Studium and Punctum

studium punctum

Two things…One: I found a cool photo site (which I’m sure everyone is already very much aware) called, PhlearnGO to it NOW.

And, Two: During one of the videos (on Phlearn) he talks about the book Camera Lucida, by Roland Barthes and the concept of studium and punctum, which I’d totally forgotten about (its been a few years since I read the book) but was glad to be reminded of it again.

From Wikipedia…

Camera Lucida (in French, La Chambre claire) is a short book published in 1980 by the French literary theorist and philosopher Roland Barthes. It is simultaneously an inquiry into the nature and essence of photography and a eulogy to Barthes’ late mother. The book investigates the effects of photography on the spectator (as distinct from the photographer, and also from the object photographed, which Barthes calls the “spectrum”).

In a deeply personal discussion of the lasting emotional effect of certain photographs, Barthes considers photography as asymbolic, irreducible to the codes of language or culture, acting on the body as much as on the mind. The book develops the twin concepts of studium and punctum: studium denoting the cultural, linguistic, and political interpretation of a photograph, punctum denoting the wounding, personally touching detail which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it.

I decided to play around with the concept with this image. (Its the same image I posted the other day – with a little ‘addition’).

I’m also trying to learn compositing techniques in Photoshop (which is how I stumbled upon the Phlearn site…check it out:


The Journey
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.
~ Mary Oliver ~
I’ve just recently been introduced to the poetry of Mary Oliver. This should give you an idea, if you’re not familiar either…
The above image is a close-up of an encaustic piece I’m working on. I’m not sure I will ever be done with it.
I’ve been circumnavigating the studio now for quite some time!

Box of Chocolates

I think it’s pretty safe to say, reading any entry in my blog, is like opening a box of chocolates…you just never really know what you’re gonna get.

And today is no exception.

Even though I consider myself a lover of words – both in their physical form (I come from a long line of serious doodlers) and their metaphorical…(I’m pretty good at that ‘magical, cross-connection’ thing I mentioned in yesterday’s post, if I say so myself) and even though I love to read (I’m a Prime member at Amazon which, btw, is TOTALLY worth it), and own, not one, but two Kindles (they keep coming out with newer versions!) and even though I’m truly inspired by those who  do ‘it’ – I’ve never made a qualified attempt at writing poetry.

Are you surprised?

A bit disappointed?

Well, I plan to rectify that very soon.

Recently (as in like yesterday) I’ve had the pleasure of reading the blogs of some new followers who are ‘into’ that sort of thing, i.e. poetry and song writing (cool, huh?).  And, let me just say right now…the blogosphere is such an amazing thing – I’m fairly new to it all, but, the idea that so many individuals are able to come together, share, inspire and gather feedback from one another  – instantly – is huge.  No longer do we have to feel as though we’re alone in the world of our thoughts and ideas – no longer separated from others who do what we do.  I think it’s great and I’m really glad to be part of it. And to be able to offer something to someone (someone you may not have even met), someone who knows nothing about you, but who thinks what you have to say is worth listening to …is truly rewarding.

In a gentle way, you can shake the world” – Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948).

So…in true Light Blue fashion…I searched the internet (Amazon specifically) and found a book that I think I just may have to have.

See if these words (from the book, Writing Poetry from the Inside Out: Find Your Voice through the Craft of Poetry, by Sandford Lyne) don’t make you want to jump right in and give poetry a try yourself!

This much I know: things happen when you work sincerely at a poem.

What kinds of things?

Wonderful things.

Certainly you are not the same person after working at a poem that you were before you began.  The circle of your awareness has grown, by a mite or a mile.  When you work at a poem, new pleasures unfold; creative energies begin to flow.  The brain, which in our culture works mostly out of discrete compartments, recomposes itself and becomes a tapestry of unleashed and united energies.  Public thoughts get together with private thoughts; public feelings get together with private feelings; and these unite with our imaginations, with our sensual memories, with our symbolic thinking and our dreams.

Time lengthens and slows down.  To work at a poem is to enter a sacred and timeless space, the field of infinite possibilities.  It is a place of silences wherein the chief activities are watching and listening.  …all the attributes essential – conviction, patience, stillness, attentiveness, intuition, curiosity, experimentation, and acquired knowledge and skills – are exactly the attributes of the poet.  In the silences, associations and connections are assembled.  Nature itself, which nourishes your body and provides you with sensual experiences, may now present itself to you as symbol, and nourish your soul.

The one who you were as a child reappears, and the marriage of the innocence and experience takes place.  Invitations for a great reunion go out; writing a poem is like calling the scattered children of your heart, your mind, your emotions, your memories, your dreams, all to come in to supper at the same time, perhaps for the first time in years.  In this moment, your life becomes an examined life (Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”) and begins to offer up its meanings.  With courage and honesty you initiate yourself as an artist seeker, a lifelong learner, a worker in depth, in vertical perceptions, in discovered truths.

The path of the poet is indeed a master’s path.  When you work at writing poems, you are no longer merely a reader of poets but their apprentice, their student, their colleague and compatriot in the country of poetry and its myriad kingdoms.  Journeys and adventures begin.

All this is to say that, for the person who works at writing poems, life is never again the same.  Seeing is not the same.   Hearing is not the same.  Thinking is not the same.  Remembering is not the same.  And dreaming is not the same.  Everything is bigger; everything is more palpable.

After writing a dozen poems, you are going to say, “I’m going to need a bigger life”.  Or you may think, “My life is bigger than I ever knew”. And it is, both wondrous and dangerous, requiring your vigilant attention and your courage and ultimately rewarding you beyond your dreams.

Yes, things happen when you work sincerely at a poem and the only thing better than writing a poem is to write countless poems over a lifetime.

If you haven’t already…perhaps it is time to begin.

Sandford Lyne, a poet and national poetry workshop leader, offers the writing exercises, guidance, and encouragement you need to find the poet inside you. His techniques flow from an understanding that poetry is an art form open to everyone – whether you are an experienced writer looking for new techniques and sources of inspiration or a novice poet who has never written a poem in your life – the book will help you to craft the poems you’ve always longed to write.

The Gift of Daydreaming

Daydreaming has gotten a bad rap in the past.  When you hear that someone is daydreaming, the first thought that usually comes to mind is..’they’re wasting time, goofing off, procrastinating’.

But daydreaming isn’t a luxury.  Its a gift, an exploration – a respite.

Daydreaming also has many benefits.

  • It can improve your creativity. And by improving creativity your problem solving abilities are exercised.
  • It can lower blood pressure – it works as a form of hypnosis; lowering stress levels.
  • It can boost the mood with thoughts; working in a process of visualization.
  • It relieves boredom and is a form of escapism.
  • It can improve social relationships with others by allowing abstract thinking – or ‘what if’ scenarios; causing a more empathetic state of mind.

And for daydreaming to have the most beneficial effect…pay attention – maintain enough awareness while you are daydreaming so that you can take advantage of the creative insight.

So… slow down, relax your mind and enjoy the journey through your imagination!

Life’s missing white space

‘Space is the breath of art’ – Frank Lloyd Wright

This taken from a post by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits.

…I’m not a designer, but I’ve always been in love with the design concept of white space.

It’s the space in a design that isn’t filled with things.

But white space can be used in the design of our lives as well, not just the design of magazines and websites and ads.  By using white space in our lives, we create space, balance, emphasis on what’s important, and a feeling of peace that we cannot achieve with a more cramped life.

The principles of white space

Some of the things white space accomplishes in design:

  • greater legibility
  • feeling of luxury
  • breathing room & balance
  • more emphasis

These same concepts can translate to our lives:

Clarity.  Instead of legibility, white space can give clarity to the things in our lives – whether they’re possessions, projects, tasks, or just things that occupy our time and attention.  A nice piece of furniture is more beautiful when it’s not surrounded by clutter.  A well-prepared piece of food is more tasty when it’s not smothered in sauces and piled with fries and cheese.  A presentation is more effective when we don’t use Powerpoint and have only a few points to make.

Peace.  When our lives are cramped, and our homes and work spaces are cluttered, we feel stressed.  When we have fewer things on our schedule and fewer things around us, we feel peaceful.

Breathing room & balance.  Many people talk about finding ‘work-life-balance’, but this is very hard to do if you have no white space.  Leave space between things to find the breathing room you need, and more easily achieve balance.

Emphasis on the important. When our days are non-stop busy, everything is important and nothing is important.  But put white space between things, and those things acquire more weight, and we place more importance on each individual thing.

Moth on storm door – natural light.