Posts Tagged ‘China’

GC Myers- Ascending BirdI’ve been looking for a title for this new painting, an 18″ by 18″ canvas, for a week or so now.  A lot of things come to mind and I thought I had it for a while.  Then I was listening to some music and one of the songs just hit me.

It was Ascending Bird, a traditional Persian folk melody, played by the Silk Road Ensemble which is a large and loosely knit group ofmusicians, including the great Yo-Yo Ma, who hail from along that fabled route and play many of the traditional instruments. The Silk Road was the network of  ancient routes that traders used in linking the East and West over the centuries, from China through the Middle East to the Mediterranean. Both goods and ideas moved along the Silk Road.

This song is the Persian version of the Phoenix myth, of a bird who flies higher and higher toward the sun until it is engulfed in flames.  It then rises from the ashes as a new creature.

And that’s kind of how I see this painting.  The paths moving from dark to light signify a transformative journey and the Red Tree appears as a Phoenix-like figure emerging from a hillock bursting from a treed hillside.  The Red Tree almost seems to ready to take flight.  I see it as a moment of realization and redefinition.

Here is the Silk Road Ensemble with Y0-Yo Ma performing Ascending Bird.  The version here is a shorter one but has the dynamic punch that struck me.  You can hear a longer version here. Give a listen and have a great Sunday.

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Trey Ratcliff - china-deep-in-the-guangxi-provinceSometimes you can look at something and it immediately translates into something for you, something from which  you can take inspiration and  make something new.  That’s what came to mind for me when I came across this great image from photographer Trey Ratcliff.  It’s a panoramic view of a fairytale-like  landscape in the Guangxi region of  China that he took after scaling a peak similar to those you see in the photo.

It’s just a great image, one that gets my motor racing.  I immediately find myself comparing it to my own landscapes, noting  how the forms flow together to create a wonderful rhythm in the image.  There’s so much that will easily convey into my own work that it is in place before I really have time to think about it.  It’s like a jolt of creative electricity.  I just need to get to the easel before it rolls to the back of the line of imagery that is formed in my head.

For more of Trey Ratcliff’s incredible photograph’s from around the world, visit his website Stuck in Customs.  And check out the image shown above on Google+— it’s a 19,000 pixel  high def shot that is fully zoomable so that  you can fly in and out of the little valleys in the distance.  Pretty remarkable.


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Book LoveThis past week in The Guardian, there was a wonderful article that contains a lecture that author Neil Gaiman recently gave to The Reading Agency, a British organization devoted to promoting literacy.  Gaiman is an incredibly prolific author whose much celebrated work spans many genres.  He is best known for his comic book series, The Sandman, as well as the novels Coraline and Stardust, both of which were made into films.  This lecture is a wonderful argument for encouraging our children to read, to use their imagination and daydream.  I really suggest that anyone who has  kids or is interested in seeing the imagination flourish take a look at this article.

There are too many things to point out from this lecture, including the ability of reading to nurture empathy, but the one  that really struck home was his accounting of his trip to China.  This is what he said:

I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed? 

It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.

Seriously, this article is good reading for anyone interested in bettering our humanity.  Click here to go to it now..

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