Going Bananas Over Nuts and Apples

How about them apples? I don’t mean the ones for Halloween, just around the corner. Nor do I mean anything about new i-phones and such. I’m talking about gravity here, and eventually about floating apples.

I had my own Newton moment almost ten years ago, sitting near a tree and watching the squirrels at play, and then the cones falling to the ground. For some reason, Newton’s formula for gravity came to mind, as I was taught so long ago. It was an intrusive thought though, as it wasn’t equations that caught my attention in that Eureka moment . . . it was the time of release that got me thinking.

Oddly, it comes back to yet another thing that can’t be measured in nature, such as the precise time when an apple or cone begins it’s descent. In botany I learned a bit about energy in trees, and how with some of this energy the tree holds the apple to the tree. Eventually this energy is not enough to keep the fruit attached, and then it falls.

Just Before the Start of the Fall

That’s the part that fascinates me . . . that immeasurable moment within a moment . . . just before the start of that descent. It is then that the apple floats! There is no energy from the tree holding it back, and the draw of gravity has not yet begun . . . in between the two, the apple floats!

To help you get a better picture of what I’m saying, there is a pretty famous painting by Magritte called, The Son of Man, as shown below:

image of the Son of Man painting

The Son of Man by Rene Magritte

If you want another visual idea, there’s always Bugs Bunny, especially those countless times where one character or another finds themselves floating . . . here’s just one example.

So for me this is all a comforting reminder of how little we know, in spite of all we think we know. I like that we don’t fully understand gravity. That way we don’t have a hope in hell of synthesizing it, bringing dead planets back to life, and repeating our mistakes somewhere else. When you think about, what really is the point of colonizing a planet that has no gravity, as we have on Earth? It all seems so unnatural, sad really.

Finally, I do believe there is something about love in every such magical, invisible moment, something that exists freely in nature, never to be contained.

For years I’ve thought of this with every naturally falling object, such as all the fruits and cones. Lately I’ve also become quite fascinated with the notion of the sky being full of water, even in the absence of clouds. Now – just last night, while thinking this post through – another thought came to mind. This magical moment within a moment, when apples float, it seems the same is true for every drop of water in the rain . . . and then there are snowflakes!

To end on a lighter note, now I’m wrestling with a bigger mystery. Out of all those raindrops that fall in a pond, I wonder which ones float!

 

The Shame of It All, More or Less?

This weekend Dawn at Last is free on Amazon in its Kindle Edition.

Because of this, chances are that my blog will be getting relatively more traffic, and with many first time visitors. Because of that, I feel obligated to be extra witty, more charming, poignant, wise and so on.

Then again, I also feel obligated to tell you to make sure you read the damn book before you come around here . . . the book is more interesting than my real-world me . . . as is my art. Some of my closest fans see a lot of me in this character or that. I will neither confirm nor deny such fantasies. As these fans are typically women, the discussions thankfully waltz more into the characters with whom they relate to the most.

Those are the most intriguing discussions . . . and Lawrence, “How do you know these women so well”? This is one of my favorite questions, or ones closely related. Frankly though, I really have no answer, and when the issue comes up someone should give me an honorary degree . . . Master of Segue?

To my closest fans . . . thank you for sharing your stories.

Perhaps I use art in my defense at that point? Or listen to more stories, those of these dear fans . . . each one fascinating in their own tales. Either way, it’s been a wonderful time, a picnic basket full of unexpected pleasant surprises, and every day seems like a good day for a picnic!

So where was I? Self-indulging once again I suppose. Anyway, if you’ve got the book, please actually take some time to read it. Did you know that 57% of books that are started are never finished, when it comes to reading? It sounds like a big number, but when I look at my own track record it becomes quite believable.

Dawn at Last - FAA_3_Final

If you happen to drift into that category . . . well at least there’s the pictures! By that I mean my art. The art on the cover of the book (shown above) is one of my original pieces. To coincide with this weekend’s promotion, I’ve finally added it to my repertoire on my art site. It’s also on at much lower prices than my other works, such as $20 less for a 20″ x 16″ print.

Now there’s my shameless plug for the post, and as I read your minds I totally agree, “Lawrence you must find something more enticing to be shameless about.”

On that note, it’s definitely time for to get out and about. Have a great weekend and enjoy whatever it is you are reading, and if you wish, drop me a shameless comment or two . . . by now if I have succeeded, you should be feeling obligated to do so!

Pickled Eggs and Other Food for Thought

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything ethically related, and no, this isn’t going to be about Ferguson or Iraq or the Ukraine or Gaza, or Venezuela or Nigeria or Syria or Afghanistan or whether Germany will export another $60 billion of military “stuff” this year. It’s not even about drones peeping into Vancouver apartments.

This is about life, and the creation of it, or in this case is it best to say the production of it?

I came across something today that has me in a pickle, and it can be a little jarring. It has to do with the bio-mechanical womb, and it seems just around the corner . . . you can read the post here . . .

Would You Grow Your Baby In An Artificial Womb?

Is it just me or are we basically doing everything ass backwards now? By that I mean, “shouldn’t the ethical decisions be covered long before the technology gets this far?” The truth is that for a very long time now, one can always find an ethical justification for anything we are capable of inventing or doing . . . hello folks, everything is allowed! The legal people just put up some rules & regulations to complicate matters further. Still, shit happens!

Please Stay Kosher

When I look at that womb container the first thing that comes to mind is a pickle jar, and it seems everything gets privatized sooner or later? Private or not, who among is worthy to make these decisions? Perhaps none of us. By that I mean how the technology is applied.

So instead of worrying about pregnancy, and stocking up on pickles and ice cream, you will worry about something else. “How is my little Bick baby doing today?” Then as you snap pictures of the work in progress, you ponder, “Shall it be Ben or Jerry?”

I’m one of those who is completely against things like colonizing Mars, and this artificial womb stuff only solidifies that concern. After all, at some point isn’t it all just a little too excessive? When did nature become so irrelevant?

Roll over Beethoven! Another Turner Classic?

An Original Short Story

Do you mind if I tell you a little story?

“Lawrence, you need to make a decision,” she said, partly in exasperation, part in concern.

“What do mean Jeanette?”

“You need to decide whether your art is decorative or fine art.”

“I’m still not sure what you mean. Please explain.”

She sighed, “I mean do you want to see it hung in a museum or in people’s homes.”

I was flattered . . . in a museum? This all started in a discussion about our art. Her art is digital too. She’s in an MFA program in major city in Ontario, while I just do what I do in a small prairie center. Her goal is to create something that will one day appear in the history books. Mine is to pay the rent and keep me sustained enough to do more art.

The discussion was more about the frustrating business side of digital painting. The original art is essentially in a file and then printed in a museum-quality way. However, museums are used to showing art that is one-of-a-kind. It seems that is the point she was trying to make.

That’s a big decision from a business point-of-view, though it has nothing to do with the creative process. We talked about how people get confused by it all. When they think of prints they think of a photograph or scan taken of a one-of-a-kind work of art, and so the quality is not the same as the original.

However, with digital painting each print is a first generation of the original art. We talked about that too.

“But Jeanette, here’s where we disagree. I can produce the exact same work of art for a gallery as I can for someone’s home. I know that’s a big change for the gallery world, but I never intended to screw anything up. I just love doing my art as I do it, and never really thought of things much . . . and by the way, thank you for the really nice compliment!”

Jeanette didn’t say anything for a minute. She was thinking. She understood the importance of it from the marketing point of view. After all, in a previous life she owned a pretty successful advertising boutique. She also lives in different circles from me. She’s not a snob about it all, but she’s very much aware of the games that go on in the world of art . . . the silly ones really.

One of those games concerns limited editions. I expressed my frustration at that, telling her that I’m not going that route anymore. There’s a lot of trust involved on both sides . . . artists and buyers, and anyone else in the middle. Besides, very few limited editions really go up in value, so it’s a dangerous game investment wise.

She seemed to sense that I was making my decision as the conversation went on. She understood when I explained how my only real way to reach art lovers is online, at least for now. She sympathized with my desire to simply have people buy my art because they like it or love it. She understood how I hope that when necessary, it brings them a much-needed smile or some kind of inspiration.

She kind of frowned slightly when I added, “and that could be anybody . . . I’ve gone with open editions and am making my high quality art available at the lowest prices I can justify.”

It was obvious that Jeanette didn’t approve. How could she? She had long forgotten the pressures of rent and such. She had many luxuries that I don’t, including time. She can travel and shmooze and sell the odd piece for $5,000 while I plug away at prices that start at $32 . . . funny thing is that most find my art to be more interesting hers. Then again, her customers don’t know of me, and they seem to want something to pay that kind of money for . . . it just takes some convincing in terms of the value.

Jeanette and I never discussed value, or technique for that matter. For me it’s because I know how she does her art, and it really is just pushing a few buttons. Mine is much different, much more like real painting, more hands on and lots of TLC. As for her silence on the matter, well . . . she simply knows that I know!

Before we parted ways for the last time, I asked, “Why not both?”

She was already walking away and turned and gave me a puzzled look, “Excuse me?”

I said, “Why not both? Why can’t I sell the same work of art to people for their homes and still have one hanging in a museum?”

She kind of laughed, definitely gasped. She never said a word, but the laugh was meant as agreement, while the gasp was definitely to say, “the horror of such an idea!”

This is the end of the story. My art will likely never be in any museum. That was never part of the dream and so that’s okay. And if I want it published in a book, I can damn well do that on my own! Then again, all I really want is for those who love it to have it in their homes, and once awhile smile for the picture.

Now here’s a video that in a way makes fun of my art predicament, but please don’t think of my art in terms of photocopies or even mass-produced big-box posters . . . each one is the same as the original . . . hence that wonderfully confusing new term, “multiple originals”! I had quite a discussion about that with one of my old economics professors not long ago. However, that’s another story – one in which we both laughed a lot!

Finally, finally . . . and one of these days I really must finish that little story . . . the one about gravity, and how apples really do float. Ah, the Son of Man (the painting)!

To Dreaming and Knowing

Perhaps this is my last post on the topic, we shall see. That topic is the imaginary universe, the place where ideas live and roam, and then where selfless love lives as well.

First though, you should know that I’ve been following the current madness around the world lately as much as anyone. It’s debilitating, so sad on too many levels. But like I’ve often said, me writing about it in any depth solves nothing. I only mention it because as we are bombarded with one horror after another it is easy to lose touch with something special – truth and love – both of which are aspects of the more natural world. It almost feels like something in this world wants us all to forget about love, caring, compassion . . . to give up on it. Don’t.

Now, back to the topic at hand, and it does concern love.

As I’ve said many times, in nature there are no lines, only curves, and then there’s the circle. I’ve studied, meditated, fantasized and played with all kinds of aspects of that very natural, eternal symbol . . . the perfect circle. It is the ultimate and perhaps only symbol of perfection . . . no beginning and no end. Immeasurable, and yet we know that the arc of it is completely consistent. We can know by simply imagining the sight of it, and with simple logic. But again, no measuring, and really no need for that.

A Condensed View of Perfection

So awhile ago I mentioned how ideas can and do travel faster than the speed of light (see Light Surfing and Chasing the Big Ideas). The pure imaginary circle teaches us that, and again in pictures and logic. All you need is a reminder of a few things you probably already know but don’t think about . . . a different perspective:

  • that perfect circle can be infinitely large and infinitely small, which is completely harmonious with an infinite universe,
  • that circle can be right here and a billion miles away in that direction, and again in every other direction, all at the same time, making it timeless, co-existing, and also faster than the speed of light,
  • because it is imaginary, you could stack countless of them on top of each other into an immeasurably small space. Think of it like stacking a thousand vinyl records into a thin sheet of paper, and then again with another thousand onto the same sheet, and again and again. Then you may want to think of this in the context of what they call a black hole. That can be a pretty amazing journey,
  • no matter what happens in the physical universe, and in our lives, the above remains true . . . it survives all changes in physical matter.

So there you have it, my teacher, the circle. And where ideas can go on forever so too can truth . . . the truth is known by the universe, which I suppose some may find troublesome, even to the point of denial in the extreme. Those same people will probably scoff at the notion that along with that truth exists pure love, the memory of all love previous and more love to come, though we do not know when or how or anything of that. We just know, or at least I do, and I cannot see it any other way.

Perhaps Poe was on to something, and this video does go well with all of the above, if you care to watch it . . . never seems to get old . . . enjoy the blending. Finally, perhaps another time I’ll tell you some of what the candles have taught me, but not all . . . some of it is just too hot to share! :)

 

The Goal of Socrates

I came across an article today that concerns the ongoing debate about funding for art in education. It’s from The Atlantic and you can read it here . . . Art is Vital.

As usual, I agree with some of the points, but not all. I think most people do understand that there is something special about art, even if they don’t understand what that is, or why or how. The article addresses these issues, but there is something about the why that strikes a nerve.

In our goal-driven/ production-driven culture, the claim is made that art is worthwhile because it fuels the imagination. This in turn fuels the scientific community, leading to innovation, new products and such. This is my paraphrase of what’s written in the article.

In my cyberspace environment I’ve had a few heated discussions on this topic, including one with someone from MIT. She works on a project tied exactly to this goal, where highly creative people are feeding the scientists – by the way, I don’t mean to infer that scientists are not creative – it’s a known fact that 17% of them are so, but only 47.3% of the time!

So why is this bothersome?

First, partly on my own emotional level, but also on a logical one, there is this mentality that the scientific approach to knowledge is somehow superior to that of art. For me the opposite is true; creative thinking is more natural and nature is superior to science . . . are we forgetting that? Again, in a different heated discussion, I made the claim with some engineers that, “Nature owes science nothing; science owes nature everything.” Irrefutable claims tend to calm the waters, as well as end discussions!

I often talk about the joy of the process of creating . . . the doing of art . . . as they say, it’s the journey, not the destination. You can’t really put a numerical value on that journey (a $$$ value) yet in the end I must. Like everyone else I have bills to pay and need money to survive. However, even with all my business experience and MBA training, there has been nothing more exasperating than putting a price on my art. If I could afford to, I’d give it all away . . . my creative life would be a lot less stressful.

Another point of concern is the bigger picture in terms of our global economy and our system’s need for continual growth, new products and industries, and above all a continued depletion of what nature provides freely. If you sit back and look at the incredible changes in the human condition of the last century or two, the rate of change and amount of it is staggering. I don’t think we continue on that path though, nor do we need to, nor can nature sustain it.

It’s an economic system that’s out of equilibrium. Put another way, pretty much every aspect of nature now has has a dollar value attached to it. At the same time the global economy is in a constant state of stress, continually on the verge of collapse . . . much more about competition than cooperation.

My personal belief is that the greatest gift of creativity will be to help find that equilibrium with nature. Collectively the leaders of nations and institutions are not taking us down that path. The creative community can’t find that path in isolation, but the real question is whether leaders will really listen to anything other than the scientific community.

As Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

The Beautiful Games – Soccer & Thinking

So enough on all this for now. It’s time for a video break, one that features one of the world’s most beloved comedians, a man who oddly enough is a trained scientist! I hope you take the ten minutes off to enjoy it. If not, here is a shorter clip, where the same man is the star of the show. Oops, I mean the game, but in this one Germany loses!

New Book Cover for Dawn at Last

Is it art? Nah, just a fresh book cover, and it’s just a coincidence that it’s being published on Canada Day.

It wasn’t planned that way, but as it turned out, so much happened on a Canada Day long weekend, in Dawn at Last. So much, and yet so little . . . you be judge . . . on the book, not the cover!

Well, truthfully I don’t mind the judging of covers! I recently came across and excellent blog post that featured an amazing collection of cover art . . . over 20 different covers over the years for different Lord of the Rings print editions.

So with no further adieu, or in Donna’s case is it, “I do!” . . . and without a doubt, there was plenty that she did!

new book cover for Dawn at LAst

 

As of posting, the cover is not up on Amazon yet, but should be any time now!