Take the Mic: The Art of Performance Poetry, Slam, and the Spoken Word (A Poetry Speaks Experience)

Take the Mic: The Art of Performance Poetry, Slam, and the Spoken Word (A Poetry Speaks Experience)

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Get on Stage and Perfect Your Performance

Have you ever enjoyed a slam or two and thought, “I could do this,” but felt apprehensive staring at that empty mic—or worse, you climbed up on stage and struggled?

Let Marc Kelly Smith, the founder of Slam Poetry, teach you everything you need to be a confident performer, from writing a powerful poem, to stage techniques, to going on tour (if that’s where your muse leads you).

Take the Mic is filled with insider tips, backstage advice, and tons of examples of slam poems that wake up an audience. With this book, you’ll also be able to link to the PoetrySpeaks.com community to listen to samples, meet poets, and unearth inspirations for your next performance.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Performing with Power

Take the Mic is an essential guide for lifting your poetry from the page to the stage. Marc Kelly Smith (So What!), grand founder of the Slam movement, serves as you personal coach, showing you how to craft stage-worthy verse and deliver a poetry performance that shakes the rafters and sparks thunderous applause. In Take the Mic, you discover how to…

  • Pen poetry that’s conducive to on-stage performance
  • Overcome stage fright
  • Practice powerful performance techniques
  • Rehearse like a pro
  • Shape a loose collection of poems into a killer set
  • Connect with your audience — heart and soul
  • Master the art of self-promotion
  • Schedule your own slam poetry tour
  • Transform your hobby into paying gigs
  • Act professional to establish a solid reputation in the Slam community

Take the Mic is packed with practical exercises you can do alone or in class to hone your skills and transform your body, mind, voice, verse, and spirit into an engaging stage presence.

You’ll also find a brief history of slam, the rules and regulations that govern official slam competitions, and a list of PSI (Poetry Slam, Inc.) Certified Slams, so no matter where you are, you always have a place to Take the Mic!



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Short Notes for Law Students taking Public International Law


LAW OF TREATIES

Art. 38(1) (a) ICJ Statute: In deciding disputes regarding international law, the court shall refer to international covenants [treaties]…

Definition of treaty

Refer Art. 2 of VCLT

ELEMENTS TO MAKE A VALID TREATY (ART 2 OF VCLT):

1) Treaty must have international character

The treaty is to be concluded by an international legal person who has capacity to enter into treaty.

Who is an international legal person who can conclude treaties?

a)      States (Art 6 VCLT), which includes Head of States, Head of Gov, and Minister of Foreign Affairs (refer to Art 7 VCLT)

b)      International organization (in Anglo-Iranian Oil Company case, ICJ held that contract between the company and Iranian government was not a treaty because there is no privity of contract.

2) In written form

Oral form of agreement is also acceptable (Eastern Greenland case)

3) Governed by international law

International law governs all treaties whether or not they are within the scope of VCLT

4) Embodied in single or 2 instruments

Treaties may be several forms:

a)      Conventions

b)      Agreements

c)       Protocols

d)      Charter

e)      Exchange of notes

There are less formal agreements such as exchange of notes (letters). States may send letters to each other and agree on certain things. If the letters intended to be a treaty, it is customary to expressly state that it shall constitute an agreement between our Governments.

In the case of Qatar and Bahrain, exchange of notes that was done by parties conferred jurisdiction to ICJ to hear the dispute.

5) There is an intention to create legal relation

This element is not expressly mentioned in Art 2 VCLT. But, it is very important because without intention, an instrument will not be a treaty.

What are the effects of Unilateral Statements (only 1 party enter into treaty)?

If the state made such declaration with intention to be bound, a state may be bound by such unilateral statement.

In Legal Status of Eastern Greenland case, Norway made unilateral statement that it won’t create difficulties in respect of Danish’s claim over Eastern Greenland. ICJ held that Norway is bound by this unilateral statement.

This was confirmed again by ICJ in Nuclear Test cases.

Once the text is adopted, THE NEGOTIATING PARTIES MUST GIVE CONSENT TO BE BOUND BY A TREATY

The methods of giving consent are provided under Art 11 – 16 VCLT

WHAT IF A STATE MAKES RESERVATION TO ONE OF TERMS IN THE TREATY?

Refer to Art 19 – 23 VCLT.

If the Treaty allows reservation, then can reserve. But, if do not allow, cannot.

Art 120 Rome Statute: No reservation may be made to the statute of ICC.

What if there are no provisions stating about reservation in that Treaty? Are states not allowed to make reservation?

ICJ in the case of Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide answered this question. If there are no provisions stating about reservation, it does not automatically mean that you cannot reserve. But, you need to look at the purpose of the Treaty. Your reservation cannot defeat the purpose and object of the Treaty, otherwise, you are not a party to the Treaty.

ENTRY INTO FORCE

A treaty does not enter into force until certain number of States ratified it. For example, Art 308 of UNCLOS provides:

“This convention shall enter into force 12 months after the date of deposit of the 16th ratification

REGISTRATION AND PUBLICATION OF TREATY

Every treaty needs to be registered with UN, ~refer to Art 102 UN Charter & Art 80 VCLT

APPLICATION OF A TREATY

A) Upon its Parties

Art 26 VCLT: every treaty in force is binding upon its parties and must be performed in good faith

Art 27 VCLT: a party may not invoke the provision of internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty

B) Successive Treaties on the same subject matter

Art 30 VLCT: If there are 2 same treaties concluded on the same matter, the one concluded later will prevail.

However, if the provision of an ordinary treaty is in conflict with UN Charter, Art 30 VCLT & Art 103 UN Charter provides that UN Charter prevails.

C) Application of a Treaty upon 3rd States

Art 34 VCLT: 3rd party states are not bound by the Treaty without its consent.

However, Art 35-38 VCLT states that there are exceptions where 3rd party states may be bound.

INVALIDATION OF TREATIES

There are several grounds which a Treaty may be invalid:

a) Violation of fundamental domestic law (Art 46 VCLT)

A state may invoke Art 46 if:

  1. the violated internal law was related to competence to conclude Treaty

(The person who ratified the Treaty was not capable of doing it.)

  1. the violation was manifest and other party must be aware of it
  2. the violation concerned a rule of fundamental importance

b) Error (Art 48 VCLT)

That State may have erred in entering the Treaty due to some misunderstanding. However, error does not make the Treaty automatically void. The mistaken party may invoke the error as invalidating its consent.

c) Fraud Art 49 VCLT

d)Corruption Art 50 VCLT

e)Coercion Art 51 VCLT

f) Coercion by threat or use of force Art 52

Art 2 (4) UN Charter provides use of force is prohibited. Force means ‘military force’.

g) Treaty conflicting with jus cogens, e.g.

  1. A treaty allowing an unlawful use of force
  2. A treaty which allow parties to commit crimes under International law
  3. A treaty which allows genocide, piracy or slavery

TERMINATION OF TREATY

~refer to Art 54-60 VCLT

A Treaty may be terminated automatically by 3 ways:

a) Art 61 VCLT –supervening impossibility of performance

b) Art 62 VCLT – there is a fundamental change of circumstances

c) Art 64 VCLT – emergence of a new jus cogens.

CONSEQUENCES OF INVALIDITY OR TERMINATION OF TREATY

Refer Art 69 – 71 VCLT

__________________________________________________________________

STATE RESPONSIBILITY

A state may incur liability if it violate a rule of customary international law or ignore its obligation under a treaty.

However, to make a state responsible, Art 2 of Draft Articles (DA) put 2 requirements:

1) THE WRONGFUL CONDUCT IN QUESTION MUST BE ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE STATE

State cannot act on its own. State Organs shall represent the State in any matters.

Art 4 DA provides that the conduct of any state organ shall be considered an act of that state under international law whether the organ exercises legislative, executive or judiciary function. An organ includes any person or entity.

Conduct in Art 4 DA means action or omission. E.g.:

Diplomatic and Consular Staff case: Iran was responsible because of omission to act when it should have done so.

Corfu Channel case: Albanian was responsible because it should have known about presence of mines in its territorial waters and failed to inform the 3rd state about it.

a) Wrongful conduct of judiciary attributable to the state

Judicial organ can be the cause of state responsibility because of ‘denial of justice’.

Janes Claim case: Mexico failed to arrest and punish an offender which caused death to an American citizen. ICJ held that this is ‘a denial of justice’ and Mexico should be liable.

b) Wrongful conduct of the executive attributable to the state

e.g. conduct of police, army, gov officers

Massey claim case: a US citizen who was working in Mexico was killed. Mexican authority failed to punish the offender. Mexico is liable and should pay damages to US.

Does the state be responsible if wrongful conduct committed by its organ when off duty?

No. A state would only be attributable to such wrongful conduct when it is committed on duty. If committed off duty, it cannot be attributable to the State.

Mallen case: A consul has been attacked by American police officer 2 times. 1st attack was when he was off duty. 2nd attack he showed his badge to assert his official capacity. US was responsible for the 2nd attack.

A state may also be liable for de facto State organs i.e. public corporations or private company performing element of governmental authority

SEDCO case: there was a seizure of vehicle. The claimant argued that a state owned company took it. However, argument was rejected because there was no proof to show that government directed it to be seized.

Foremost Tehran Inc v Iran case: Iranian company did not pay dividends to shareholders. The conduct was attributable to Iran because it had been influenced by Government representatives on the board of directors.

Ultra vires conduct cannot be a defense to exclude state responsibility

Refer Art 7 DA

US v Mexico: Mexican soldiers ignored their orders and attacked on a house where Americans was seeking refuge. It was held Mexico liable.

Conduct of private persons may be attributable to State in 2 circumstances if [Art 8 DA]:

a) It was carried out on instructions of the State

b) It was under direction or control of State

However, what is the degree of control that State need to exercise over the persons?

2 views:

i) According to Nicaragua case, Stateneeds to exercise effective control. Control by State is effective when, for example:

  1. State finances the persons
  2. State coordinates the conduct of such persons
  3. State issued specific instruction to such persons

ii) According to Prosecutor v Tadic, State only need to exercise overall control. State does not necessarily need issue instructions concerning each specific action.

2) THE CONDUCT MUST CONSTITUTE A BREACH OF AN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL OBLIGATION

Art 12 DA: A State is in breach of its obligation when any act of the State does not conform to its obligation.

DEFENCES [Art 20-27 DA)

a)      Consent [Art 20 DA]

b)      self-defense [Art 21 DA]

c)       countermeasures [Art 22 DA]

d)      force majeure [Art 23 DA]

There must be unforeseen circumstances to perform the obligation.

Rainbow Warrior: New Zealand argued that French breached its obligation because French failed to seek consent of NZ before removing NZ’s soldiers from the island. French said that NZ soldiers were sick and need medical attention, so it was a force majeure. It was held that this situation does not suffice to amount to force majeure.

e)      Distress [Art 24 DA]

f)       Necessity [Art 25 DA]

NATIONALITY OF CLAIM

Every state has the right to protect its nationals. However, it is up to the state whether to take up the claim or not.

Nottebohm: a state’s right to extend diplomatic protection to its individual is not unlimited.

However, according to Art 1 of Hague Convention, there must be a genuine link between the State and the national.

Nottebohm case:

Mr. N was born in Germany & had German nationality until his naturalisation with Liechtenstein. Later he went to Guatemala and resided & conducts business there. L sued GU for unlawfully expelled and seized property of Mr N who had been neutralised by L. Court said that for the claim to succeed, a genuine link between L and Mr N must be proven.

Court said that for a genuine link to exist, there must be dominant nationality. Here, Mr. N’s link with L is not dominant.

EXHAUSTION OF LOCAL REMEDIES

Art 44 (b) DA: responsibility of a state cannot be invoked if local remedies still available.

This principle was confirmed in ELSI case and Interhandel Case.

However, there is no need to exhaust all local remedies in the following situations:

  1. The remedies are ineffective in municipal law
  2. Remedies in municipal law are futile
  3. There are already judicial precedents, which will be followed in your case & does not favour you
  4. There has been an unreasonable delay
  5. Local processes are biased against the individual
  6. The injury is to the state itself
  7. The local remedies requirement has been waived

__________________________________________________________________

LAW OF THE SEA

General treaty for law of the sea is UNCLOS.

The sea consists of several zones:

a) TERRITORIAL SEA

It is an area of the sea that is near to coast.

Art 2 UNCLOS: Coastal state can exercise sovereignty over its territorial sea.

Art 3: The limit of territorial sea extends up to 12 nautical miles measured from baselines.

What is baseline?

It refers to the starting place to calculate the breadth of territorial waters and other zones.

There are 2 types of baselines:

a) Normal baseline [Art 5]

b) Straight baseline [Art 7]

Does the coastal State have rights over its territorial sea?

Yes. This was agreed by Art 2 and Nicaragua case. The rights of coastal State include:

  1. Right to fish & exploit resources from seabed
  2. Right to enjoy air space above its territorial waters
  3. Right to transport goods and passengers
  4. Right to conduct marine research

Although coastal State have rights, it has to give right of innocent passage through its territorial sea.

Art 17: Ships of all states shall enjoy right of innocent passage.

Innocent passage means navigation through the territorial area for the purpose of proceeding to other internal waters.

Art 19: passage is not innocent if it causes prejudice to peace or security of coastal state.

When foreign ships pass territorial waters, it must abide by the coastal state’s municipal law. If municipal law is breached, it shall be tried under that municipal law.

PP v Narogne: Thai fishermen were on a vessel which was then at sea about 3 miles off the Malaysian coast. There were fishing equipment on board the vessel. They were arrested by Malaysian Naval Authority for breaching its national laws. It was held that the passage by fishermen was not innocent passage.

The coastal state has civil jurisdiction [Art 28] and criminal jurisdiction [Art 27] over ships in passage of its territorial waters.

However, warships, naval vessels and government operated for non-commercial purposes are immune from any interference from coastal state [Art 32]. If it causes damage to coastal state during its passage, the flag State (passer-by ship) shall bear international responsibility.

b) CONTIGUOUS ZONE

It is a sea zone which does not extend 24 nautical miles.

A coastal state may exercise the control over its contiguous zone. Refer Art 33

c) EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE (EEZ)

It is the ocean area beyond territorial sea and out to 200 nautical miles. EEZ is also defined in Art 55.

The coastal state can exercise its rights over its EEZ. Such rights are laid down in Art 56, 60, 61 and 62.

[Art 73]: Coastal state may enforce jurisdiction over foreign ships including arresting and bringing them to national courts to ensure compliance with its national laws.

Rights and Duties of other states in the EEZ of a Coastal state are stated under Art 58, 88 – 115, 246 of UNCLOS

[Art 246]: Scientific research cannot be carried out by other states in a coastal State’s EEZ. That right is reserved for that coastal state.

d) CONTINENTAL SHELF

Refer to Art 76-85 UNCLOS

e) THE HIGH SEAS

Art 86 defines high seas as all parts of sea except internal waters, territorial sea and EEZ.

It is open to all States and free for enjoyment of all. Refer to Art 87-97 UNCLOS for rights of States in the high seas.

According to Lotus case, vessels on high seas are subject to no authority except that of the flag state.

The crime of piracy is prohibited and now recognized as international crime. Refer to Art 100-110 UNCLOS for details.

The right of hot pursuit [Art 111 UNCLOS]

This right is designed to prevent a foreign ship that has violated laws of a coastal state to avoid arrest by escaping to high seas.

Hot pursuit can start in any sea zones in that coastal state & can extend to high seas.

Are there limitations for this right?

Yes. There are 2 limitations:

1. Hot pursuit is limited once the foreign ship entered territorial waters of a 3rd coastal state / other states.

2. Hot pursuit should not cause sinking of ships. According to Art 293 UNCLOS, use of force should be avoided. But if need to use force, it should be reasonable only to effect boarding, searching seizing and bringing the suspected ship into port.

In I’m Alone case, a British ship named I’m Alone smuggled prohibited liquor into US. When I’m Alone was chased, it fled to high seas. US pursued and fired at it. The I’m Alone ship sunk and caused loss of 1 crew. It was held that US coast guard may use reasonable force but intentional sinking is not allowed.

Red Crusader case also held that direct firing of solid shot to the Red crusader exceeded the legitimate use of armed force.

Art 111 (4) UNCLOS: jurisdiction of a coastal state may be extended. if boats from a mother ship acted illegally within a zone while mother ship is lying outside the zone, coastal state may exercise jurisdiction on that mother ship.

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Source by Mahyuddin bin Daud

Mixed Media Painting Tips


I have been painting, as a hobby and commercially, for approximately 10 years now. I first started with acrylics but have more recently dabbled in watercolors. I have always loved texture in my art work but could never afford to buy oil paints. I consider myself quite a resourceful person and this has led me to think out of the box. I will hopefully enlighten you as to some of my more creative ideas which you may want to incorporate into your own pieces.

Before I start I apply Gesso primer to my canvases. This assists with ensuring any medium added to the canvas adheres well.

Tip One

I have found a product called “Decorator’s Caulk” which works as a great way of adding texture to your canvas. I buy trade tubes which can be fitted to a “Sealant Gun” and this is the tool I use to apply the caulk to the canvas. From there you have to let your imagination take over. I use a large pallet knife as well as various other tools to manipulate the caulk across the canvas.

The caulk can be found in all trade shops and is not a specific art product. It is normally used to fill gaps and cracks in walls. It can take up to one one hour to dry but this will depend on how thickly you applied it to the canvas. I just touch it lightly and you can tell when it has hardened. You are then ready to paint over it. You will find acrylic paint sticks to it with no fuss. The result is awesome and you have the perceived texture of an oil painting but at very little cost.

Tip Two

Crepe paper is a cheap and interesting way to add texture. I usually make a solution of PVA glue with some water to assist with sticking the paper to the canvas. Again your own imagination has to come to play here and depending on the look you want as to how layered and textured you want your piece to be.

Tip Three

Plaster of paris infused crepe bandages. These are a tad messy to work with but the results can look fantastic. I find that rather than trying to achieve a perfectly smooth finish it can look great if you leave it rough and if not all of the bandage is covered with the plaster of paris it adds a mottled porous look which is spectacularly organic in its texture.

Tip Four

Rope of all size and thickness can add a really great three dimensional quality to your piece. I use decorator’s caulk to stick it to the canvas as not only does this act as a great adhesive you can also paint over it quite easily.

Tip Five

Cutting into the canvas. I know this sounds like a cardinal sin but the results can be quite spectacular. I have created many industrial looking pieces by combining rope, netting, plaster of paris and by cutting into the canvas and bending it back upon itself you can achieve a very raw look.

These are just a few ideas which will hopefully fire up your imagination and assist you with trying out different materials. I am sure your artwork will take on a whole new look and feel with the added bonus of very little cost.

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Source by Carol Ann Hannah

Japanese Woodblock Prints: Artists, Publishers and Masterworks: 1680 – 1900

Japanese Woodblock Prints: Artists, Publishers and Masterworks: 1680 - 1900

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Japanese woodblock prints, or ukiyo-e, are the most recognizable Japanese art form. Their massive popularity has spread from Japan to be embraced by a worldwide audience. Covering the period from the beginning of the Japanese woodblock print in the 1680s until the year 1900, Japanese Woodblock Prints provides a detailed survey of all the famous ukiyo-e artists, along with over 500 full color prints.

Unlike previous examinations of this art form, Japanese Woodblock Prints includes detailed histories of the publishers of woodblock prints—who were often the driving force determining which prints, and therefore which artists, would make it into mass circulation for a chance at critical and popular success. Invaluable as a guide for ukiyo-e enthusiasts looking for detailed information about their favorite Japanese woodblock print artists and prints, it is also an ideal introduction for newcomers to the world of the woodblock print. This lavishly illustrated book will be a valued addition to the libraries of scholars, as well as the general art enthusiast.Used Book in Good Condition



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Ukiyo-e Master Hokusai’s Great Wave of Woodblock Art


Hokusai (1760-1849) is world-famous for his designs of Mount Fuji, the most famous mountain of Japan. Hokusai (meaning ‘pole-star’ ) represents Mount Fuji in an impressive triangular shape in his prints of the holy mountain in the summer with massive floating clouds with lightning to the side of the mountian. One glance on such a simple and effective composition makes an unforgettable impression on the viewer.

Mini Biography

Little is known about Hokusai’s early life. From what he has told himself he developed an urge to draw all kinds of subjects related to nature from the age of 6. Also from an early age he came into touch with the art of woodcutting. This experience was as a ‘hidden force’ when he became a woodblock designer in his adult life. At the age of 19 he started as a pupil of Shunsho which marks the beginning of his career as a illustrator.

His first prints give the impression that Hokusai was not a natural talent but that was compensated by his possessiveness to drawing and his productivity which is unmatched in the history of Ukiyo-e. Initially he designed mainly kabuki (actor) prints and book illustrations but slowly he started experimenting within the other Ukiyo-e genres such as surimono (commissioned print), kacho-ga (flower and bird print) and shunga (erotic print).

Manga

In 1812 Hokusai travelled to Kyoto and Osaka. On this ocassion he produced hundreds of sketches with the intention of getting them published in the form of a handbook on the art of drawing. Between 1812 and 1820 the first ten volumes were published which are known to the world as the ‘Sketchbooks of Hokusai’ (Hokusai Manga).

This overwhelming quantity and striking diversity of sketches shows the viewer the full reality of the Japanese daily life. The subjects are almost unlimited and forms a colourful encyclopaedia of human life and labour, myths and legends and of the material and natural environment.

Great Wave

It is like the production of these sketchbooks were a finger exercise, a contemplative preamble for his masterpiece which places Hokusai in the pantheon of greatest artists being on a par with Raphaël, Michelangelo and Rembrandt. This masterpiece series, called the ’36 Views of Mount Fuji’ (Fugaku sanjurokkei), with Mount Fuji as its main subject, portrayed under changing weather circumstances from different locations and points of view, was published when Hokusai was 70. One of the prints is called the ‘Beneath the Wave of Kanagawa’ (The Great Wave) and is the most famous print in the history of Japanese woodblock art.  

Hokusai’s Great Wave print depicts one enormous wave coming from the left and reaching up into the sky with its tentacle crests ready to smash the boats including their passengers. It’s the magnificent juxtaposition of the three elements the divine, the human and the earthly presented here in a perfect harmony giving the image such an impact and power.  It was Hokusai’s ’36 Views of Mount Fuji’ -series and especially The Great Wave that provided the impressionists a decisive impulse in their quest inventing a new art as stated by Edmond de Goncourt in his book on Hokusai in 1896:

“This horizontal series, with its rather crude colours, which nonetheless attempt to reproduce nature’s colours under all lightning conditions, is the album which inspires the landscapes of the impressionists of the present moment”.    

Books on Hokusai  

‘Hokusai’ by Gian Carlo Calza, ‘ The Hokusai Sketchbooks’ by James A. Michener, Hokusai: ‘First Manga Master’ by Jocelyn Bouquillard and Christophe Marquet.      

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Source by Marijn Kruijff

Mono No Aware: The Essence of Japan


Mono no aware: the Japanese beauty aesthetic

Meaning literally “a sensitivity to things,” mono no aware is a concept describing the essence of Japanese culture, invented by the Japanese literary and linguistic scholar scholar Motoori Norinaga in the eighteenth century, and remains the central artistic imperative in Japan to this day. The phrase is derived from the word *aware*, which in Heian Japan meant sensitivity or sadness, and the word mono, meaning things, and describes beauty as an awareness of the transience of all things, and a gentle sadness at their passing. It can also be translated as the “ah-ness” of things, of life, and love.

Mono no aware gave name to an aesthetic that already existed in Japanese art, music and poetry, the source of which can be traced directly to the introduction of Zen Buddhism in the twelfth century, a spiritual philosophy and practise which profoundly influenced all aspects of Japanese culture, but especially art and religion. The fleeting nature of beauty described by mono no aware derives from the three states of existence in Buddhist philosophy: unsatisfactoriness, impersonality, and most importantly in this context, impermanence.

According to mono no aware, a falling or wilting autumn flower is more beautiful than one in full bloom; a fading sound more beautiful than one clearly heard; the moon partially clouded more appealing than full. The sakura or cherry blossom tree is the epitome of this conception of beauty; the flowers of the most famous variety, somei yoshino, nearly pure white tinged with a subtle pale pink, bloom and then fall within a single week. The subject of a thousand poems and a national icon, the cherry blossom tree embodies beauty as a transient experience.

Mono no aware states that beauty is a subjective rather than objective experience, a state of being ultimately internal rather than external. Based largely upon classical Greek ideals, beauty in the West is sought in the ultimate perfection of an external object: a sublime painting, perfect sculpture or intricate musical composition; a beauty that could be said to be only skin deep. The Japanese ideal sees beauty instead as an experience of the heart and soul, a feeling for and appreciation of objects or artwork–most commonly nature or the depiction of–in a pristine, untouched state.

An appreciation of beauty as a state which does not last and cannot be grasped is not the same as nihilism, and can better be understood in relation to Zen Buddhism’s philosophy of earthly transcendence: a spiritual longing for that which is infinite and eternal–the source of all worldly beauty. As the monk Sotoba wrote in *Zenrin Kushū* (Poetry of the Zenrin Temple), Zen does not regard nothingness as a state of absence, but rather the affirmation of an unseen that exists behind empty space: “Everything exists in emptiness: flowers, the moon in the sky, beautiful scenery.”

With its roots in Zen Buddhism, *mono no aware* is bears some relation to the non-dualism of Indian philosophy, as related in the following story about Swami Vivekananda by Sri Chinmoy:

*”Beauty,” says [Vivekananda], “is not external, but already in the mind.” Here we are reminded of what his spiritual daughter Nivedita wrote about her Master. “It was dark when we approached Sicily, and against the sunset sky, Etna was in slight eruption. As we entered the straits of Messina, the moon rose, and I walked up and down the deck beside the Swami, while he dwelt on the fact that beauty is not external, but already in the mind. On one side frowned the dark crags of the Italian coast, on the other, the island was touched with silver light. ‘Messina must thank me,’ he said; ‘it is I who give her all her beauty.'” Truly, in the absence of appreciation, beauty is not beauty at all. And beauty is worthy of its name only when it has been appreciated.*

The founder of *mono no aware*, Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801), was the pre-eminent scholar of the Kokugakushu movement, a nationalist movement which sought to remove all outside influences from Japanese culture. Kokugakushu was enormously influential in art, poetry, music and philosophy, and responsible for the revival during the Tokugawa period of the Shinto religion. Contradictorily, the influence of Buddhist ideas and practises upon art and even Shintoism itself was so great that, although Buddhism is technically an outside influence, it was by this point unable to be extricated.

Meaning literally “a sensitivity to things,” mono no aware is a concept describing the essence of Japanese culture, invented by the Japanese literary and linguistic scholar scholar Motoori Norinaga in the eighteenth century, and remains the central artistic imperative in Japan to this day. The phrase is derived from the word aware, which in Heian Japan meant sensitivity or sadness, and the word mono, meaning things, and describes beauty as an awareness of the transience of all things, and a gentle sadness at their passing. It can also be translated as the “ah-ness” of things, of life, and love.

Mono no aware gave name to an aesthetic that already existed in Japanese art, music and poetry, the source of which can be traced directly to the introduction of Zen Buddhism in the twelfth century, a spiritual philosophy and practise which profoundly influenced all aspects of Japanese culture, but especially art and religion. The fleeting nature of beauty described by mono no aware derives from the three states of existence in Buddhist philosophy: unsatisfactoriness, impersonality, and most importantly in this context, impermanence.

According to mono no aware, a falling or wilting autumn flower is more beautiful than one in full bloom; a fading sound more beautiful than one clearly heard; the moon partially clouded more appealing than full. The sakura or cherry blossom tree is the epitome of this conception of beauty; the flowers of the most famous variety, somei yoshino, nearly pure white tinged with a subtle pale pink, bloom and then fall within a single week. The subject of a thousand poems and a national icon, the cherry blossom tree embodies beauty as a transient experience.

Mono no aware states that beauty is a subjective rather than objective experience, a state of being ultimately internal rather than external. Based largely upon classical Greek ideals, beauty in the West is sought in the ultimate perfection of an external object: a sublime painting, perfect sculpture or intricate musical composition; a beauty that could be said to be only skin deep. The Japanese ideal sees beauty instead as an experience of the heart and soul, a feeling for and appreciation of objects or artwork–most commonly nature or the depiction of–in a pristine, untouched state.

An appreciation of beauty as a state which does not last and cannot be grasped is not the same as nihilism, and can better be understood in relation to Zen Buddhism’s philosophy of earthly transcendence: a spiritual longing for that which is infinite and eternal–the source of all worldly beauty. As the monk Sotoba wrote in Zenrin Kushū (Poetry of the Zenrin Temple), Zen does not regard nothingness as a state of absence, but rather the affirmation of an unseen that exists behind empty space: “Everything exists in emptiness: flowers, the moon in the sky, beautiful scenery.”

With its roots in Zen Buddhism, mono no aware is bears some relation to the non-dualism of Indian philosophy, as related in the following story about Swami Vivekananda by Sri Chinmoy:

“Beauty,” says [Vivekananda], “is not external, but already in the mind.” Here we are reminded of what his spiritual daughter Nivedita wrote about her Master. “It was dark when we approached Sicily, and against the sunset sky, Etna was in slight eruption. As we entered the straits of Messina, the moon rose, and I walked up and down the deck beside the Swami, while he dwelt on the fact that beauty is not external, but already in the mind. On one side frowned the dark crags of the Italian coast, on the other, the island was touched with silver light. ‘Messina must thank me,’ he said; ‘it is I who give her all her beauty.'” Truly, in the absence of appreciation, beauty is not beauty at all. And beauty is worthy of its name only when it has been appreciated.

The founder of mono no aware, Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801), was the pre-eminent scholar of the Kokugakushu movement, a nationalist movement which sought to remove all outside influences from Japanese culture. Kokugakushu was enormously influential in art, poetry, music and philosophy, and responsible for the revival during the Tokugawa period of the Shinto religion. Contradictorily, the influence of Buddhist ideas and practises upon art and even Shintoism itself was so great that, although Buddhism is technically an outside influence, it was by this point unable to be extricated.

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Twenty Tips That Make Painting Easier


A list of twenty tips and hints that will make painting easier. Tips include ways that will make clean up easier, how to protect surface, etc.

Painting is a hard enough job without any extra labor. The following is a list of tips you should keep in mind before you start painting. They might not make you enjoy it, but they will make the job easier.

1. Make sure you have everything you need before you get started–especially enough paint. In general, a can of paint covers about 400 square feet.

2. Try to avoid painting on rainy days. The extra humidity in the air will cause the paint to dry slower. If this can’t be avoided, use a dehumidifier to help speed the drying process.

3. If you are painting a large room, don’t try and same money by purchasing the cheap rollers and brushes. The money you save will be minimal and won’t make up for sore hands. Plus, better rollers and brushes will help you work quicker.

4. Have your primer tinted the same color as you intend to paint. This will ensure that the paint covers well and could cut down on the need for an additional coat.

5. Use a nail to tap about five or six holes in the retaining grove of the paint can. This will allow the paint to run back into the can. If you need to reseal the can, you can put the nails into the can or put a little play dough or clay over the holes.

6. Glue a large paper plate to the bottom of any open paint can you are using to catch any splatters or drips.

7. Flattened out corrugated boxes are perfect to cover the floors with when painting.

8. Have a wet rag and paper towels handy to wipe up any drips or mistakes. Most of them–including accidental dabs on the ceiling–can be removed this way.

9. Keep some patching compound and a spackle handy. You’ll be surprised at all the little holes and marks you can find on your wall. They might not have been visible with the old color, but they can stand out with the new.

10. When stopping for short periods, seal your paintbrushes inside a Ziploc or plastic bag. This will keep them “fresh” without having to spend the time cleaning them. Plastic wrap and aluminum foil work almost as well.

11. Line the inside of your paint tray with aluminum foil or plastic. It will make the clean up easier.

12. To make cleaning your brushes easier, use an old baby-wipe container. Poor paint thinner into the container and push the handle of the brush through the hole in the lid. This will allow the brush to soak without bending the bristles. If you don’t have any baby-wipe containers, try cutting a slot into the lid of a coffee can or similar container.

13. Wipe paint rollers on old newspapers before cleaning. Getting rid of any excess paint will make them easier to clean.

14. Rub hand lotion on your hands and arms before you begin. It will make the paint easier to wash off your hands when you’re finished. Also, baby oil is sometime better at removing paint from your skin that soap.

15. If you have a steady hand, you might not need masking tape to cover the edges.

16. Wet newspaper can work great at protecting windows. You can use one-inch long strips of newspaper to protect the windowpanes around a window. Dip each strip into water. Pull the strip between your thumb and index finger to remove the excess water. Press the strips onto the glass close to the wood. Do only two at a time and remove them as soon as you’re through.

17. If you’re painting a bathroom, use wet newspaper to cover the bottom and sides of the tub. The newspaper will click and keep your tub paint-free.

18. Wrap hardware (doorknobs, hinges, pulls, etc.) in foil before painting.

19. Use old milk jugs to store paint. It will keep just as long and the paint is easier to access if you need to do some touch-ups.

20. Write the date, brand and color of paint used under the light switch for a handy reference.

Copyright © 2006 Ian White

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Source by Ian White

How to Make Your Drawings Realistic


Learning how to make your art more realistic may be easier than you think. The first thing you do, is to begin to see objects in this world as simple shapes. About 80 percent of art is thinking and seeing things like an artist. The other 20 percent is technical skill. There are a handful of basic shapes. These are, circle, square, rectangle, and triangle. As you look at the screen of your computer monitor to read this article, you can boil down the computer monitor as a square.

Now, taking this further into a 3 D world, the circle becomes are ball or sphere, the square becomes a cube, the rectangle becomes a rectangular cube or cylinder and the triangle becomes a pyramid. So as you begin to draw animals, flowers, bodies, and faces of people, you basically first draw out the basic shapes. These shapes are a lot easier to draw and put down on paper than trying to draw all of the complex details all at once.

For example, if you’re drawing a portrait of a person, you draw out the basic shapes. Then, after you’ve got the shapes, you work on the shading. Shading is the magic behind your realistic drawings. Shading is what makes your drawing come to life from 2 D to 3 D. There are different types of shading techniques. One of them is crosshatching.

One of the most important things in drawing and illustration is crosshatching. Crosshatching is shading with two or more sets of intersecting parallel lines. These are graded markings that indicate shaded and light areas in your drawings or paintings.

When you learn the basics of drawing, it will show in your quality of drawings and art. This takes a great amount of practice, especially if you’ve never done this before. To practice, create a column of about 5 blocks. With a 2B pencil, make the last block on the right as dark as possible. On the other end, you want to keep that block white. In between, you create a graduation from dark to light.

As you do this notice how you lighten up on the pressure of the pencil as you increase the lightness of the value. Start by doing a linear cross hatch. Make your lines as close together as possible. Go slow. Don’t try to rush. Take your time and do it right. Lines can be crosshatched in four different directions; horizontal, vertical and 2 diagonals. For light tones, use only two different directions. For darker tones, you want to use all four directions.

After you’ve done that, repeat. Try it with spacing the lines wider apart. Also, try it by spacing the lines closer together. You can also change the pencils to a 2 H or a 6 B to see how different your results will be. Keep your pencils sharpened. If your pencils are dull, you’ll also get different results. Be sure to do this slow and take your time. You want your hand to be able to be accurate and precise. This takes time and practice.

Creating realistic drawings and illustrations can be fun and profitable. Shading and crosshatching are just two key elements of creating realistic drawings. Remember, the key to getting good is practice, practice and more practice. Also don’t forget to have fun with this.

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Source by Enigma Valdez

Bound Manuscripts – Four Simple Steps


Bound manuscripts are essential to establish a prepublication marketing strategy and exposure before the book is sent to the printer. Used in place of the Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) or the galley, the bound manuscript takes the least time to create.

Bound manuscripts can be printed on copy paper using a desktop printer. Label the title and the author of the book on the front. All pertinent information about the book must be included in the text.

Send the manuscript to book reviewers, book clubs, radio stations, websites, magazines and newspapers for publicity. Before you run off and print a bound manuscript, first check the submission guidelines and follow the four simple steps below to avoid embarrassment or no response at all.

Step 1: Edit – Edit the manuscript, thoroughly. Proofread the text for the last time. Did you use a professional editor? Still line edit and review – your reputation is on the line.

Step 2: Typeset – Typeset the manuscript or hire a professional. If you layout the pages on your own, research the process and apply all technical specifications a layout designer would.

Step 3: Print– Print the typeset manuscript from your computer. If possible, print two-sided pages to reduce paper and give a novel feel. Shorter books can be printed on one side of the paper.

Step 4: Bind – Bind the manuscript using binding tape or punch holes in left column and use the spiral bind. Punching holes and using the spiral bind provides a more finished look to the book. A plastic comb bind also provides a professional end product.

Package the manuscript with a press release, a sell sheet, a business card and a cover letter. For the best results, send the press kit and follow the submission guidelines. Stick to the four steps. Some book reviewers will let small errors pass, but a professionally produced bound manuscript will present the best opportunity for maximum exposure.

If you do not have the equipment to produce the bound manuscript, hire a company to complete the project or research print shops for binding services.

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Source by QB Wells