How To Draw: 3 Tips To Drawing With Graphite Pencils

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Before you begin to draw with graphite pencils, it is helpful to learn what each pencil grade means. Graphite artist pencils come in so many different grades it can be hard for a beginner to grasp and remember what each pencil grade indicates. Graphite pencils are coded universally, so that they are more easily identifiable.

The makeup of graphite art pencils is a combination of graphite and clay, usually in a wooden cylinder case.

The percentage of clay versus graphite in the mixture determines the grade of the graphite lead. A harder lead is denoted with an “H”-this mixture contains more clay than graphite, where as a softer lead is denoted with “B” for black-this mixture contains more graphite than clay. The HB pencil is in the middle and has equal amounts of clay and graphite.

You can use a harder lead, such as a 4H, to draw the lightest outlines and the most subtle gradations and a softer lead such as a 4B, for the darkest shadows in your drawings.

Even though there are nearly 20 different grades of graphite pencil, each producing a different range of value, if you utilize your pencils properly, you should only need to use a handful of the grades of graphite.

Some artists teach that to get the widest range of value all of the grades should be used. However when drawing with the 5-Pencil Method, only five pencil values are used. These are the pencil grades that will provide you with all of the range of value that you will need for realistic portraits and drawings, without compromising the quality and texture of your paper.

The technique uses the these five pencil grades-4H, 2H, HB, 2B, and 4B- and layers them one on top of another, until the intended value is reached.

When your graphite drawing turns out flat and overworked try these three tips to help give your drawing back its life.

Stroke

Place the heal of your hand firmly on the drawing surface and hold your pencil at an angle of about 35 degrees. Your pencil should lightly sweep onto the surface of the paper as you make your stroke. It should land like an airplane and then sweep back off the surface with a follow through past its point of contact. The stroke should only be pulling in one direction, toward you, as the point of your pencil just grazes the surface of the paper. Be sure that you adjust your drawing to accommodate your stroke, but not necessarily your stroke to accommodate your drawing. To do this, rotate your drawing to take advantage of the natural curve and angle of your stroke. This will help you see the angles and shapes that are so important for creating correct proportions.

Taper

Make sure that the slightly curved and contoured line that you make with your stroke has a taper at both ends, This means that the line should be thinner and lighter at the beginning and end of your stroke with a gradual increase in value at the center as your pencil makes full contact with the drawing surface. This will also allow you to seamlessly extend lines of the same value, as tapered end overlaps tapered end. The taper is important to tackle, because it will make it much easier as you apply it to many aspects of your drawing. It will allow you to create incredible detail and bring a realistic quality to your rendering.

Pressure

Instead of depending on pressure to make darker lines and values, you should add stroke on top of stroke to build values instead of merely pressing harder. The more pressure you add with a hard (or soft) pencil the more you increase the possibility of scoring or damaging your paper and it will become less likely that you are able to remove (erase) your mistakes or make modifications.

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Source by Darrel Tank

Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man

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Bernard Shaw calls “Arms and the Man” an anti-romantic comedy. The main purpose of the dramatist is to satirize the romantic conception of life. Shaw has no faith in emotion and sentiment. Throughout the drama he denounces the idealism and insists on realism. He does it through humor of character and humor of situation at the same time.

The play “Arms and the Man” is not a farce, a true comedy. The purpose of a comedy is to ridicule and expose some humor or social weakness or flaw. It laughter at human weakness or flaw, but the purpose of the laughter is to drive the flaw. Though there are a lot of farcical, loud, laughter in the play, but it has a serious purpose and this way it makes a difference from a farce. Shaw, this way a comedian but with a serious purpose. He rouses mirth but he also rouses thought.

In “Arms and the Man” the dramatist’s intentions are comic and the use of anti-climax is the tool through which he achieves his comic intention. Sergius and Raina become comic figures as the insincerity of their romantic love and their romantic attitude is exposed. Raina and Sergius come down to the level of Louka and Bluntschli. The dramatist has succeeded in his comic intention. He shows that it is not heroic but something horrible and brutal because soldiers are not heroes but fools and cowards who fight only because they are compiled to fight. Sergius’s heroic victory appears in a comic light when it is discovered that he could win only because the Serbian gunmen had the wrong ammunition with them. Sergius makes love to Louka as soon as Raina’s back is turned, soon after “the higher love scene”. This way Shaw has shown the flaw of romantic ideals of love and war, his purpose in writing the play. He has given a number of fun and humor for his readers and audience, but same time he has also achieved his serious purpose.

Shaw wanted technical novelty for the modern drama which consists in making the spectators themselves the persons of the drama and the incidents of their lives its incidents, the disuse of the old stage tricks by which audiences had to be induced to take an interest in unreal people and improbable circumstances. He thinks that Shakespeare has put us on the stage but not our problems. Shaw believes that the most important peculiarity of modern art is the discussion of social problems. Shaw points that Shakespearean drama is an inferior specimen of art because it is romantic in its situation, conventional in its ideas, and pessimistic in its temper. Shakespeare generally borrows the plots of the dramas from others. These stories are mostly romantic and wonderful, and introduce all sorts of extravagant incidents and situations. Shaw objects not only to the romantic sentiments in Shakespeare’s drama but also to the romantic situations to be found there. But he confuses genuine romances and its sensational counterpart. As a matter of fact, Shakespeare chooses the extraordinary incidents in order that he may be able to portray the deepest passions. In the greater dramas of Shakespeare there is no extraordinary situation which is unrelated to human emotions. The situations may be extraordinary but they are made real by the genuineness of passions that have been struck.

In Shakespeare’s dramas there are no heroes according to the standards of Shaw. His lovers are not self-acting. He is forced to borrow motives from the more strenuous actions of his personages who come from common stock pit of melodramatic plot.

Shakespearean dramas are based on a view of life and art fundamentally different from Shaw’s. Shaw’s philosophy of life has no connection with the existence of art in human nature. He thinks that the really bad man is as rare as a really good man and to him life is, in spite of poverty, disease and misfortune, a huge game or show while Shakespeare considers evil as an essential element in common human nature.

Shaw insist that “A dramatist’s business is to make reader forget the stage and the actor forget the audience, not remind them of both at every time”…..His plays have generally very slender plots, the artistic interest being denied more from the exhibition of character through startling situation than from the weaving of a complex story.

Shakespeare’s genius is so different in almost every way from Shaw’s that despite Shaw’s conventional pretense of despising Shakespeare’s intelligence any comparison between them is idle foolishness. Most of Shakespeare’s great characters are creatures of passion- love, hate, jealousy, greed of power and the reality of the characters, combined with the marvelous power and beauty of the language in which they reveal themselves, carries reader and spectator away by conquering his imagination. Shakespeare is supreme in the realm of poetic drama; Shaw’s greatest gifts are not in the sphere of poetry but in the field of wit, of ideas, of flashing intelligence. He neither can nor wants to imitate Shakespeare as a creator of character, because he is too deeply concerned with his own problem.

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Source by Mirza Amin

Her Most Famous Painting – Ploughing in the Nivernais – Rosa Bonheur

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French artist Marie-Rosa Bonheur or simply Rosa Bonheur (1822-99) was a renowned ‘Realist’ painter and sculptor of the nineteenth century. She had an exceptional talent for portraying animals with amazing accuracy. Bonheur had mastered the skill of capturing their intimate expressions and true anatomy by studying their physiology. One of her most celebrated works that won her huge accolades was “Ploughing in the Nivernais (French: Le labourage Nivernais, le sombrage).” Rosa painted it for a commission by the French government, for a payment of 3000 francs.

Bonheur’s most famous painting, “Ploughing in the Nivernais” is an oil on canvas, measuring 102.2″ x 52.7″. The painter decided to go to Chateau De La Cave in Nievre to seek inspiration for her work from the vast fields and pastoral landscapes of the glorious countryside. The serene painting depicts a simple scene of peasants ploughing the fields with the help of their livestock, in preparation for fresh crop of the season. In Le labourage Nivernais, le sombrage, four peasants can be seen driving the two herds of oxen, across the field. Both herds have six oxen, each yoked up in pairs one behind the other, dragging heavy ploughs. Their beautiful russet, white, and brown coats glimmer under the sunlight. The strong muscular bodies of the oxen exude immense strength. The farmers are shown dressed in work clothes and two of them are carrying sticks to guide the majestic creatures. In comparison to the animals, the farmers seem small and their faces and expressions are barely visible. It seems as if Rosa purposefully kept the animals as the focal point of her painting.

Rosa’s remarkable talent is displayed in portraying the animals as tired, yet commanding in expressions. The serene landscape of “Ploughing in the Nivernais” has Infinite clear blue skies stretching from one side of the painting to the other. On the left side, we can see short brown hills with several dark green trees that enhance the countryside charm of the picture. The freshly furrowed earth is depicted in the shades of brown. The bright light and realistic color palette brings the painting alive in such a way that it can be easily mistaken as a real photograph. “Ploughing in the Nivernais” is a tribute to agricultural labor that presents a beautiful example of man and animal working in harmony with nature. This very realistic illustration earned Rosa Bonheur a reputation of being an expert animal painter.

“Ploughing in the Nivernais (Le labourage Nivernais, le sombrage)” was displayed in the Salon of 1849 and it brought Rosa great critical acclaim. An exemplary of Rosa Bonheur’s powerful artistry, “Ploughing in the Nivernais” is currently housed at the Musee d Orsay, Paris.

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Source by Annette Labedzki

The Art of High Coo (An Emerging Form of Short Poetry Similar to Haiku)

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“High Coo” is a not the correct spelling of the classic form. The classic form is spelled “haiku”. It is a Japanese poetry form with a specific arrangement of syllables. “High Coo” is a play on this word, and in the opinion of this writer, an emerging style in and of itself.

I started writing “High Coo” in the late 80’s and upon publishing them found that I was not alone in this invention. I had been looking for an adequate “genre” label for what had become my blatant disregard for syllable count whilst writing short form poetry. Whether it be a fascination with fitting as much as possible into a small space (like packing the trunk of a car before a road trip), or the sheer joy of capturing something profound and vital in a very few words, this type of poem continues to be my favorite.

Quite honestly, it is something that happens all by itself. What doesn’t, right? I will often crawl out of bed in the middle of the night just to scribble down a few words on the closest piece of paper. Call them mantras or a koan or whatever you will, they carry a particular power.

I can appreciate the discipline that comes with the syllable structure of traditional haiku, yet for me a clear understanding of something captured in a few words is what it is really about. I say “syllable schmyllable” and practice the art of simplicity-in-language and honesty-of-experience without any strict form.

Whether it be by reflecting on something in nature, or by reflecting on something in my own experience, poems with just a few words in them can really hit the spot. As a reader, I am always thankful for a poem that is digestible in length, and gets to the point. Long pretentious poems wear me out quickly.

The path to “enlightenment” or just feeling the best we can about life, must necessarily be by way of personal growth-traversing many moments where misunderstanding transforms into understanding. Haiku, “high coo” or any other form of concise testament is often a chronicle of these transitions. There is a special beauty in recorded revelation, and it is often expressed concisely. Truth has a strange simplicity to it whether it is mine, yours or universal.

“High” (uplifting, aspiring) “Coo” (innocent, spontaneous muttering) is the perfect name for this type of poem. After thirty years of writing and scribbling, it is undeniably the art form that comes most natural to me. My guess is that it comes as natural to many others. Almost all of my poetry is this short and would consequently fall into this category of poetry.

Here are a few examples:

Ouroboros

by the time you finish

making your point

it will be the same

as everyone else’s

Shetland

her dog smiled

even if she

couldn’t bring herself

High Coo Kerpoo

high coo kerpoo

big bang two

and the

nuclear arms race

is over

Contemplation Takes the Gold

do you think it’s possible

that staring at the ceiling

will ever become

an Olympic event?

I have found that reworking these natural pieces to fit a syllable-per-line strict form often robs them of their inherent value and organic unity. After all, this haiku-ization can only be accomplished through a deliberate-de-liberate (not liberated) effort. Let’s face it; part of the joy of writing “high coo” is in the expression of irreverence for the traditional form. Most of what the Muses drop into my head has an angle that is very Zen-like in its joy and playfulness- laughter at the absurdity of the ideas that we fall prey to so easily.

The joy in this witnessing of inspired arrangements (via Muses) is doubled by the prevailing amusement for over the process of personal growth (as in “How I could have previously thought otherwise?). Struck by the clarifying insight, and still giggling with delight over the freedom from one more mental shackle, the words still buzzing their narration drive me towards the nearest pen and paper.

On whose authority will this form of poetry be officially recognized? Let’s hope it isn’t soon, because with it will come a homogenized version. It may then appear on cereal boxes, and advertising campaigns. Let’s enjoy its obscurity while we still can.

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Source by Benjamin Dean

Punching Power – How to Punch Through a Board Or a Wall With Ease

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I am going to quickly explain how you can gain massive punching power and have the ability to punch through a wooden board or a drywall-studded wall with relative ease.

1. Board breaking and punching power is very much a “metal” state, where you are completely focused on the end result; punching all the way through the object. If you have any doubt in your head, even for a second, that you can’t punch through the object, then your fist will not allow you to get through it.

2. You have to focus “beyond” the target. If you use that mental state, and picture your fist sailing all the way though the object, your fist will want to end up at the point you are focusing on. Always aim beyond the object you want to punch. This is true for actual combat as well.

3. You must condition your knuckles so that they are used to hitting a hard surface. The absolute best way to do this is using a makiwara board. You can either make one yourself, fairly inexpensively or purchase a store-bought model that will run you a few hundred dollars. A makiwara will cal louse your knuckles and make the bones in your hand slightly more dense and able to take a punch.

4. Speed is essential. Think of a bullet and how far it can travel. Think of how fast it is going and how many objects it can penetrate. If you took the same bullet and threw it at a wall, it would probably just smack against it and hit the floor. However, if you fire the bullet from a gun, it will go right through the wall. Think of you fist as a bullet. You need to put as much speed behind your punch as possible. The more speed, the easier it is to go all the way through the object.

5. Finally, you have to get your hips and legs into it. Power comes from the legs by throwing your entire body behind the punch. If you just punch with the muscles in your arm, you are not using your power to its fullest potential.

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Source by Joshua Black

A Brief History of Japanese Daruma Dolls

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Daruma dolls are representations of the historical Indian priest Bodhidharma, a sage who traveled throughout Japan and China in the 5th or 6th century AD. Bodhidharma is credited with establishing Chan Buddhism in China and Zen Buddhism in Japan. Legend has it that Bodhidharma achieved enlightenment, or satori, following seven years of meditation either in a cave or as he was facing the wall of a room at the Shorinji Temple in China. During this time he moved neither his eyes nor his limbs. Legend has it that as a result of his inactivity Bodhidharma’s limbs shriveled and fell off. Another legend relates that angry with the fact that he had fallen asleep during his meditation, Bodhidharma cut off his eyelids in a fit of anger. It is believed that the severed eyelids fell to the ground and sprouted into China’s first green tea plants!

Daruma dolls (Daruma is short for Bodai Daruma, the Japanese rendering of the name) are red roly-poly papier-mâché depictions of Bodhidharma. Like the Bodhidharma they have no arms or legs and sit in a meditative pose with large, staring eyes and no eyelids. When knocked on its side, the doll pops back to the upright position (hence “tumbler” doll, or “okiagari koboshi”) so it has become a symbol of optimism, good fortune and strong determination. The doll comes in many sizes – the standard size is larger than a basketball. While most Daruma dolls are male, some Japanese localities have female Daruma (“ehime daruma” or “princess daruma”).

At New Year time, many Japanese individuals and corporations buy a Daruma doll, make a resolution, and then paint in one of the eyes. If, during the year, they are able to achieve their goal, they paint in the second eye. Many politicians, at the beginning of an election period, will buy a Daruma doll, paint in one eye, and then, if they win the election, paint in the other eye. At year end, it is customary to take the Daruma doll to a temple, where it is burned in a big bonfire.

Daruma-making is strongest in the Takasaki region of South West Japan. It began in earnest here in the late 17th century as a relief measure for farmers who were suffering from famine. The story is that the Daruma Temple instructed farm households to make dolls from papier-mâché as a way of earning extra income. These days nearly 100 households annually make about 1.6 million darumas, accounting for about 80% of all darumas made in Japan. Every year on the 6th and 7th of January, a Daruma market is held in the precincts of the Daruma Temple, and hundreds of thousands of people visit it.

There are many different styles of Daruma Dolls, but there is one philosophy that all Daruma dolls share and that is the pursuit of beauty and artistry through simplicity. This philosophy is extolled at the website; http://www.dollsofjapan.co.uk.

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Source by Ivor Conway

Amazing Faux Granite Paint Finishes – A How to Guide

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By using a layering process with spray bottles you can easily create incredible faux rock painting effects. There is a little more to it than simply spraying paint onto whatever it is you are painting – to get a realistic faux granite finish there are a few key steps to remember:

1) Water down your paints

2) Choose complimentary colors

3) Allow time to dry between layers

4) Always finish with black

If you follow these four steps you are sure to create realistic looking granite colors. Once you have mastered this art of faux rock painting you will be amazed at how realistic you can make a two dimensional surface like a wall or a concrete floor – just think of the 3-D results like making artificial rocks with concrete.

Water Down Your Paints

The type of sprayer you use will depend largely on your budget, but for most people trying their hand at faux granite painting would likely use regular hand held spray bottles like normally used for water. There are available everywhere and relatively cheap. The down side of these sprayers compared to more expensive pressurized models is their inclination to clog or spray in less desirable splotches as opposed to a fine mist which is preferred.

By watering down the water based paints you are using you can get most sprayers to pump them. A mix of 3 parts water to 1 part paint as the minimum is a good starting point for trying your mixture. Practice adjusting the stream of your paint into a bucket to get as fine a mist as possible before painting your subject matter.

Choose Complimentary Colors

To create a realistic looking faux rock pain finish you need to decide which color you want your subject to be overall. This is usually gray, red, light brown and dark brown which are the most common faux rock color choices. If you were to choose light brown as the color for your rock you will need to have at least two or three different shades of brown to use. Since you want a light brown coloured rock you would start with the light brown applying a heavy misting layer to cover at least 80% of the total surface.

Be sure not to have the paint drip or run. You can apply two coats of the same color one after another to avoid the paint running. Once the main base layer has been applied the remaining layers are all painted in a much lighter – misting fashion.

In addition to the light brown, and then a light misting of dark brown, you will want to add two or thee highlighting colors which you will apply sporadically to your subject. These highlighting colors are usually blue, red, yellow, tan, orange, gray and green and are intended to provide inconsistency and depth overall. Not every color goes well together and you must learn and practice to develop a strong feel for color combinations.

Allow Time To Dry Between Layers

By allowing the paint to dry in between layers you can create a much more dynamic finished product where the different colors overlap each other but remain sharp overall. If you add layers when the paint is still wet you will find that the colors will bleed into one another which detracts from the desirable speckled look of a faux granite finish.

Worth noting is that you can use the color bleeding as another artistic tool choosing to blend together colors – especially in the base color stages where you are applying a heavier coat of paint.

Always Finish With Black

If you have one sprayer that works better than all the rest, you should use that sprayer for your black paint. Once you have achieved a color combination that you are happy with and are ready to proceed to the final layer which is a list misting layer of black overall. Some areas you can go slightly heavier on to create an interesting finish, but ultimately the entire surface receives as light of a misting of black as possible.

The goal is to have the black speckles to be as small as possible which will transform a mediocre looking faux granite finish to a magnificent and realistic colour. There are hundreds of different color options and applications for faux granite paint finishes including stamped concrete, artificial rocks, statues, fireplace covers, drywall, decks, stairs, patios and much more.

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Source by Steve Goodale

Is There a Limit to Inner Space?

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It is easier for me to imagine an infinite universe, than it is to imagine and infinite inner universe. Still, that does not mean that there is a limit to inner space. It just seems like more difficult a concept to imagine. There is also no guarantee that the universe is infinite as well. There very well could be a boundary to the universe. If that is the case than one has to ask the question of what is beyond that boundary. Perhaps the biggest and only true problem in science is the human minds inability to truly grasp the universe we live in. I, and indeed we all; keep trying though. So, is there a limit to the inner universe. I hate touching this question, because that requires delving into the world of quantum mechanics. One has to, it is a boundary that must be passed into the infinitely small.

We all know that matter is composed of normal matter is composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons. The only exception is hydrogen, no neutron is present in its nucleus. These particles make up atoms, that combine to form compounds. Beyond this level is the field of quantum physics, the study of the very small. Quarks, Leptons, and Bosons are the subatomic components to protons, neutrons, and electrons. Beyond this, who knows. Perhaps sub atomic particles are made up of smaller particles or sub-subatomic particles. Is there a never ending spiral into an infinite smallness? Probably not, at some point it is reasonable to assume that we reach pure energy. Perhaps energy can be rolled up to form a sub atomic particle and those sub atomic particles make up particles, atoms, and so on. Perhaps the way energy forms a sub atomic particle determines the behavior of that particle. Hence there are six Flavors of Quarks, six types of Leptons, and twelve types of Gauge Bosons.

Is the energy boundary the limit? Once you have pure energy, it is easy to imagine something getting smaller and smaller, because there is no solid component to the object. There is no object, only energy. In my minds eye I can imagine a journey into infinite smallness. At the same time this notion seems out side the realm of possibility. However, the same thing can be done with traveling into outer space. It seems so much easier to imagine getting bigger and bigger vs smaller and smaller. And yet the same process is used. I can imagine space as infinite in either direction. Is this the case? You don’t need matter or energy for this experiment. In fact, lets remove both and just consider an empty void. Imagine the universe as containing no energy and no matter. Is this possible? It seems that matter could be inherently linked to the concept of space. If nothing existed then there would be no limit to smallness because nothing would exist. After all, one cannot have size when no object exists to consider. Size seems to be at the center of the notion of infinite space. When I try to conceive of an object getting smaller and smaller or bigger and bigger I seem to reach a limit. Even when you consider that an atom is mostly empty space. If you removed that empty space to the limit possible than an object cannot get any smaller without shedding parts of itself. Is this what happens with a black hole? Is there a limit to the amount of mass that can occupy a given amount of space? I assume that when an object implodes to form a black hole, matter is rearranged to allow for as little free space as possible between atoms; as well as within the atoms themselves. In this case there is a limitation to how much matter can exist in a given amount of space.

What if we consider all of the matter in the universe as being converted to free energy? There would then be no limitation, would there? Could we then squeeze all of the matter in the universe into one tiny space? The big bang theory and the singularity comes to mind. The problem here is that inner space is infinite than theoretically all of the energy could implode on itself indefinitely. So there must be a limit here as to how much energy can occupy a given space. Its either that or there is a limit to inner space. A boundary exists to smallness. One has to assume this boundary exists if you believe in the big bang, because there would have been no reason for the singularity to expand or explode. This creates a stranger notion for me that something with no mass can still have a limit to how much of it can occupy a given amount of space.

Considering infinite largeness, using all of the matter in the universe. If you could get all of the matter in the universe together without it imploding under the weight of its own gravity, then what? There is a finite amount of matter in the universe, so once we have our big ball of matter, what is beyond this? Again, the answer is empty space. A vacuum that goes on forever, and ever. The only real way to consider the question of an infinite inner space is when you do not consider matter or energy. Remove them from the equation and only consider the vacuum. It then becomes easier to imagine infinity going both ways. This imaginary universe does not exist though, the only one that does (that we know off) is this one. One in which matter and energy are everywhere. And in this universe there seems to be a boundary to the infinitely small, but not the infinitely large. Then again, this could be a product of our daily lives. Matter is all around us, and we live on a big ball of it. In the end it may be that we live in a matter zone. At this stage, the one we live on there are quantifiable sizes to things. Once you get beyond matter into the farthest reaches of our universe there may exist a vast empty, infinite beyond. The same may go for the inner verse. Once you get beyond the boundary of matter and energy, there may be another void. One that expands forever into the infinitely small.

At the end of the day this is nothing more than a fun exercise for me. I like to ponder these questions, but I do have certain conclusions that I believer more than others. Anyone that has read my paper on the Nothing Universe knows what I believe we will find if we go far enough out into space. That hypothesis has the infinite beyond as being composed of an undiscovered, super symmetrical atom composed of both matter and anti matter. The combination of which forms the true essence of nothing. That hypothesis does not preclude the existence of a infinite inner universe. All be it one that did not exist before the creation of the universe as we know it. And yet, it is easy for me to envision space existing between the particles within the nothing universe. So, it may just be that the structure of the nothing universe suffers from a limitation of scale. Once that limitation is breached than an infinite inner universe free of matter may still exist within the Nothing Universe. If you are confused than I would suggest reading my article on a nothing universe. To go into it now would take way too long. For now I have to conclude that there is a strong possibility that there is no limit to inner space, and that it may be infinite after all. As much as I find that notion illogical, I can’t dismiss it.

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Source by Dennis Huff

A Beginners Guide to Starting Your Own Collection of Anime Figures

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Anime figurines are collectibles which are based on Japanese style characters from television shows, films, manga (Japanese comics) and video games. The popularity of animes have grown significantly over the years, causing a worldwide frenzy of collecting.

If you are interested in anime figures and would like to get started with the fun hobby of collecting them, then you need to familiarise yourself with what makes a figure valuable. The most prized figures are most often the early figures that have never been removed from their packages. Terms such as MIB (Mint in Box) and NRFB (Never Removed From Box) are terms you should familiarise yourself with, as you will have an easier time figuring out why certain figures cost more than others.

An interesting fact about anime toys is the fact that they come in a variety of sizes. Many collectors begin collecting the smaller, often less expensive figures and then gradually work their way up to the larger sized models. Before starting your collection, determine what anime you like the most, specifically which character. Most anime collectors feel a sense of intimacy and attachment with the anime toys in their collection because of what they represent. It is a lot more fun and thrilling to collect the exact character that you love the most.

You can begin searching for anime figures in and around your area by visiting local toy stores and even second hand shops. It is a well known fact among collectors, that figures that are the most valuable, have often been found in thrift stores, so be sure to check these stores often. Take your time looking carefully through the toy boxes and the shelves because you strike it lucky and find a great figure worth a good deal of money.

Another great place to look is at online auction sites. You usually will find that you have the option of either buying figures at a set price on these websites or as a bid-only alternative. If you are not familiar with online bidding, be sure to set a top price that you are able to pay before placing your bid. The budget that you are prepared to spend will be the deciding factor in regards to how many figures you can buy. Some of the oldest and rarest figures will easily cost hundreds of dollars if found in outstanding condition. You can also visit a few anime collectible websites to get an idea of pricing and worth. Seasoned collectibles are very willing to disclose which features to check for so that you can acquire the figures you are after without becoming confused as to whether or not you are paying too much for a particular character.

Once you have started a collection, you will need to have a place to display the figures. Many collectors simply set their figures out on a few shelves while others prefer to have them on display in a glass covered showcase to keep them in their current condition. As your collection grows and you find yourself running out of space, you can solve this by having a rotation schedule for the figures. Every few weeks just switch the figures that are on display with others that are being stored.

Anime collecting is a lot of fun and it can become a hobby that gives you great pleasure for years. Joining online anime communities is encouraged when collecting, as is attending anime conventions, so that you can discuss your figures with other collectors.

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Source by Harry Worthington

Should Works of Art Be Repatriated to Their Places of Origin?

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Art repatriation refers to the return of works of art or cultural objects to their country of origin or former owners. These items were forcefully taken away from their original owners or creators in their homelands as a result of war, colonialism or imperialism. Repatriation is a hotly debated subject which is ongoing and its fire has little hopes of entirely dying out. Staunch giants and scholars and people in authority such as art curators, art critics, art historians, art teachers, politicians and other well meaning personalities have expressed their views on this controversial subject of restitution of creative products to their places of origin.

The issue of art repatriation and the conflicts it’s engulfed in is deep and vast. Some argue in favour of the repatriation of artworks to their former owners while others strongly object due to equally sound high currency opinions. This essay seeks to discuss the subject on the repatriation of works of art and the efforts put in by global agencies and associations for the repatriation of works of art and the challenges that have ensued. It will then probe the discussion further from both angles on whether to repatriate these African art and cultural artifacts currently adorning the Western museums and stately house of the upper European class to their countries of origin.

Several efforts have been put in place by the various global bodies and agencies in charge of human welfare and inter-national peace to repatriate objects that were illegally acquired by their current owners. Various conventions and declarations have been laid to ensure that the restitution of these cultural artefacts is securely returned to their places of origin. These efforts have met some subtle successes while the challenges are herculean and heinous.

The first effort to repatriate works was the institution of the Lieber code (General Order #100) in 1843 designed by Francis Lieber who was tasked by the US president Abraham Lincoln to propound a set of rules for governing the confederate of prisoners, noncombatants, spies and property thus cultural objects. It is sad that the code allowed the destruction of cultural property under military necessity resulting in the abolishment of this code.

In 1954, the Hague document was developed following the great devastation of the World War II and the great looting of cultural objects and art. This document also met various criticisms because it favoured ‘market nations’ thus wealthy countries over the ‘source nations’ who are mostly poor.

Another effort of repatriation was undertaken by the UNESCO Convention against Illicit Export and the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of illicit Appropriation in November 14, 1970. Like its predecessors, the terms in the convention were highly rejected because it was too broad and not specific. Also, it prompted black market deals on the selling of these cultural objects.

Recently, most countries are embracing the settlement of repatriation issues with the ‘Mutually Beneficial Repatriation Agreements (MBRAs). This document calls for the settlement of disagreements by opposing parties flexibly in a manner that is beneficial to both sides. This mode of arbitration between owner countries and keeper countries of items will certainly have its downsides.

Some of these obstacles are:

1. Poor legislative approaches developed among signatory states.

2. Failure to establish a system to resolve issues of ownership and compensation.

3. Some works of art and cultural objects do not have clear information on the history to help in ascertaining its place of origin.

4. Sometimes there are several speculations regarding the origin of the work of art making it difficult in knowing the original owners.

5. Legal battle for repatriation of works of art is lengthy and costly.

The question is why are some countries campaigning vigorously for the repatriation of the arts to their homelands? Numerous reasons are often cited. Analyses of items that are called for by their countries of origin are generally famous and valuable works that are paramount to the historical and cultural documentations of those countries. These cultural objects are a symbol of cultural heritage and identity and the return of such historical artworks is a hallmark of the pride of every country and thus must be repatriated. A return of such works calls for a special welcoming ceremony as if a long standing member of the society who has been imprisoned and is now freed is returning home.

Furthermore, advocates for the repatriation of works of art to their places of origin argue that the encyclopedic museums such as the British Museum, Musee du Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art who are the main keepers of the prestigious artistic creations of various countries house them out of the view and reach of the cultures that owns them. It is also very distressing that the encyclopedic museums that house most of the world’s artworks and artifacts are located in Western cities and are the privilege of European scholars, professionals and people. This is quite unfair because the keepers are shielding the works from their owners which is not appropriate and civilized in a free democratic world in which we find ourselves.

Again, some ethnic societies and nations dare need some repatriated works to be able to reconstruct their national history which is a stepping stone for any country’s survival and hope of sustenance in the future. This has been the case of the Benin court ritual objects which the Nigerians need to write the histories of their forebears. Wouldn’t it be illegal and even a crime to deny the return of works of such great significance to their rightful owners?

In the same train of thoughts, items are best appreciated and understood in their original and cultural context. Many artifacts have special cultural value for a particular community or nation. When these works are removed from their original cultural setting, they lose their context and the culture loses a part of its history. Owing to this, objects have to be repatriated back to their homelands. This accounts for why there are false interpretations associated with some of the African masterpieces that find their homes now in ‘foreign’ lands.

Also, the taking away of the creative products permanently destroys the archaeological sites which could have been set as a tourism site to generate income for the owners or countries of origin. This in the view of the author could have added to the economic strength of the country of origin which in Africa is mostly financially pulverized.

Moreover, the possession of the artworks taken under the sad conditions of war, looting, imperialism and colonialism is unethical and still suggests continued colonialism. To portray and ensure total liberation and freedom from colonized states, these creative objects must be returned.

In addition, when objects which are in fragments are repatriated back to their homelands, they can be consolidated with their other parts to achieve a whole for the meanings of the works to be properly gleaned. This is the case of the Parthenon’s marble sculptures of the Athena Temple which is now in the British Museum in London. The ancient Greeks who are the owners believed that sculptures bring their subjects to virtual life, and therefore completeness or wholeness is an essential feature of an imitative or representational art.

There are many scholars and other well meaning educators and individuals who vehemently disapprove and even oppose the repatriation of items and other cultural objects to their countries of origin. One of their arguments is that art is a part of a universal human history and that ancient products of diverse cultures promotes inquiry, tolerance and broad knowledge about cultures. To them, having works of diverse cultures would help in erasing cultural monopoly which is a chief causative agent against global unity. Curators and directors of museums of art assert that when a museum has works of many cultures, it introduces visitors to a diverse range of art to help deface the ignorance people have about the world.

Artistic creations transcend national boundaries as well as the cultures and peoples that created them. Therefore a deliberate lineation or segregation of an artwork to a particular country limits the scope and understanding of the work.

Also, it is believed that the Western Art museums are dedicated to the professional stewardship of the works in their care. They are believed to have the proper infrastructure to house the items. Therefore, the security and protection of the works are guaranteed. This cannot be said of the seemingly poor African states who are asking for the repatriation of the arts. They lack the infrastructural structure to protect the works when they are repatriated back to their home soil.

However, this is an understatement because much of the artworks transported out of colonized countries were crudely removed and damaged and sometimes lost in transportation. The issue of security and protection of works of art is still subject to debate. Owners of the objects might have the necessary infrastructure available to keep the repatriated works. However, judging correctly little can be said of this owing to the heap of economic load already resting on the feeble shoulders of these ‘source nations’.

Another important issue that bars the repatriation of creative works is with respect to the claimant of the total ownership of the works of art. This issue is aggravated when many countries, cities, and museums are in the possession of parts of an artwork. Where should be the designated “home” of the reunited work? Who should be the ultimate owner of the creative masterpieces? To curb this challenge, many scholars, art directors and curators opines that it is best not to repatriate their items back to their homelands.

It is a hard truth that must be accepted that African works lavishly displayed in the museums and other public views in the Western lands especially Europe may never see their homelands again. The debate to repatriate artworks will be ongoing though some efforts are made by some nations and agencies to return products that were acquired illegally to their original homeland.

The author opines that cultural objects that have historical significance and could assist in the reconstruction of a country’s history must be returned. However, those that are locked in encyclopedic museums for the consumption of the populace which are not indispensably needed in rewriting the history of a country should not be repatriated. Their correct interpretations must however be inquired from their original owners. Since income will be gleaned, the original owners of the works must be compensated or remunerated so that they can share the gains with the museum that is keeping the arts.

Again, there must be mutual understanding and agreement between the original owners of the works and the museum to arrive at a consensus that is favourable for all of them. It will also be prudent that parties involved must lay out measures of displaying the products occasionally to the citizens of the country of origin so that the viewing of the creative pieces so that they would not be just the preserve of only the privileged Europeans but also the poor owners of such marvelous creations.

A combined effort with the view of reaching amicable consensus on the part of both the host nation and country of origin if mapped out well could help in reducing the hunting menace of restitution of artworks to their countries of origin.

REFERENCE

UNESCO (1970, November 14). Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the Illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property.

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Makler Heidelberg

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Source by Dickson Adom