Tree by the water
Watercolour on Canson watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
(In grey scale the tree looks haunting, so
I must do it again in colour so that you can
get a different feeling.)They say a picture is worth a thousand words. (The
origin of the phrase is hotly debated). So I
thought I'd try to write a thousand words on the
subject. I was watching a wonderful video of
Louie Schwartzberg put on by TED TV, and he said
we take in most of our information visually. But aren't
written words visual?
Years ago when I was at university, one of my
professor's wives with a deep interest in the printed
word resurrected a century and a half old hand operated press.
You had to really think a word was worth printing to
go through the process of setting type, choosing each
letter and setting it in place, then inking the segment you
were printing, lining up the paper and cranking the
handle to make the page print. Each letter was carved in wood
and topped with linoleum or metal. Making a print of a poem
took intensive patience, labour and messy clean up --
but everyone would easily agree that there was no comparison
between those printed pages, and print produced by an electronic
printer. Part of it was the bite into the paper page that each letter
made, so that it each letter impressed itself on the page.
Too many words make a dog dog tired
Right now the dog is snoring on the floor. She's had
one walk today and wants another. If she wasn't sleeping she'd
be yelling at me -- "all right, all right -- a picture is worth a
thousand words. A thousand words is way too many mom
for today's audience. What they want is more pictures and
fewer words. They're going to have to get Alex the auto
voice person on the computer to read your many words for them.
The whole idea makes me want to sleep again."
As you know making pictures from Skype video telephoning
has been a major focus in my work in the past few years.
Is it better to phone, or to see the person you're talking to.
My friends and family have found that it depends on
the day. It's very intimate to phone and not see the
caller, but heart warming to be able to see someone you
miss laugh, and gesture. One day this whole question may
be moot. When it comes to talking to my family I know
the visual call is the one I prefer.
If you visit a word person's home, there is every chance
that words will feature as decorations on the walls, furniture,
maybe even their fashion, more than pure visual images -- or pictures.
But a thousand words for one picture? I phoned my friend
Marcia, a fabulous artist, and she said "absolutely. A picture
is worth a thousand words. I love pictures." She definitely
loves picture books, a fact I noticed when we visited her and
husband David in Hamilton on Family Day. We looked at one
glorious picture book after another discussing art all the while.
When I told her I was going to talk about this topic, she said to end
it half way to one thousand words. The picture tonight
is a grey scale of a gorgeous tree we saw in a park on the edge
of Lake Ontario on our way to Hamilton for dinner with Marcia
and David. In the late day sun it was a stunner, and I'm hoping that
my paintings of the tree (that's right I might do more than one) give
you an idea of how magnificent it was.
Me with my son Sam on the shore of Lake Ontario on Family Day.
Behind us is the glorious tree.But I have to quit now -- and I'm not quite at 1,000 words. In fact
I'm only half way. So I'll continue tomorrow with more pictures
from that lovely journey -- which ended with a super dinner with
my wonderful artist friend. I hope you're having a happy day, and
that one of these old maxims is teasing your brain.
By the way I got the link to Louie Schwartzberg from Carol Wiebe,
a wonderful artist whose work you can see here.
And what about you? What captivates me on your blog? Your pictures
and your words. I love the paintings, the photos, the videos and what
you have to say. Thanks for all of it.
Have a-loving-pictures-and-words day.