If you look closely at these lovely animals, you’ll see that they’re blinking. This is another one of my collages, created for a collage-making contest on Steemit. I wish I could share what some of the other participants in the contest came up with. Some entries are absolutely brilliant.
The contest, edition #20, is in progress right now. I haven’t got a chance of winning, but that’s not why I enter. I enter because it’s fun. Writing uses one set of muscles. Creating a picture, coming up with a concept and putting all the elements together, that calls on another set of muscles.
I just love looking at the animals in my collage, who are looking back at me. The picture is made of three parts. The wistful animal at the top was provided by @shaka, who runs this contest most weeks on Steemit. The lamb was taken from a Pixabay picture, and the resting cattle were from another Pixabay pixture. The hard part was getting the grass from the separate pictures to blend. I used GIMP (photo manipulation program) to do that.
If you’ve read this far, you deserve a treat. So here it is, a video of a sweet, very young goat that really wants to get another pet under the chin:
I’ve done research on China in the past, especially Chinese traditional art, and have written about it here and here. This week I decided to start writing a new book about China. I will use art as a reference point and bracket that reference between two centuries–the fourteenth and twentieth. And I will focus my attention on one city that just happens to straddle the Yangzte River: Chongqing.
It was Chongqing that became the last stronghold of the free Chinese in WWII (Second Sino-Japanese War). And it was there that fierce resistance by the Southern Song Dynasty held invading Mongols off for years.
Why art? Because in China, art has been a vessel for culture and tradition. Through conquest and revolution, art has endured. I find that to be especially true in the literati tradition.
A Word About the Picture at the Top of the Page
The picture was prompted by a contest on Steemit, which I enter every time it’s open. In the contest we are challenged by a fellow Steemian, @shaka, to make a collage from one of his photos. Rank amateurs (like me) and graphic artists participate. Sometimes a good idea prevails over skill…that gives me hope. However, I don’t enter to win. I enter to have fun.
Here’s @shaka’s photo, as it appeared before I made the collage:
Here are the elements that went into my collage:
[By the way, emulating, or even copying an artist is considered to be an homage, in the literati tradition]
The tree was extracted from this picture:
Fishermen, by Wu Zhen. China, fourteenth century. Public domain.
The meditating gentleman was extracted from this picture:
I just published another story on my blog at Steemit. The story refers to my brother’s brush with death when he was nine years old. He had severe heart disease. One hospital refused to treat him. St. Francis Hospital, in Roslyn, New York accepted him as a transfer patient. The physicians at St. Francis saved his life.
I think my story is a commentary on the fragility of life and on the importance of seeking care at a topnotch medical facility.
I was five when my brother had his crisis. Everything was clear to me as it unfolded back then. All of us knew, my siblings and I, that my brother might die. Although he came out of his acute crisis that first night, he struggled for months to overcome the heart disease that had plagued him for years.
My brother’s struggle became part of my developing psyche. I don’t think I would be the person I am today without having gone through that early trauma. While I was just a witness to my brother’s struggle, in a family there is no such thing. Each person is part of the event.
If you feel like checking out my story on Steemit, please do. The story doesn’t talk about my brother so much. It deflects the panic of the moment onto an attending physician, who goes through a life-altering crisis of his own.