Ass-kicking Plants – In Art and Life

As I sift through my hundreds upon hundreds of photos from my trip to the Pacific Northwest and spend way too much time considering what I want to say and how I want to say it, I also take breaks now and again to check out interesting websites.

I came across one the other day called The Violence of Flowers by Carne Griffiths and rather than leave my blog here, drying out from lack of “ink” as it were while I figure out which pictures to share, I thought I would share these amazing paintings with my readers. Not only is it an amazing collection of paintings…but I can also relate it to one part of my trip. (If you are art bound and just wanted to see the paintings…click the links above or scroll down a bit as I have included a couple of my favourite paintings below from the collection.)

So….

Plants and violence…sure, we know the connection exists. Can anyone say Cactus?

How about Gympie-Gympie?

*giggle* Yep, the name made me laugh.  But the Gympie-Gympie is a serious plant with a violent agenda. This video made me raise my eyebrows and second-guess travelling Down Under:

So, yeah, that plant is not helpless by any means. If you have a morbid curiosity like me and want to read a little more, the Australian Geographic has an article on the amount the pain this plant can cause, by just brushing up against it.  Insane.

Moving on, we get to the plants we saw on our trip that fit this theme.

Well, they aren’t necessarily dangerous to us but I’m sure they’re pretty ass-kicking to the insect kingdom.

While travelling through Oregon, we visited the Darlingtonia State Natural Site just outside of Florence.  It was a small area with a very short boardwalk, dedicated to the protection of one plant, the Pitcher Plant.  < insert evil fear-inducing music here>  I like name Cobra-Lily better, especially after seeing their skin close-up and understanding how they not only capture bugs, but then go on to discombobulate them so they can’t tell which way is the Exit.

The bog contained hundreds of these plants…the landscape looked quite surreal, as though it belonged in a sci- fi movie.  And, I saw practically no bugs around…either all dead or all smart enough not to come near…I’ll go with the former. 😉

Close-up of the translucent skin. Once a bug is inside, the sun shines in from all directions thus well-camouflaging the exit!

So, you can imagine why The Violence of Flowers made me think of Darlingtonia….Highly recommended by the way as a stopping place if you are ever travelling through. It only takes a minute to walk from end to end, but you’ll find yourself wanting to simply stop and consider these awesome looking Cobra-Lilies!

Now, on to the art in question!

I came across The Violence of Flowers while using StumbleUpon.  If you haven’t used it yet…try it out…just be warned that it is exquisitely skilled in the art of time-suckage and you’ll lose hours!

There wasn’t much information on the page I found, so I did some searching and found the artist as well as their wordpress! So be sure to visit Carne Griffiths’ WordPress blog to see the whole collection. I have picked a few paintings that are up there on my favourite list but they are all spectacular! Every time I go back to look at them, my favourites change.

One of my favourites from the Violence of Flowers series. There is such movement and yet fragility to this piece.

This one is entitled Devoured. Who is doing the devouring here?

All his work has this spectacular movement and fluidity to it. Soft and supple yet raw and jagged at the same time.  So lovely and moving that I felt the need to share!

Oil Paintings that Glow

I’m not one for bright rainbow colours.  I mean, my closet is filled with black and the odd hint of red/purple/navy.  So, usually, bright multi-coloured art doesn’t really catch my interest.

This isn’t a black and white rule though, as a friend recently proved to me.

She introduced me to the oil paintings of Leonid Afremov (afremov.com).  The colours he uses are spectacular…especially in his night scenes where it almost appears as though light is actually shining from the canvas.

He tends to use large, short brush strokes, creating the kind of painting that has a stronger impact the further back you are as you look at it.  

Rain Princess is one of my absolute favourites! 

Rain Princess

I love the figure in the middle…long and lithe, seemingly untouched by the suggested rain.  The painting itself reminds of those Magic Eye puzzles…you know the patterns you would stare at and bring close to your face until the hidden 3D image appeared?…except in this case it’s the opposite.  Staring at it up close, the environment seems to be simply  random brushstrokes but hold it away, or step back, and a whole setting appears.  So much created with so little detail.  Spectacular.

 The following two are also beautiful!  Alley by the Lake and Misty Mood really sum up what I like about his nighttime lighting.  It practically glows!  The environments are so rich and alive, the colours so dynamic!

Alley by the Lake

Misty Mood

 Although I’m not sure any of these gorgeous pieces would match my decor, I don’t seem to mind coming back to look at them again and again!

Just felt like sharing!  Happy almost-Friday!

Crocheted Yule gifts…and a viking hat!!

Happy New Year!

My long absence has been brought to you by both my laziness and a wordpress error that kept me locked out of my account throughout the holidays.

I admit, that was somewhat frustrating, but the good news is that I spent the holidays keeping myself busy with crochet!  Yep, I’m loving my new hobby … and it felt good to give gifts this year that I had made myself.

Here are a couple of my Yuletide creations…
First is the scarf I gave to B’s aunt….

Long Scarf - 100% Acrylic, made completely with half double crochet stitches

Followed by the scarf for his dad…

100% acrylic

….which Nosey, the family dog, apparently liked as well….

Nosey showing off one of my creations 🙂

Another scarf went to B’s mom…this is a scarf of which I am quite proud…it took a number of hours and was somewhat difficult because I kept the stitches quite tight…but it turned out incredibly well. I just wish I had a shot of her wearing it! 🙂

100% acrylic scarf made by me!

To my friend Heather and her husband Peter, I gave sort of matching scarves…well…matching patterns, different colours.  I secretly asked each of them what colours they thought would suit the other.  (On that note, I have to say that in many ways I enjoy the covert fact-finding missions more than the giving of the resulting gift!)

In addition to scarves, I also gifted armwarmers, which I have been making non-stop over the past month or so.  Recently, I attempted a pair of laced armwarmers…more for look than warmth I suppose (well, unless you wore them over something else!)

First pair of laced armwarmers....25% wool 75% acrylic

Okay…and la pièce de résistance?

A Viking Hat!!!

I already have a few people interested in having one made!  In some cases for their children and others want one for themselves 🙂  I have some great ideas that started with this particular pattern and I am anxious to see where my creativity leads me…but I also need to take a moment and acknowledge the source of the pattern: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Mamachee  It was the first pattern I have ever purchased and it was so easy to follow!  Can’t wait to start making more!

So, on that note…I think I shall get some sleep…I have an order for a dog sweater and a scarf to start working on tomorrow 😉

The Ebb and Flow of Creativity

Throughout my school years, I wrote.

I started writing stories when I was 9 years old and I still have the yellowing lined paper, covered in pencil scribblings to prove it.

A collection of stories I wrote when I was 9-12 years old

I started my stories by making a cover page with pencil crayons, writing two and three pages of narrative in pencil and finalizing each “book” with a staple in the top left corner.

It’s interesting to look at the evolution of my story writing.  I began so basic, with a page of narrative…just writing, no divisions or sections or chapters. But in White Beauty (seen above), my narrative included chapters and illustrations for the first time.  I can only assume that was due to exposure to other books and novels, as I was quite an avid reader as a child.

The development of Chapters!

 

Eventually I evolved and started adding illustrations…still in pencil…fairly stick-figurish in style but illustrations nonetheless.

One of my first illustrations!

Illustration from a later story "The Spell"

This preceded the evolution of a dedication, a table of contents, plus a back cover with a synopsis of the story.

Table of Contents

First dedication

Finally, as I reached grade 7, I created an actual typewritten manuscript in place of pencil scratch.  Throughout my years in junior high school, I had an old-fashioned typewriter, complete with carriage and a spool of ink ribbon.  It lived in a hard case, similar to a small suitcase and to this day, I wish I had kept it.

I still have my manuscripts, typed during my tumultuous junior high school years, covered in liquid paper with smudged letters proving my impatience and inability to wait for the white fluid to dry.

With high school came the electric typewriter.  I remember that one of the biggest differences, aside from how *easy* the keys were to press, was that my new typewriter had a built-in correction ribbon!  To erase a letter, all I had to do was push a button!  This typewriter I do still have tucked away, but the classic typewriter that started off my love of writing had much more character and dare I say charisma than the electric.

Similar to the electric typewriter I had in high school

I continued to write throughout high school and into college.  Typing, scribbling, pen, pencil…sometimes in bound books of notepaper, sometimes on the backs of envelopes.

The one constant piece of writing, that began when I was twelve, is my  journal writing.  I have kept journals ever since grade seven and have a number of books filled from cover to cover with musings, poetry, sparks of understanding and deep black wells of young adult drama.  I am quite proud of the fact that my journal writing has never ceased.  Sometimes there are months between entries and other times I write every day for weeks, sometimes two and three times a day.  The pace varies, but the action continues.

Unfortunately, the sad part to all of this is that the journal writing is *all* that has continued.  The desire to write poetry and novels has been dormant for years.  Every so often, I have the urge to put pen to paper and a vague plot line or character description drips from my pen, but more often than not, I simply live with the urge to write.  The ever-present itch reminding me that once, stories streamed out of me in violent waves and the inspiration seemed never-ending but that for the longest time now, that ability has remained dormant and unreachable.

Recently, a very wise friend  and I were chatting over coffee.  I was bemoaning the lack of creativity and telling her how I seemed to get a wave of inspiration when I spent time with friends who are also writers, only to lose it after a few days without their company.  She could relate and we agreed that forcing myself to write was the first step.

Various books I’ve read on writing say just that and I have to agree.  Write.  Write anything.  Write about how you can’t seem to write anything.  Just put the pen to paper.

I have been doing that, with some success…which makes me incredibly happy!

The other thought that we discussed over coffee was that, to a certain extent, not writing is a choice.  Somewhere along the way, I made that choice.  I may not know that I did.  I can’t pinpoint the day it happened.  But at some point, some time…a little voice told me “you’re done, you can’t write anymore” and I believed it.  I have inadvertently believed that fallacy for quite some time now.

No more.

I am putting a pen to paper again; writing random scenes, dialogue, plot points.  They aren’t in any order, and sometimes the characters change gender depending on the idea I’m running with in the moment, but at this point, my pen is channeling my words onto paper and that is a victory!

I don’t know where my writing will take me.  On a tour of my life, allowing new personal growth of understanding of my world, or perhaps outside of my little world, giving me a glimpse of all that which is bigger than me.  Who knows?  Who cares!

I’m filling up notebooks with thoughts, scenes, characters, words and, at this point,  that is the most important thing!