Walking through my school on the way to teach a high school class last week, I passed a few elementary students pottering around in the grass. I smiled at them in greeting. We don't often get little folk on our side of the campus.
One boy stepped off the grass towards me. "Hi! Want to know what we're doing?"
Of course I did!
"We're taking pictures from a worm's eye view. We just learned about it in Art class. There's bird's eye view," he explained as he reached up and pointed downwards, "and worm's eye view." Now his hand was on the pavement, pointing up. "That's what we're looking for over there in the garden. See you!"
I was happy for that short lesson in perspective. It reminded me not only to take the time to chat with people and ask about what they are doing, but also to look through different lenses, whether creatively or in my personal life.
The Bird's Eye View
I often get lost in the details of an immediate problem, and feel it looming over me. The more it is in my mental gaze, the more overwhelmed and intimidated I feel. It doesn't help that I can get obsessive over tiny details. Going for a walk and literally looking at the sky and the horizon (the sea, if possible!), really helps to reset my frame of mind. Then I come back to it and decide to get one step done. If I have a huge stack of papers to mark, I grade a few, and then it doesn't seem so bad.
The Worm's Eye View
Getting a worm's eye view as a photographer is a way to stop and mindfully observe your surroundings from a completely different angle. Where I live there are huge palms, and if you looked straight up into the bunches of dry fronds that hang down under the green leaves, you might see bats sleeping, or monitor lizards several feet long hiding from the world, since they are invisible from the side and from above. I only noticed this because I once saw a lizard run up the tree, and decided to go over and take a look from the base. Yep, he was still up there. I need to do that figuratively but not allowing myself to be consumed in the daily rush of things I feel I must do. This journal is a way to carve out time for a worm's eye view.
This is my favourite poem about perspective:
I can imagine, in some otherworld
Primeval-dumb, far back
In that most awful stillness, that only gasped and hummed,
Humming-birds raced down the avenues.
Before anything had a soul,
While life was a heave of Matter, half inanimate,
This little bit chipped off in brilliance
And went whizzing through the slow, vast, succulent stems.
I believe there were no flowers, then,
In the world where the humming-bird flashed ahead of creation.
I believe he pierced the slow vegetable veins with his long beak.
Probably he was big
As mosses, and little lizards, they say were once big.
Probably he was a jabbing, terrifying monster.
We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time,
Luckily for us.
I came across a couple of powerful pieces by Sergio Barrale on a recent post on Supersonic, part of an series entitled Our Private Religion. He has this to say about religion: “To me, religion is just feelings that guide us and inform our choices in the world…" I like that there is the idea of a private world, as well as a sense that it is shared with others.
Related to this, last summer I discovered Georgiana Houghton, a spiritual medium of the late 19th Century. I visited The Courtauld Institute Gallery to see her Spirit Drawings. Meticulous and ethereal, the automatic drawings were each said to be guided by a group of spirits, whose names were listed in spidery script on the back of the canvas.
Finally, on the same subject, Poetry Foundation's featured poem this week was "Faith" by David Baker.
I am going to think more about what forces move me in my inner world, and how I want to express these in my life.
The Longing In Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World
Abstract Art Painting: Expressions in Mixed Media
The premise of Lucia Dill's chair paintings is simple. "Folding chairs function as unspecific characters to convey relationships, interactions, and body language." Above is a picture of one of her works with the attached tag/title: "You know?"
This is a great idea for a creative project. I want to take inanimate objects and use them to represent relationships. It might be a way for me to explore relationships in my life, or just express something in my collage art or photography.
MORE CREATIVE FUEL:
I saw Lucia Dill's work in a fantastic blog I just discovered: The Jealous Curator.
Here are two books recommended on that site that I plan to buy:
Collage: Contemporary Artists Hunt and Gather, Cut and Paste, Mash Up and Transform
Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice and Projects from 50 Successful Artists
Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk: and Other Truths about Being Creative
Share your response to these prompts in a comment below if you like.