Monet's Water Lilies: The Healing of a Nation

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In the summer of 1918, Claude Monet, the great French Impressionist, was facing disaster. In the distance, the 78 year old artist could hear the guns of the German army, signaling the advance of the enemy. World War I was in its fourth year and it was becoming increasingly likely that German soldiers could be at Monet's beloved estate at any moment. The paradise he had created during the last thirty years near the French town of Giverny. At its core, the miraculous water lilies pond that was perhaps more important to Monet than his own life.

For Monet had refused to leave his home at Giverny, even when the majority of his family members had deserted it back in 1914 at the beginning of the conflict. As he wrote to a friend, Gustave Geoffroy, "Many of my family has left … a mad panic has located all this area … as for me, I'll stay here, all the same … in the middle of my canvases, in front of my life's work. " (1)

Giverny had always been near the war zone, close to some of the heaviest fighting of the war, but Monet had remained. Demonstrating the stubbornness and resolve that had enabled him to help found the new art movement of Impressionism in the earlier days of his artistic career. However, as the war continued, inflating a level of unpresented death and destruction, Monet was inspired by a cause greater than he had ever known: to heal his people. To paint a vision of beauty that would restore the spirit of his French countryside after the debacle was over. A water lilies cycle that would cover the walls of a vast room, and according to Monet, in an interview for an arts magazine, offer "an asylum of peaceful meditation in the center of a flowering aquarium." (2)

By 1918, Monet had already created twelve water lilies murals which he called his Grandes Decorations. Measuring over six feet in height and nearly fourteen feet in width each, they dominated the space of his new studio. An accomplishment probably not possible without the support of the Prime Minister of France, Georges Clemenceau, who was also the artist's long time friend. For Clemenceau believed just as fervently in Monet's mission, even at times allowing materials for his friend's studio to take precedence over the transport of military supplies.

Now, as the Germans appeared to be winning, all would be lost. "I do not have long to live and I must dedicate all of my time to painting with the hope of arriving at something that is good, or that satisfies me if that is possible," (3) he told Georges Bernheim Jeune, one of his collectors. But, after a counter-offensive by France and its allies in September, the course of the war suddenly changed and Monet's country was saved.

Clemenceau visited Monet on November 12, 1918, the day after the armistice was signed, when the painter dedicated two works of art to the state of France. But the artist and the statesman had greater ambitions: the Grandes Decorations would represent Monet's ultimate gift to his nation. As leader of France, Clemenceau would employ his influence and power to transform the Grandes Decorations into a national monument.

It would take, though, almost another decade to accomplish this dream. First, Clemenceau was voted out of office in 1920, inevitably slowing the project, especially the funding. Then negotiations stalled, regarding the location of the Grandes Decorations which was not decided until 1922, when the Orangerie (once the greenhouse of the French kings), next to the Louvre, was chosen as the final site. Next, the number of water lilies panels was expanded, from the initial twelve to nineteen (and indeed twenty-two).

Undaunted, Monet at the age of 81, agreed to this massive undertaking that would absorb the last years of his life, until his death in 1926. Yet, it almost never happened. Because Monet had to face another war: the battle for his eyesight.

In 1924, Monet had to end three cataract operations on his right eye, in which he was legally blind. (The left eye with only ten percent vision remained untouched.) Despite the surgery, still a difficult and often excruciating procedure, restored much of his sight in that eye, Monet's perception of color was distanced for more than a year. During this period, he saw everything in blue and could no longer perceive red or yellow.

With the help of special tinted glasses, Monet did persevere and finally completed his Grandes Decorations, just months before he died of pulmonary cancer.

Today, Monet's refugee of "peaceful meditation" in the Musee de L'Orangerie in downtown Paris draws millions of visitors. Where the individual viewer, surrounded on all sides by the spacious murals of endless water lilies, floating in dream-like colors, can escape the tumult of the outside world. Time no longer matters and every day pressures disappear. One can finally relax and revitalize within Monet's painted universe.

For absolutely, the Grandes Decorations is a place of healing, not only of the French people, but of the world.

To view the highlights of the water lilies panels of the Grandes Decorations and other masterpieces of Monet, go to http://www.artseverydayliving.com To discover more about Monet and how to incorporate his vision into your own life, read Through an Artist's Eyes: Learning to Live Creatively .

Excerpt from Monet's letter to Gustave Geoffroy (1) and quote from Monet interview (2) are from Monet by Carla Rachman, while the excerpt from Monet's letter to Georges Bernheim-Jeune (3) is from Claude Monet : Life and Art by Paul Hayes Tucker.

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Source by Joan Hart

The History Of South Asian Food And Why It Is Treated As An Art

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In human food history, cooking traces its way back among the oldest activities undertaken by man. It was so simple as ancient men were hunters and gatherers, and they would hunt, skin and toss their catch into the fire and eat when ready. As time went by, methods that are more intricate were invented and foods were sub-divided into cuisines. In this article, we will focus on the development of one of the Asian cuisines, namely the South Asian Cuisine.

South Asian cuisine is a combination of many cuisines popular in the Indian sub continental region. As its name suggests, it has its origin from the South of Asia, and it is influenced greatly by some Hindu practices, as these are the dominant people found in this region. Other cultural influences also come from the Muslims.

Popular Ingredients And Staple Foods

One of the things that is very popular with this cuisine is a flat bread known as Naan and is usually taken in combination with many meals. Beans, barley, rice and chapatti, made using wheat, are also very common cuisine foods.

One characteristic of foods in this area is that they are highly flavored using black pepper, chili, cloves and various spices and herbs used in combination with butter ghee. Including ginger in them usually enhances Sweet and savory foods. In meat, the ginger is chopped while it is used as pickled ginger in rice. The popularity of ginger is huge, as the same is boiled to make concentrated syrups that are used in preparing desserts. Curries are made using cumin and turmeric.

Meats such as chicken, goat and lamb are very common but beef is unpopular as a food since it has a sacred place in Hindu worship culture. The severity of the special status of cows is emphasized by prohibition of buffalo meat, as it greatly resembles cows. The same case applies to pork, as Muslims and Hindus avoid it as well. This cuisine has very sweet desserts that are made from dairy products. The most prevalent dessert ingredients are grounded almonds, milk products, sugar and ghee.

Down Memory Lane

Much of Indian food dates as far back as five thousand years. The earliest civilization was composed of people known as Indus, and they hunted alligators and turtles. That civilization is modern day Pakistan. In addition to hunting, they were gatherers of plants, herbs and grains and many food types from this period are still popular today.

A variety of these foods consist of eggplants, cucumber, rice, tamarind, wheat and barley. The use of spice in Asian cuisines dates back to this period, as the Indu people would use ginger, green peppers, salt and barley. An orange colored flavoring and coloring powder was made from grinding the turmeric root.

More Contributors

More contributions into this cuisine were the Aryans, who introduced the using of green vegetables, milk products and lentils into the diet. Spices such as coriander and cumin were part of the Aryan diet at around 1500 BC. The Portuguese popularized potatoes, red chilies and cauliflower around 1600 B.C. One thing that led to the diverse development of this cuisine is that the Asians treat food and cooking as an art, so many precision cooking tools and methods are used.

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Source by Lamar M Mejia

How to Use "Brute Force" Tactics to Make Any Girl Love You – "Confusion & Fractionation"

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If you have ever been rejected by a girl, you will know how painful it is. Come on, guys – fess up – have you ever met a woman who simply just wants to make your life difficult no matter how hard you chase her? If you ever get caught in a situation where you are rendered powerless against the girl – it will be extra hard for you to make her like you in return. But take heart – if you are at your wits end on trying to get her to like you but cannot seem to win her over – it’s time for some no-nonsense, “brute force” tactics that will compel her to get attracted to you. Read on on discover these tricks and get fast results…

2 Brute Force Tactics To Make Any Girl Fall For You

Tactic Number One – “Confusion”. This is the dirty little secret of the seduction community – getting a girl confused is a surefire way to make her lower her barriers to you. If she is too busy figuring our your intentions and trying to ‘read between the lines’ of what you say, she will not be able to consciously reject your advances. How do you do this then? Simple – send out ‘mixed signals’ and make her wonder if you truly like her, or is only playing her.

(Advanced) Tactic Number Two – “Fractionation”. Stolen from the field of hypnosis, this technique involves bringing the woman through a ‘cycle’ of emotions, and associating her happy feelings with you. It is said to be able to make a woman want to sleep with a man in as little as 14 minutes. Deadly powerful stuff.

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Source by Derek Rake

The Concept of Tattoos: A Quick Look!

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When talking about Tattoos, the first thing comes in our mind is attractive designs that will stay with us forever. Tattoos are one of the most accepted forms of expression and art. If you go back to the history of Japan and India, you will find that tattoo exists, since ancient times.

However, Tattoo does not oblige itself to a distinct ethos. Today, there are many people who are inking their body, just for the sake of fashion. Many Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities have also inked their arms, legs, back and other part of their bodies to add a charm to their persona.

Tattoo is a popular body art in which colored ink is inserted in your upper skin layer with the help of special needles. Undoubtedly, this body art is marvelous and the artist who carried out the whole procedure is not only proficient but holds an amazing knowledge of creativeness and inventiveness. Though, before planning for a tattoo, always consider such design, which you think is worth inking. Many times tattooing device ruptures the skin and there are possibilities of skin infections too. So before going to add ink in your life, make sure that:

· Your Tattoo artist must have sufficient knowledge and is proficient in tattooing.

· He/she is professional and has ample knowledge in the field.

· Uses sterilized or fresh needles

· Uses good quality of ink

Tattooing is a famous and well-liked trend among the people of every age. It plays a vital role in one’s life; it can be a simple design or a refined merge of different designs and patterns.

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to inking their body part. Where some people prefer temporary tattoos, some are interested to get inked permanently. In many countries, the favorite tattoo designs among the masses are Indian gods and goddesses. Also, there are many people who love to ink their or their beloved name on the body to show their obsession.

Having tattoos on any part of body not only make one feel stylish and exclusive, but are also used as social status symbol. I do have a Tattoo of Shiva eyes on my wrist, though it is not exactly what I was looking for, so planning for a cover up! When you first Tattoo is not up to the mark, it looks horrible. So, it is essential to keep three things in mind before going to wear any tattoo permanently – meaning, timing and right tattoo artist.

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Source by Triveni Thakur

The Benefits of Painted Wall Murals

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Wall murals are a creative and fun way to liven cold, bare walls. And the best part: anyone can do them – you do not have to be an artist. You can design your own wall mural using your imagination, artwork, greeting cards, or picture books. You can purchase a wall mural stencil kit to help you, or you can find a local artist to design and paint the perfect wall mural.

Painting a wall mural is not difficult, but it does take some work. Before you begin, tape off your woodwork and cover your furniture and carpet to protect them from accidental spills. Depending on the condition of your wall, you may want to apply a neutral base coat to the area where your mural will go. Interior latex paint is a good bet, but you should talk to a paint specialist at a home improvement store to make sure it will work for you. You can use interior latex paint in large blocks of color inside the mural, but acrylic paints work best for the mural's small areas. Acrylic paints are thin and will probably take more than one coat to get the right color.

You will need a variety of brushes for your painted wall mural. Large, broad brushes are best for wide areas of color. Small, rounded brushes are best for small areas. Do not be afraid of getting messy. Mix the colors with your fingers, sponges, or clothes.

Faux finishes can make a painted wall mural unique. Many are easy for beginners. Experiment with some techniques on extra drywall before you start painting your wall mural. Use joint compound and paint to create a fossil rock look or make a stencil pop from the wall. Get directions and other ideas from painted wall mural Web sites, or check out the paint center at your home improvement air. Start with simple techniques, be creative, and have fun.

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Source by Steve Valentino

What to Do When Your Husband Wants a Divorce

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I have a blog in which I share how, with a bit of hard work and good luck, I was able to save my marriage and thwart my husband’s attempts at a divorce.  My husband was dead set on splitting up and was just not interested in anything I had to say regarding preserving our marriage.  This story seems to strike a cord with women, because I so often get comments and emails from wives who tell me that they found me because they desperately want to know how to respond to their husband’s request for a divorce.  They can’t concentrate on legal issues or worry about getting an attorney, because they don’t want this divorce, and more than anything else, they want to save their marriage and put a stop to this whole downward spiral.

I can completely identify, as I was in this same place a few years ago.  I tried every trick in the book to get my husband to change his mind about the divorce.  I tired to call his bluff.  I tried to play hard ball.  I tried to shower him with attention and affection – and none of it worked, but here’s what finally did.

Why What You’re Doing Now To Change His Mind About The Divorce Probably Isn’t Working: Husband’s hate to feel that they are being manipulated.  If you are at a point where your husband wants a divorce, then this was probably not a split second decision that happened over night.  There have probably been a lot of issues that were brushed over, hurts that were never healed, promises that were not kept, and attempts of reconciliation that have repeatedly failed.  You husband likely feels that your marriage is at the point of no return and there’s nothing that can be done to change or rescue things.

So, when you come in all full of promises and plans as to why this time is going to really be different, or if you argue and try to convince your husband why he is wrong, he’s only going to dig in his heels, determined and convinced that there’s no good reason to change his mind.  In not so many words, you’re communicating to him that he’s dead wrong, being selfish, and causing a great deal of problems and pain for all involved.  So, he’s on the offensive, and as a defense mechanism, he’s tuning you out. 

This is obviously a major problem.  You’ll never be able to get him on board with saving the marriage if he won’t listen to you or give you the time of day.  But, please resist the urge to pull out all of the stops and act desperate or panicked.  Don’t follow him around, beg him, engage him, threaten him, or participate in any behaviors that are just going to confirm to him that negative things happen every time you are around.  You want him to think positive thoughts when he thinks of and interacts with you.  So, here’s how to reverse this trend.

Validate Your Husband And Jump On His Side:  As long as the two of you are on opposing sides, your husband is going to do everything possible to emerge the winner.  No one likes to lose.  So, you have to set this up where no one is going to be the loser.  You have to “side” with your husband and agree with him – (or at least make him think you are).  Of course, you know your husband best and you should use your own words, but it goes something like this. 

The next time you interact with your husband, tell him that you have been thinking about your situation and you now agree with him.  Yes, the marriage is in a grave place.  Tell him that this hurts you deeply because he remains the most important person in your life.  Assure him that you are finished participating in negative interactions and want to concentrate on improving your interactions, no matter where the relationship is going.  Tell him that you’re no longer going to engage him or try to change his mind.

Your husband will not believe this, probably.  He’s going to think this is another ploy on your part, but when you make good on it, over and over again, he’s going to be disarmed and see that you’re telling the truth.  Then, the tension will diminish like a popped balloon and he’ll have no reason to avoid you anymore – and this is when things will start to get easier.

Don’t Rush Things. Let Him Be The One To Call The Divorce Off:  Now, if you pull this off right, you’ll usually find yourself in a little better position.  The tension will start to fade and you’ll find that your husband is a little more receptive to you because he no longer sees you as a threat.  But, even if you are experiencing little victories, you must move slowly.  You can never allow your husband to suspect that you are really trying to change his mind and the outcome.  You want to keep busy, see friends, and do the things that put a smile on your face. 

What you’re doing is showing your husband that you are still the exciting, busy, vibrant, woman he first fell in love with.  Take the time to remember who this woman really is. I’d bet that she’s not clingy, threatening, or the walking wounded.  She’s likely happy, upbeat, open hearted, and easy to be around.  You want him to want more of her.  So she (you) should not be the one to initiate anything with him.  Let him be the aggressor, because this puts you back on equal ground.  The best case scenario is that you show him the woman he fell in love with, he wants more of her, and you continue to move slowly.

In the end, what you’re doing is showing, (not telling him – because he is not going to believe you anyway) that things really can and have changed.  Never hurt your progress by asking for reassurance, commitments, or a definition of your relationship too soon. If you continue to move slowly, you’ll get these things eventually, but you don’t want to scared him off and waste all of your hard work by pushing too hard. 

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Source by Leslie Cane

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