Tag Archives: creative inspiration

…But Fear Itself (Again) (Throwback)

Climbing the Ladder to Balcony House, Mesa Verde

Climbing the ladder to Balcony House in Mesa Verde National Park, mid 1970’s

(Originally posted 20 November 2013 – almost exactly 2 years ago)

Back in the murky time BC (Before (personal) Computers) my family made the obligatory pilgrimage to “Discover America”.  Just like the Brady Bunch we all piled into the car and headed west.  Of course we piled into a Chrysler “that’s as big as a whale” instead of a station wagon, but it was the same concept.

 We hit all of the important spots like Yellowstone, the Golden Gate Bridge and Hollywood.  I had the time of my young life.  What could be better than going from watching the filming of a game show one day to standing barefoot in the snow on a high mountain pass just a few days later?  Desserts, beaches, huge trees, soaring mountains, waterfalls, geysers and more: everything was just enchanting.  Ah, the best of times.  Not a problem or care in the world.

Well, almost.  You see, I forgot to leave my fear at home. Continue reading

Dabbler, Hobbyist, Amateur or Pro (Again)

Dabble - Sketch by Trent P McDonald

(Note – This was originally posted on January 15, 2014 and has been reposted twice before.  Yes, it is an old standby, but I like it ;)  I’m sorry if you’ve read it too many times.  If you haven’t read it before, I hope you enjoy!)

I’ve participated in many of the arts and have had formal instruction in a few.  I’ll admit that I’ve discovered a problem with trying to be a Jack of All Artistic Trades: it’s very easy to fall into the trap of Being a Master at None. Continue reading

It Started With a Dream

The Hamlet Symphny - Alt Image

It started with a dream. And a very strange dream it was (*read the dream at the end of the post). It jumped around and didn’t make any sense and yet seemed real. I thought about it as I went through my morning routine. On my drive to work I wrote a little story in my mind based on the dream. By the time I pulled into the parking lot I had it pretty much down. I also realized it was more of a single scene than a standalone story.  i was thinking four, perhaps five, parts.  I took a break from work midway through the morning and cranked it out as fast as I could type. The scene was in my brain, I just had to type it out. I took less than 30 minutes to type and post the more than 1800 words of “The Halley Branch (Part 1)”.

For a few days it continued like this. I would think of the next chapter as I drove to work. Half way through the morning I’d take a half an hour break to write up what I had planned on my drive and post it. After the forth part I realized the story was going to be a lot bigger than originally planned, perhaps book length.

After about the fourth or fifth part I started doing a lot of the writing at home in the evening. Continue reading

Challenge Me! (Again)

Hamlet Symphony - Trent P McDonald

A few years back I followed a music forum.  One cool thing about this forum was the recurring composition challenges.  Everyone would submit a piece of music on a given theme.  The compositions would be posted anonymously.  We would then be given the opportunity to vote on our favorite.  The winner had the honor of creating the theme for the next challenge.

Of all of the challenges I entered and all of the pieces I created for them I liked Challenge 13 and the piece that sits at the top of this post was my favorite.  Obviously I enjoy the more obscure themes that challenge the imagination and force me to expand my boundaries.  To me the simple themes that many of the participants liked were a little boring, musical chewing gum if you will.  Listen to this little country dance Continue reading

Star Child

dazz

Stardust
Created in a cataclysmic cosmic crucible
Supernova seed
Spreading silently through space
Screaming its defiance
To cold entropy
It coalesced in the right place
At the right time
To beat the evil one – Entropy
Stardust
Supernova seed
That is your origin
That is your destiny
So make your
Supernova ancestor proud
And shine on
Shine brightly
And keep your eye
To the sky

Renaissance Painting Class

Years ago I took a Renaissance Painting class. What do I mean by “Renaissance Painting”? First, it has nothing to do with subject matter, it was purely a class about technique.

I’ll give a brief rundown on this technique. First, the artist needs a very smooth surface. Many Renaissance paintings are done on panel for this reason. For the canvas paintings we put layer after layer of gesso on and sanded between layers. Then the picture is painted in black and white. Well, it is greyscale, like a black and white photo. We could add a little blue or red (not much!) to the paint to make the final warmer or cooler. The last step is to put a color glaze over the black and white under painting. If something is green, you use a green glaze and the underpainting will take care of the different shades and highlights.

When you look at a Renaissance era painting it almost seems to glow from an inner light. Well, in ways it does – you are seeing the shapes and shading through a layer of colored glaze. Continue reading

Finished? I Don’t Think So… (Again)

Half a Trent - Self Portrait in oils, manipulated digitally

(Note – This was first publish in January of 2014.  Something reminded me of it so I decided to bring it back)

“OK, I’m finished.”

The painting instructor came over to look at my work.  He studied it intently, his brow furrowing.  After a few minutes he asked, “You’re done?  Is this a study?  I think this looks pretty good so you should continue working with it.”  He left to check someone else’s work. Continue reading

Topic Switching Part 2 – Large Scale (Again)

Dark Moon(Note I posted this about a year ago.  Truthfully, I’m in the middle of a large scale topic switch – I am writing and playing music and have no time to write.  So, another summer rerun.)

My last post was on the subject of topic switching. A person who topic switches will change the subject of a conversion repeatedly and seemingly randomly. It is as if her mind is racing so far ahead she doesn’t realize she’s skipped big chunks of the conversation. Or that he is so impulsive he spits out anything as soon as it comes to mind.

This post is about something completely different yet, in a strange way, related. I will call it “Large Scale Topic Switching”. Continue reading

Cat’s Eye – Throwback Thursday

cats-eye

Years ago my boss walked into my office, let out a little gasp and involuntarily jumped.  She had come face to face with a giant eye.  Yes, this was once the desktop image on my computer and it did shock some people (click on the image for more detail, if you dare :)).  Was it the eye of a giant?  Perhaps a tiger.  Well, no. Continue reading

Stories Untold and Books Unwritten

My Book

While watching the news a few weeks ago I was reminded of an old book idea I had decades ago. The basic idea of the book was thought out in 1988 during a period of prolific writing. Well, I wrote a half dozen short stories, bought a typewriter, and typed a few out, so while not prolific, it was a time that I actually did more than just dream about writing. I totally rewrote the book in my mind over the years 1993 – 1994, but I’m pretty sure the plot point that involved the trial of a racist police officer who had shot some unarmed black citizens was there since 1988.

Have you ever remembered an old plot line or unwritten story and asked yourself why you never carried through with it? I’ll admit it happens way too often with me. The reason I say “way too often” is the fact that until recently I’ve written far more stories in my head than I have actually written out. Continue reading