous as long as I am at a safe distance. Here is a cool article with pictures of green snakes. I wouldn't pick up one and find out if they are benign.

    https://www.snakesforpets.com/green-...dentification/




    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__


    PS:. A good buddist stays alive.
    Last edited by Jishin; 08-20-2019 at 12:45 AM.

  34. #34
    Here are 2 more green snakes that I took pictures of. They look pretty scary to me.



    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  35. #35
    As a psychiatrist, Doc, didn't Freud say a thing or two about fear of snakes ?

    Researchers have unlocked new evidence that could help them get to the bottom of our most common phobias and their causes. Hundreds of thousands of people count snakes and spiders among their fears, and while scientists have previously assumed we possess an evolutionary predisposition to fear the unpopular animals, new research seem to indicate otherwise. ,,, “[However], people tend to be exposed to a lot of negative information regarding snakes and spiders, and we argue this makes them more likely to be associated with phobia.”

    In the study, researchers compared the responses to stimuli of participants with no particular experience with snakes and spiders, to that of snake and spider experts.

    “Previous research has argued that snakes and spiders attract preferential attention (they capture attention very quickly) and that during this early processing a negative (fear) response is generated… as an implicit and indexed subconscious [action],” Dr Purkis said.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0320132646.htm


    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  36. #36

    Zen of Creativity Chapter 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    As a psychiatrist, Doc, didn't Freud say a thing or two about fear of snakes ?





    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Interesting article and Buddha and Snake story. Thanks!

    Here is a blurb from the web on Freud and snakes:

    For Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, the snake is primarily a phallic symbol representing the penis and sexual drive. A Freudian interpretation of a snake dream emphasizes your relationship to sexuality and male figures in your life.

    According to Freud, the snake is symbol for the penis. The meaning of a snake in a dream is associated with sexuality, and as an extension, with male figures in your life, or how you experience your own manhood, relationship with men or your male energy if you are a woman.

    If you dream about snakes and would ask Freud or a Freudian analyst for help to interpret your dream, you could be invited to consider the snake as a symbol for repressed sexual desire or inner conflict about how you express or experience your sexuality.

    ___________________________

    I like Freud but the snake/sex stuff is a bit of a stretch.

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    Last edited by Jishin; 08-20-2019 at 11:22 AM.

  37. #37
    Member Anna's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Here are 2 more green snakes that I took pictures of. They look pretty scary to me.



    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    We have a range of snakes where we live. We have green and brown tree snakes living in the bamboo, red bellied black snakes in the bush and under the house, eastern brown snakes also in the bush and under the house and carpet pythons under the house, in the roof, in the walls and on two occasions inside our house. Eastern Brown's are extremely aggressive and deadly, red bellied blacks are also deadly but aren't aggressive. The green and brown treesnakes and carpets aren't venomous but that doesn't mean we go out of our way to play with them. There are a bunch of other snakes and other things like scorpions and a range of lizards including goannas around too but like most things if you leave them alone they'll not bother you. Great shots btw:-)
    Gassho
    Anna

    Sat today/lent a hand
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  38. #38
    An ethno-methodologist might have fun with this thread's conversation line. Starting with art criticism ending with snakes. hmmm? a connection can be made perhaps?

    Those snake images, Jishin, are surreal. gorgeous. And the Zendo's Japanese rat snake is a handsome creature, Jundo. I happen to love snakes (and spiders for that matter). We have many nonvenomous snakes but we do have rattle snakes here but I rarely have seen one. As Anna said 'if you leave them alone they'll not bother you.' They stay pretty much to themselves trying to eke out a living in the harsh desert. But I do love seeing them and feel it's a gift from nature when I get a glimpse of one.

    And Anna sounds a bit much even for me a snake lover. I'd be concerned about my dogs constantly if there were so many venomous creatures about.

    And yes, anyone can jump in anytime. The previous chapter threads are still up and Meitou and I will be posting Chapter 7 soon.

    Gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  39. #39
    Hello,

    thank you all for sharing and opening such a wide view in this thread.

    Personally, I feel this thread's questions/chapter and prompt quite complex.
    It asks me about my general understanding of what 'art' is and where it starts and ends.

    There is one mode of understanding/operating, that is about expressing something I feel and seeing the result as an 'work of art', a finished object.
    This mode makes me anxious for critique and desperate, when people don't like it.

    There is also a wider way of looking at this.
    Where does the act of making art start and where does it end? Who is the artist?
    There is the muse, the thing that sparks the light. Something already seen in the context of a culture and pre-formed mind.
    The interpretation...
    The act of producing, making something...
    The reaction it creates in/with the viewer...

    When I understand all the above together as the artwork.. from the spark in it's context to the reaction of the viewer,
    I don't fear critique... It's essential part of the artwork itself.
    Inseparable.


    Regarding the prompt...

    To me, it's the moment when threads come together.
    When a single image or thought connects something.

    The most recent of these moments is just some days ago.
    Early morning, on my long run along the local river, a view, a (not taken) image connected some threads.

    It was an old, antique fishing boat, fishing old school with gill nets, while standing still in the tides.
    Behind the old boat, there was the ultra modern Airbus wharf with it's colourful, glittering metal birds waiting for service.

    An image of tradition with it's place in the modern world. About things changing (tide and technology) and being somehow the same.
    The tension between old and new, things that stay and things that change.

    It connected with other things from that day.
    Sitting old traditional Zazen together with the Europe Morning Crew in the Free sitting room with modern technology.
    Running... doing what our bodies where made for, but for recreation, not for hunting and in high-tech clothes.
    Kids arriving at a sailing school, boys and girls separated at different boats - on my way back - boys around the girls, explaining the world to them ;-).
    Sun came out - flood from the northern sea - smelling the near sea in the river-water - large container ships from the nearby harbour - guided by doves

    Somehow this image of the old fishing boat in front of the modern airplane wharf connected it all.
    Maybe I should have a look at the tide calendar, come back with a camera and try to take this picture.

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    An ethno-methodologist might have fun with this thread's conversation line. Starting with art criticism ending with snakes. hmmm? a connection can be made perhaps?




    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  41. #41
    Thanks for this Kotei:
    There is also a wider way of looking at this.
    Where does the act of making art start and where does it end? Who is the artist?
    There is the muse, the thing that sparks the light. Something already seen in the context of a culture and pre-formed mind.
    The interpretation...
    The act of producing, making something...
    The reaction it creates in/with the viewer...

    When I understand all the above together as the artwork.. from the spark in it's context to the reaction of the viewer,
    I don't fear critique... It's essential part of the artwork itself.
    Inseparable.

    For me a work of art happens when my creative spark/spirit expresses itself through my hands. It is art to me. And beyond that I have no control. If someone else feels moved by it that's good, but not necessary for my own comfort with the expressive product of my creative act. And there is a moment when I know that what I was trying to achieve has worked or not. But really its about me. Not about trying to please anyone else. Usually, but not always the work is appreciated by others. Sometimes it is all mine. And I really think that the only way to get to this place of comfort with our art is to practice it, over and over, for years and years.
    Same as our zazen practice.

    Gassho
    Anne
    ~st~

  42. #42
    Thank you Anne,

    you display publicly what you created.
    The fire that you lit from the spark, you found.
    Made with others and their reaction in mind (like the modernish works that explicitly include the viewer), or not.
    The fire might warm, enlighten or burn the one, that gets touched by it... or extinguish. Good or bad. Likes it or not.
    Beyond my control, yes. But it's still the spark I found and the fire I lit. Handed over to the next.
    It continues existing and burning without the "I". Just like our Zazen practice

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    For me a work of art happens when my creative spark/spirit expresses itself through my hands. It is art to me. And beyond that I have no control. If someone else feels moved by it that's good, but not necessary for my own comfort with the expressive product of my creative act. And there is a moment when I know that what I was trying to achieve has worked or not. But really its about me. Not about trying to please anyone else. Usually, but not always the work is appreciated by others. Sometimes it is all mine. And I really think that the only way to get to this place of comfort with our art is to practice it, over and over, for years and years.
    Same as our zazen practice.

    Gassho
    Anne
    ~st~
    Last edited by Kotei; 08-22-2019 at 08:19 AM. Reason: typo
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

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