inspiration

AGATES and LAVA FLOW INSPIRE PAINTING IDEAS

The color and pattern of agates and the movement of molten lava inspire ideas for my Plasmora painting series. Agates are volcanic rock, some with spectacular color banding caused by various embedded minerals in the layers of the rock.

Condor Agate, Argentina

Condor Agate, Argentina

Botswana Agate

Botswana Agate

Plasmora #8, gouache on handmade paper, 13” x 10”

Plasmora #8, gouache on handmade paper, 13” x 10”

Plasmora #9, gouache on handmade paper, 13” x 10”

Plasmora #9, gouache on handmade paper, 13” x 10”

Molten lava swirl

Molten lava swirl

Plasmora #22, gouache on paper, 50” x40”

Plasmora #22, gouache on paper, 50” x40”

THE COSMIC SUBLIME

Hubble satellite image - Eagle Nebula
The Cosmic Sublime provides a perspective on how the human mind confronts and conceptualizes the grandeur of the cosmos and the natural world.

Hubble Eagle Nebula.jpg

THE COSMIC SUBLIME in the aesthetics of Longinus and Zhuangzi.

This essay features a comparative study of the aesthetics represented by the Greco-Roman critic Longinus and the Chinese Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi through what I would call the cosmic sublime. Both Longinus and Zhuangzi, I propose, articulate an aesthetic ideal of the cosmic sublime, by which I mean the grandeur captured by a cosmic perspective or obtained from contemplating phenomena of a planetary scale, as well as the emotions associated with experience of the sublime. And both seek to theorize the sublime by positing the great-small and subject-object distinction. While concurring to the importance of great natures in producing and appreciating sublime images, the two thinkers diverge with regard to the relation of the subject and object of aesthetic judgment. Where Longinus presages Kant in emphasizing the preeminence of the judging mind in comprehending cosmic phenomena, Zhuangzi asserts the merging of the aesthetic subject with the primal simplicity, a claim that anticipates Hölderlin and Nietzsche’s call to identify with the Dionysian One. As an aesthetic category, the cosmic sublime provides a vantage point from which to view how the human mind confronts and conceptualizes grandeur of an infinite dimension. As a comparative lens, the cosmic sublime helps reveal not only a new aesthetic ideal but also a distinctive Chinese aesthetics analogous to the Western sublime tradition.
Article by Mingjun Lu https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11059-017-0409-6

PSYCHEDELIC CREATURES, NUDIBRANCHS

Many of the color ideas I have for paintings are inspired by the otherworldly neon creatures of the sea such as nudibranchs. Nature can be garish and psychedelic.

If you think hummingbirds and butterflies are beautiful, then prepare to be amazed at the underwater fashion show of nudibranchs. They are tiny jewels decorating the ocean in every part of the world. Nudibranchs are gastropod mollusks that can be found from shallow reefs to deep seas, from the tropics to Antarctica. The variety of species is staggering, as are the colors and shapes of these tiny, soft-bodied beauties. 

Nudibranch, Nembrotha Kubaryana from Indonesia - showing orange mouth parts and sensory rhinophores, and green gills. High magnification photo by Lembeh Strait.

Nudibranch, Nembrotha Kubaryana from Indonesia - showing orange mouth parts and sensory rhinophores, and green gills. High magnification photo by Lembeh Strait.

Nudibranch - Nembrotha chamberlaini (Actual color).

Nudibranch - Nembrotha chamberlaini (Actual color).