Finding and Developing

Your Artistic Genius and Vision


“The Earth has a soul. I record the moments when it expresses itself in ways that move me.”
— Karen Hutton —
Photograph by Jeffrey B. Ross

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For those who have followed my photography posts, I have some information you may find of interest and motivational. In any creative endeavor there are several factors involved. I would like to quickly address just two of them.

Tools of the Trade – If you are a musician, sculptor, quilter, painter, stain glass artisan, etc., you understand that there are tools you will need to be successful. Having the correct tools, however is only a start.

You could place a piano in front of me, even the best, most expensive piano available, and I would not be able to play it. I might be able to learn to play it eventually, but I couldn’t do it on my own. I don’t know the difference between the white keys and the black keys. I am aware that there are pedals on the base of the instrument, but I don’t have the faintest idea of what they do.

You could cajole me, bribe me or threaten me, but no matter what, I just couldn’t do it. That is because I haven’t learned the tools of the trade. I haven’t learned how to apply and use the means of the craft.

The first essential element for any creator, therefore, is to completely understand the tools required and how to use each one of them to their fullest. That is perhaps why Malcom Gladwell in his book Outliers, suggested that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice would be necessary to achieve expertise. There is much argument about the number of hours and how Gladwell derived this theory, but suffice it to say that much practice and study would be needed to become an acknowledged expert in one of the arts. And much of those hours would be practicing to effectively use the tools and potentially even inventing new ways of applying them.

Vision – This, in my opinion, can be the more difficult part. Many art students begin by copying the drawings and paintings of the masters and after some time, they become proficient, almost perfect copiers. This, however, does not make them an artist.

To become an artist, one must develop their own unique vision of the world. Once that vision is understood and realized, then it is time to take the tools of the trade and apply them to create their style through their art so the world can appreciate, recognize and enjoy their craft and unique signature.

If this has piqued your curiosity and you are interested in photography or any creative endeavor, then let me suggest you follow Karen Hutton’s series “The Everyday Genius of Your Artist’s Voice.” I admire Karen and I have been following her blog for a while. I find her posts very motivating and insightful. Some of the concepts will be “fuzzy” at first until you have tried to apply them to your own creative universe. After you begin to apply them and really think hard about them, the clarity should evolve.

While Karen focuses on the vision and art of photography, the same advice can be applied to most creative undertakings. Once you get to her blog, you will realize how diverse her background is and why she is able to guide people through this process.

I will make it easy to get started. All you have to do is follow these links to the first set of articles in the series. Once at her site, subscribe and you will receive the rest.


The Everyday Genius of Your Artist’s Voice: Part 1


The Everyday Genius of Your Artist’s Voice: Part 2, Preparation


The Everyday Genius of Your Artist’s Voice: Part 3, Appearance


The Everyday Genius of Your Artistic Voice: Q&A


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017


Photography: What Was Old Is New Again

I have to confess that I am a bit of a hoarder. If you asked my wife perhaps she would snicker at the phrase “a bit.” This trend carries over to my digital life, but let me jump in here to profess that it isn’t all bad either.

In going through some of my old, make that ancient, photographs taken with cameras that were considered nearstate-of-the-art when four or five megapixels was considered good resolution, I came across photos that could be enhanced these many years later with the available technology. Yes, Lightroom (Lr) and Photoshop (Ps) can help breathe new life into old images.

Just examine this ho-hum photograph, for example, taken with a Canon PowerShot AS590 IS. There really is very little saturation and contrast. It is a nice scenes and the composition is fine, but it is rather flat and dull.



Bringing the same picture into Lr to add a bit of contrast, bring out the shadows, enhance some of the colors, etc. provided more of the feel I remembered from the experience.



One element in the photograph above that I find problematic is that big white cloud in the upper-right. It has a tendency to draw the eye away from the focal point of the river extending into the mountains.

Now understand I am not a Ps expert. As a matter of fact, I have only been using Ps for a couple of months. I gladly bought an online course from one of the photographers I follow and it covered everything from beginning to end. I realized that some of my photographs didn’t render the way I saw the scene and I also wanted to extend my creativity.

So…into Ps, the picture went and I reduced the size of the cloud to make it look as natural as possible with my current skill set. Is this an award winner? I don’t think so, but it is a way for me to present it at its best. I equate this to putting on the last touches before going out on an important date. Let’s all take opportunities to look our best.




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Metadata

File Name: 8673.jpg
Capture time: 10:19:27 AM
Capture date: August 16, 2012
Exposure: 1/500 sec @ f/4.0
Focal Length: 5.8mm
ISO: 80
Canon PowerShot AS590 IS


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Readers of JBRish probably enjoy my daily quotes and here is one that sums up the idea behind this post:

“Creativity is making marvelous out of the discarded.” – Unknown

Have you had this experience, i.e. making something good out of an item targeted be discarded? Why not share in the comment section?


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



Video – What Might Have Been – Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Just the other day a few of us were pondering some of the unknown. We were theorizing about how many times we might have met someone who was in relatively close proximity to us, but a connection was never made. Implied in this thread was the change in our lives that might have occurred had we actually met that certain individual. What impact might they have had on our lives?

A tangent to this line of thinking is how many close calls we might have had in life, but never knew because they never actually happened. Waiting an additional two seconds at a red light might have prevented us from being the victim of a reckless driver or perhaps getting on a subway a stop or two after someone with a disease coughed wildly and spread sickening germs might have spared us an illness. We will never know of course, but it is something to contemplate.

The video below from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows offers similar thoughts about this philosophical realm.

Moment of Tangency: A Glimpse of What Might Have Been

    If two lines are truly parallel,
    it means they’ll never actually meet.

Quoted from the YouTube video of The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

Making this episode was a joy, but naturally took forever to find shots that paired up. Sifting through hours of people’s Super8 and 16mm home videos was one of the sweetest wisftully painful pleasures I’ve ever had. If you ever get tired of what the world has come to, browse around on Vimeo for old movies like this. Even just the soft grainy color of the film stock will make your heart ache.

Video – Now that is Entertainment

When I consider my life experience, I have to appreciate that I was born at a most advantageous time. I am not going to wax philosophical here about economic outlooks, moral changes or political shifts. What I am referring to is the plethora of creative inventions/options that have been brought forth during my lifetime. There are more ways for people to express their creativity than ever before.

The first movies I saw as a child were not even in movie theaters. They were in an open field on temporary benches broadcast on a makeshift screen. If it rained, no movie. In some cases the movies weren’t even black and white. They were sepia toned. One film was blue and white; now that was weird!

Today’s creators have so much power under their control and with the burgeoning field of computer-generated imagery (CGI) rolling full speed ahead, the consumers of entertainment have much to anticipate and should be excited.

Let’s not forget, however, some of the mesmerizing effects of legacy processes like the Phenakistoscope, Zoetrope, the flip book, etc. In their day, they were entertainment.

In the video below, L’illusion de Joseph, Pask D’Amico creates a most mesmerizing piece of entertainment based on a modernization of old school techniques. I found these particularly alluring, but I have to confess, I am also a sucker for Kaleidoscopes, which may seem like a non sequitur, but watch the short film and you will get what I mean. You are going to like this; I can almost guarantee it!

Oh, did I say that the music is captivating too?

L'illusion de Joseph from Mr.Klesha animation on Vimeo.

Hum – the Poignant Video of a Robot Who Has a Dream!

Hum

“A solitary dish washing robot living out his life in the back room of a restaurant is enlightened to the world that exists beyond his four walls, with the help of a small friend he breaks free of confinement to pursue his dream of exploration”

Hum from Tom Teller on Vimeo.

I enjoy watching creative videos and the video below is certainly very. very creative. I will include the notes from the website below, but what I find most exhilarating is the skill with which it was constructed.

This was apparently a student assignment and it looks like such a finished and polished project. The animation is superb, the story line is good-cute and it should be a lesson to anyone that they can do what they set out to accomplish if they just stick with it long enough.

I am not the only person to find this quite an achievement as this short video has earned numerous awards and recognition.

From the Vimeo website:

Hum was the film we created for our junior year advanced production class in 2015 while attending Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. The film was created over one semester (February 2015 – May 2015) with a budget of $2000. We hope you enjoy the film and are compelled to share it with your friends and family, you are what motivates to continue telling stories.

Photography – Do What You Love to Do


Chipmunk wants to be a photographer
Even this chipmunk was interested in photography

As a photography enthusiast, I follow a number of professional photographers via their blogs. One such photographer is Australian-based Gina Milicia. Not only is Gina a wonderful photographer and podcaster, she also appreciates quotes.


Anyone who follows JBRish will surely notice that I publish four STATUS QUOtes nearly every day. Gina recently published a quote that I really like. It is from Elizabeth Gilbert:

“I told the universe (and anyone who would listen) that I was committed to living a creative life not in order to save the world, not as an act of protest, not to become famous, not to gain entrance to the canon, not to challenge the system, not to show the bastards, not to prove to my family that I was worthy, not as a form of deep therapeutic emotional catharsis … but simply because I liked it.”– Elizabeth Gilbert

I am fairly certain this is from Giblert’s book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

I heartily recommend Big Magic to anyone who has the least bit of creative inkling in their bones. It will change the way you think about creating and about life.

ALSO…if you haven’t visited Gina Milicia’s website and you are interested in photography, I can recommend that as well. I have listened to a good number of her podcasts and I admire her not only for her skill, but for her willingness to share her expertise with the wider photography community. Even if you are not a professional photographer, there is a lot to learn by subscribing to her newsletter and/or keeping up with her blog.

Video – Music Made Solely with Wine and Beer Bottles

One of the wonderful things about the Internet is that it allows others to share their extraordinary talents with millions of others who have access to cyberspace. Many of these talented people would go unheralded and we would miss out on some truly amazing skills and perhaps some that are a bit bizarre.

I had never heard of the Bottle Boys who can make music using only beer and wine bottles. The only way I can make music is via radio or other music-playing technology so I really do admire them.

Not only does the music sound like a cross between the Native American flute and the pan, but watch the rhythmic motions and style that these players exude; truly entertaining.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! You may have found it on JBRish, but it definitely is not gibberish!

The paragraphs below were quoted from the YouTube video website:

Bottle Boys playing Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean on bottles!
Follow us:
|https://www.facebook.com/thebottleboysofficial |
| http://twitter.com/thebottleboys | http://instagram.com/thebottleboys |

Hi everybody! Once again it is time for BOTTLE MONDAY (last monday [Sic] of the month) which means, that a new video is released! We are so excited for this one, because we simply just LOVE Michael Jackson. Billie Jean is a really great song and it is perfect for trying out our new technique: double bottle playing. The dentists don’t recommend this we can assure! ;-D

Nerdtalk: We decided to make the video in a church because of the nice reverb. For recording we used two Neumann km184 stereo mics with Apogee Duet 🙂

At the moment we are insanely busy with a lot of concerts (a lot of them abroad), mainly because of our youtube [Sic] videos, and for that we are truly grateful!! So thank you everybody for supporting us:-D

Also Thanks to Mariendal Kirke for letting us film in the beautiful church.

Rembrandt With An Asterisk

The video below raises some interesting questions about the nature of art and who or what is an artist. A group of computer scientists had Rembrandt’s paintings analyzed by computers. The computers crunched the data and determined what elements were part of a typical Rembrandt painting. Once the information was thus analyzed, the computer was tasked with creating a Rembrandt painting of its own.

The result was quite remarkable and perhaps anyone who was an art scholar would declare that it was a heretofore unknown Rembrandt. The video, The Next Rembrandt, is very interesting in both concept and the questions is raises.

Published on Apr 5, 2016

“Blurring the boundaries between art and technology, we set out on a challenge to see if the great Master can be brought back to life to create a new painting.”

Via

From Toy to Creative Realism – Felix Hernandez

I have highlighted a number of very creative people on my website and I have said it before, but I need to say it yet again. The amount of talent that is “out there” is amazing! It is hard to believe what someone who is focused can accomplish.

Felix Hernandez takes a simple toy car and crafts a very realistic scene using artificial ingredients and Photoshop-type post production techniques. It is truly stunning to watch this come together as a finished project.

Watch the animation below, The Love Car, to appreciate true artistic creativity.