Weekend Inspiration–Nature Inspired Inventions

Fun and amazing inventions inspired by the humble gecko and other small creatures.  Nature is so amazing and always a great source of inspiration and information.  Its fascinating to me to see how inventors come up with their ideas.

The Non-fiction Artist


“All has not been said and never will be.” Samuel Beckett (from The Painter’s Keys)

Does originality and imagination require an artwork be cut from a whole new cloth or is it simply to look from a fresh angle? The push to constantly startle the viewer has led art further and further out on a limb to the point of barely hanging onto to anything that can actually be defined as art. Calling a pile of sticks or a stack of paper, “art” stretches the definition so far that the result has been the dilution of ability to appreciate the originality and imagination of the realist painter.   This push for startling novelty has led to a confusion of what is imaginative and original in art.

If an artist takes a subject such as trees and creates paintings depicting a certain aspect of these particular trees, does it require imagination?  Suppose you walk by those trees everyday but have not noticed the intricacies of the bark or the root system, or maybe the color until that artist’s painting called your attention to the detail.  Suddenly, you are seeing that tree in an entirely different way. Could that painting not be called imaginative, if it has spurred a new look at an otherwise mundane subject?   Did it not require an artist’s imagination to see something in that tree that may have otherwise not been seen?

The work of the non-fiction writer, likewise, requires the imagination and originality of the author as much as the writer of fiction.  There are few constraints on the fiction writer, who is free to go in any direction. But the writer of non-fiction must find a new and different way of saying what has already been said. Otherwise why read it? The same is true of the realist artist.  If the subject does not give a new look at an old subject, why look?  The non-fiction artist, like the non-fiction writer, reveals a way of seeing a subject that has not been seen before. To paraphrase the opening quote, “All has not been seen and never will be.”  It takes imagination to see that.


Note: This topic was inspired by a comment conversation with Margaret Rose Stringer, author of And Then Like my Dreams.  Click on the links for a wonderful book and blog!


The Artist’s Portfolio Magazine is featuring an exhibit of “non-fiction art” by Carla Nano.  Follow the link to Nano’s beautiful work.


Imitating Imagination


“Don’t play what’s there.  Play what’s not there.” Miles Davis (from The Painter’s Keys)


Definitions and claimants to the dominion of imagination abound.  Everybody wants to claim imagination.  Has the word lost its meaning?  Who really understands what imagination is all about?  Everywhere you turn someone or something is called “Imagination” from cruise ships to engine companies to everything in-between. If everyone is claiming to be imagination this and imagination that, what has become of the real thing?

The definition from Merriam-Webster for imagination is: “the ability to imagine things not real; the ability to form a picture in your mind of something you have not seen or experienced; the ability to think of new things; something that only exists or happens in your mind.” It seems difficult to put that definition on a cruise ship or an engine company.  Overuse dilutes the intensity of the imagination into something rather tepid, almost boring.  With so many out there hanging the imagination name-tag out, how can real imagination be heard of felt?

All that imagination chatter becomes deafening and stifles the real thing. The imagination bird must be set free from within. That bird has to be able to fly above the chattering crowd, to soar high above it all.  Real imagination is new and different, definitely not part of the crowd.  Real imagination blooms in a dry desert.  It sails on a windless sea.  It belongs to the realm of things not real, not seen before, never experienced. It soars through the places only seen in the mind.  Real imagination belongs to those with the courage to set it free. Real imagination has no name-tag because it has no name.  Everything else is just imitation.




A Magical Imagination

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“One of the virtues of the very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” Sam Levenson  (from The Painter’s Keys)

Is true imagination alive and well today?  Imagination can appear to be an exercise in futility when art is created by rote.  Over and over an artist strives to reproduce a preconceived idea yet it isn’t appearing on the paper or canvas.  Something else entirely keeps happening so the artist scrapes it and tries again, over and over. It becomes a mechanical process until eventually the artist moves on to the next project.  What would be the outcome if the artist, instead stopped trying and just let whatever is pushing to happen, happen?

“When you’re a kid, your imagination has no limits. You believe in magic powers and incredible characters that don’t exist in the adult world,” writes Landon Lee on his blog.  As adults, the imagination has been beaten down and suffocated by the practicalities of life.  Or it has been told to conform to the “real” world.  For artists, it may mean stifling the imagination to go for the prevailing concept of what acceptable art may be.  Stamping down the childish imagination to gain acceptance replaces the freedom to create what the imagination sees.

Stuckismwales states, “Concetual art is shackled to the earth and can’t ‘fly’ because it has no ‘wings’ of imagination.”  To fly is the greatest adventure.  Unshackling the imagination leads to flying.  Who doesn’t want to fly?  Okay, so some may fear flying.  How about releasing the sails to fly across the water?  Or slide down mountains? Or dance on a sandy beach in the moonlight?  Giving the imagination the freedom to do whatever it wants is the beginning of magic.  Magic makes the impossible happen, the un-thought-of appear.

Art that knows no bounds, recognizes no confines is free to fly, or dance, or sail. Art with the “wings” of imagination can go anywhere, be anything. To get there, the mechanical must be scraped, the control relinquished.  Forget the preconceived notions.  Let the child out to play.  Start dancing.  Unfurl the sails. Reach for the sky.   Bring on the magic!

Weekend Inspiration–Colorful Imagination

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Click the link and use your mouse to imagine your own color show.  Warning: its mesmerizing but incredibly fun!


The more you move the mouse, the more color you create!

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