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I have a friend whose daughter pays the cello. She loves YoYo Ma and we took her to see him last fall. One of the things we discussed with her after the concert was how much emotional range he has in his playing along with exemplary technique.

This same friend lost her mother recently and her childen sang at the funeral. The song was heart-renderingly beautiful and full of emotion. I heard a few missed notes as their voices cracked from the pain, but the song was a performance I will long remember.

Being an analytical sort as well as creative (I could no more stop analyzing than I could stop breathing), this got me to thinking about the nature of technique vice emotion in art and how to balance them

Technique is, by its very nature, analytical. What will happen if I do this? How can I fix that? How do I mix the colors to get that exact shade? Why is this not working and what needs to change? What fingering do I use to play High C on the flute?  How can I make that gesture show up to the people in the back row?

Emotion is often the antithesis of analytical. We don't feel things because we have thought it through and decided that was the best response.

All good art has emotional content. That is what makes people relate to it. Unemotional art, music, acting, writing, etc. can have outstanding technique, but you will feel it is lacking something if you are in the audience. Art can be considered very good with a strong enough emotional content and less than perfect technique. Great art,  I submit, needs both.

So how do you get from a young student studying the cello to the professional success of a Yo Yo Ma? How do you teach emotion? Can you teach emotion?

Actors treat emotion as technique to be learned. If the script calls for me to be sad, how can I tap into sadness and best display it to the audience. What gestures show sadness, how can I manufacture the feeling on cue when I'm not actually feeling sad tonight? So yes I'd say it can be learned. But many of us don't try to learn to express emotion through our work - relying on it's unconcious force instead. In the visual arts and possibly in music composition, the emotion often comes first. We create the art or the write the music to express something we already feel.

But as long as the emotion is driving the work unconciously, we can't get the most out of it. Performers can't afford to let emotion be unconcious. You can't effectively play the death scene while having a fit of the giggles.

So learning to wring the full emotion out of a work involves learning new technique. And like any new techique it feels awkward and wrong and may even make things worse at first. But push through the learning phase and we might just get better at our chosen art form.

Yet we still don't want to lose the freshness of that unconcious feeling. Manufactured emotion can feel very fake and the work will lose its power.

So for me, I'm going to be experimenting. I'll start the work with my unconcious emotional content.  I'll use technique to bring it to a certain level, then deliberately start looking at the emotional content and what can I do to enhance it.  Can I add some light to bring a sense of hope to the darkness of despair? What effect would brightening the colors have or graying them out?  Do I need to make the edges more jagged or smooth them out? What can I suggest with small gestures or shadows or color changes? Will cropping the image make the emotions stronger? I don't know yet what techniques I'll find to enhance my work. But I know that unless I try, the work won't move to the next level.  

I'm going to be experimenting with ways to enhance the emotion in my fractal art through techniques such as the use of color and lighting and shadows. I invite you to as an artist to experiment with deliberately changing the emotional content of your work and finding techniques to deepen it.

I know I usually post fractal art in my art diaries, but today I think I'll share a couple of emotionally-charged poems instead. The first relates to my grieving process. And the second describes the rescue chihuahua I adopted and his efforts to overcome 6 years of abuse.

Dark Side of the Moon

I live on the the dark side of the moon
Since you went away
I know you didn't want to go
But still
It's dark and cold and lonely here.
I wandered lost for a long time
With my Rusty dog at my side
He was grieving too
So he was as lost as I
But he gave me comfort in the dark
Eventually my eyes adjusted and I could see beauty in the shadows
A little bit anyway
And Christopher came.
He had never lived anywhere except the dark side
But he brought a light with him
Now I could see more and the stark landscape was breathtaking
I live on the dark side of the moon
And have come to see it's charms
But I still miss the sun.

Mr. Christopher

He is so afraid
Never learned to trust
But slowly,
Slowly
First a tentative sniff
Then a tail wag
Oh wait was that too bold?
He backs away
He tries again
A longer sniff this time
Before backing off
"Everybody out "
Oh yes
He loves the yard
He races out the door
Tail wagging merrily
Then runs a lap around the yard
Jumping over tree roots
Time to come in
Oh no,I  have to go past HER
Indecision
No I can't
But months later, he can.
One day he trusts enough
To bark out loud
He takes a treat from HER hand
He lets HER pat him
If she puts some music on
Oh yes
Isn't music great?
He relaxes til the song is done.
Then OMG I'm in HER lap.
And once again he skitters away.
But trust is building
and someday...

Originally posted to DKOMA on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 04:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I find the same is true in writing. (12+ / 0-)

    I teach AP English. I tell my students I can always tell when they are writing to complete an assignment and when they really have something to say. That's the emotion, the passion.

    It also makes it possible to teach technique when they have passion for their writing. They suddenly care about improving their writing because it matters to them.

    I would suspect that a young cellist would work harder to perfect technique in a piece he/she was passionate about as well.

    Emotionless writing is almost always bad writing. Same goes for music and any art. Why bother with technique if there is no passion? Technique has no purpose without emotion.

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others." --Groucho Marx

    by Dragon5616 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:03:17 PM PDT

  •  Some people think... (11+ / 0-)

    ...that endless hours devoted to boring exercises are the antithesis of creativity, but mastery of technique is actually liberating. The greatest artists have usually been great technicians as well — two examples I can think of right off, Bach and Picasso, first mastered and then utterly transcended their respective arts.

    I believe we all have creative ability, but great artists get there by a lot of hard work.

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:14:56 PM PDT

  •  The two essentials, for any kind of art, IMO, (6+ / 0-)

    are
    1. having something to say.
    2. having the ability to articulate what you have to say.

    Technique and theory are what give you #2.

    If you have 1 without 2, you may as well not have 1. The same is true for the other way around.

    Having something to say could mean emotional expression, an intellectual idea, a unique perspective... it could be any number of things.

    Everyone has something to say. Few have anything interesting to say. Almost anyone can cultivate technical skills, if they're willing to put in the time and effort. It's much easier to develop technique than to have a strong, compelling idea and unique perspective. That's not something which can be taught. Great artists are rare, in any field.

    "We can have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few or we can have democracy, but we can't have both."-- Justice Louis Brandeis

    by ubertar on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:51:14 PM PDT

    •  I agree with most of what you say (6+ / 0-)

      But I do believe far more than a few have anything interesting to say.  There are many blocked artists out there who have wonderful ideas but don't pursue them through fear of failure or  self-limiting beliefs.  

      Great artists are rare for several reasons. Believing you can't learn technique (you must be talented) seems far more common to me than lack of something interesting to say.  Funny how people will recognize that you can't play football at the NFL level when you first start but expect that artists must be good from the beginning.

      People don't want to be beginners and think that if their first work isn't  as good as Monet or daVinci that they can never be good. Of course recognition as great also requires that you promote your work and many amazing artists are bad at marketing, so no one ever sees their work to realize how good it is.  And of course statistically speaking, only 1 percent of artists can be in the top 1% no matter how greatness is defined.

      •  "Interesting" is in the eye (or ear, etc.) of the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CherryTheTart, slksfca

        beholder. There's just so much crap out there. I agree that it takes time and work to develop artistic ability, not to mention an artistic vision. But lots of people get through that (the ability part, anyway), and become artists. Many of those are good artists. "Good" art isn't all that interesting, to me. The vast majority of what's out there doesn't explore anything new or offer a unique perspective. It just provides another example of something that fits an established genre. And those that say "there's nothing new under the sun" just lack imagination. There's plenty in art and music that hasn't been explored yet. But few go there. It's not about how "good" someone is at what they do (though that's a factor)-- it's about what they choose to do. The best in the world at the same old crap is still doing the same old crap.
        Marketing, shmarketing. We're talking about work that's "great". If something is truly great, it will eventually get its due (though maybe too late for the artist to know or benefit from it). In this world of instant communication, great work will surface and circulate among the people who can appreciate it. It just takes time.
        Anyone* who would be discouraged out of making art because they weren't instantly good at it isn't meant to be a great artist, or probably not an artist at all. They don't have sufficient passion to pursue their vision beyond the initial hurdles. They could potentially be good, but not great. A great artist (and most mediocre ones too!) need to make art. It's who they are. It defines them. It gives them purpose.

        *the exception to this is kids. Kids should be encouraged to push on, even if their initial efforts are disappointing. Not only kids, but anyone who is serious about making art (and by art, I include music, writing, film-making, etc.).

        "We can have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few or we can have democracy, but we can't have both."-- Justice Louis Brandeis

        by ubertar on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 04:04:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd say that... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    timethief, Dragon5616

    ...most of my paintings are fairly emotion free.  I'm afraid that technique reins supreme.  But it's hard to not concentrate on technique when one is still learning and experimenting with technique.  

    Oh, there you are, Perry. -Phineas -SLB-

    by boran2 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:09:43 PM PDT

    •  Why don't you try (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CherryTheTart, Dixiedemocrat

      treating emotion as a technique to learn?

      Take the same subject matter and paint it once in a way that shows joy (bringht colors, sunshine, etc.) and then do a darker, sadder version.

      You are painting a house in Cape May, right? Make your one version represent the beloved house of summer vacation memories.

      In the second painting make it the house where the family is grieving the death of the husband and father. Maybe it is decaying a bit becasue they can;t affors to fix it with the medical bills, maybe it is set in deep shadow. Maybe there is a flag pole in front with a flag at half mast. Maybe it is winter outside or raining.

  •  passion for something. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart, IndyRobin

    To care about something.

    like a Biig Red float
    that tickles the nose
    creamy white  ice cream
    red foam

  •  You have to reach technical fluency first; then.. (4+ / 0-)

    once you've become technically facile in an art form, the emotion comes naturally. You no longer even have to think about your technique once you reach sufficient competence.

    I've learned this in both photography and painting. Both were technically very difficult when I started, and the results often laughably trite until I knew what I was doing. But past a certaint point of fluency, your control of the technical aspects is sufficient to make it effortless, or automatic. Then you spend all your time working toward the emotional/artistic goal of the work, while your subconscious eye-hand coordination takes care of the drudgery of actually setting the exposure or putting paint to canvas.

    Writing is just the same. Write often enough and it becomes effortless. You begin to polish and refine your phrases for just the emotional pitch you're aiming for, rather than stumbling over grammar.

    •  A certain amount of technical fluency yes (3+ / 0-)

      But you don't have to be an expert before you start adding emotional content to work.  And sometimes the emotional contect of what someone has to say is so powerful that poor technique is unnoticed. I've seen photos of events like 9/11 that were taken by passersby with no real photography experience that would knock you off your feet due to the emotional content. I've seen amazing art come out of people in art therapy or art classes that focus on what you have to say more than how you say it.  Yes it becomes easier to add the emotional content once you have basic technique worked out. But even then it doesn't come naturally for everyone.  I have also seen paintings that are very proficient technically that have little or no emotional content and thus leaves the audience flat.  I honestly think you have to work back and forth, playing each against the other - now working on technique, now working on artist content and emotion.

  •  Both of your poems are excellent. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HLGEM 1, IndyRobin

    Thank you.

    I started out acting and dancing. Now I am writing the things that are danced/acted in my artistic maturity(?). I have a one act play that I have finished (sort of).

    Right now it is a crappy piece but it has moments that are possible. I have been at this theatre/dance/art shit for 40 years now. I am still learning techinique.

    It is technique that makes self criticism possible. It is technique and having striven to learn it that keeps the play in the desk drawer still and off the boards. I just "know" it is not ready yet.

    My goal is to tell the story of a woman, mentally ill and sexually abused in childhood, who is growing past her troubles. And to show what that growth looks like.

    It is a three character NO EXIT kind of thing. One of the challenges in the writing for me was to take the only male character (Mr. Slime) and make him funny and charming even though he is the nominal villain. In reality, the lead female is her own worst enemy. Yes, it is somewhat autobiographical. I think I have succeeded in spots:

    Title: A Day at the Beach with Mr. Slime.

    Characters: Izzy the Crazy Woman, Fluffy the Shrink, Mr. Slime the Dirty Dancer.

    Fluffy:

    Bugger off, Slime. You are annoying.

    Slime:

    I would leave, but you and Izzy cannot do this story without me. Does not matter how creatively you listen to Izzy the Whacked.

    Without me as the catalyst, nothing can happen. So even if I am a Horny Devil and a Big Shit, respect me.

    Without me there is no story. Without me and my Horn, no music can be made. Without me Izzy will have no epiphany. For that reason alone I deserve a little respect.

    I cannot help it if Izzy is a whackjob with a gorgeous ass. It is not my fault. It is God's fault. I just want to get laid.

    And I will screw Izzy into epiphany because I do possess the Sacred Dick of Antiquity, around which the World and all the traffic at State and Broad revolve in stately pavane. Everyone is invited to watch as me Johnson peeks out of its hiding place and waggles audaciously. I do not mind. Selah.

    Fluffy:

    Filth and dirt. Blasphemy even.

    Slime:

    Thank you.

    Fluffy:

    Slime, any dick will do. Izzy does not do love; you do not want love. Izzy does not do relationships; you do not want that either. Izzy does do "fuck them and chuck them.' Then she hides for long periods in sanctimonious celibacy. You have nothing to offer her. Not even brains. You are perfect.

    Thanks for making space for me to show and tell. Writing is lonely work.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 03:53:09 AM PDT

    •  ROFL (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CherryTheTart
      I cannot help it if Izzy is a whack job with a gorgeous ass. It is not my fault. It is God's fault. I just want to get laid

      I love this entire piece. Really good work and super creative. You are clearly in the process of taking the tragedy of these life wounds and birthing them into the viable energy of artistic freedom.

      Have you ever read the research done by Kay Jamison on artistic temperament?

      1.  In An Unquiet Mind, Jamison wrote of her own experience with manic-depression. She is a psychologist, a co-author of the definitive study of manic-depression (bi-polar disorder), and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

      2.Touched with Fire: manic-depressive illness and the artistic temperament. "The anguished, volatile intensity we associate with the artistic temperament, often described as "a fine madness," has been thought of as a defining aspect of much artistic genius. Now, Kay Jamison's brilliant work, based on years of studies as a clinical psychologist and prominent researcher in mood disorders, reveals that many artists who were subject to alternatingly exultant and then melancholic moods were, in fact, engaged in a lifelong struggle with manic-depressive illness."

      KEEP WRITING SISTER

      When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? Eleanor Roosevelt

      by IndyRobin on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 10:04:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you so much. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IndyRobin

        It is so wonderful when you are trying for something and someone gets it.

        I have bipolar disorder, of course, just like Kay Jamison. I have read "Touched with Fire." It was a gift to me. A gift.

        I was not aware she wrote another book on the subject. I must get it. She writes well and it was important for me that she was not "talking down" to me. She has been there and done that, so to speak. Guilt hinders recovery and she helped me give guilt up.

        I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

        by CherryTheTart on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 10:37:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  YES ! (0+ / 0-)

          Get "An Unquiet Mind" ( if I remember correctly) she told a story of how she was in a department store and was rapid cycling out of her freaking skin and as she stood in line to purchase a shirt (?) she just said "fuck it" and stuffed it inside her coat and walked out. Now mind you this is a PhD level psychologist who works for John Hopkins.

          As a dual diagnosis therapist and a addict I spent a few years as a primary therapist in a drug and alcohol treatment center. The first thing on my list was to kick the door off these toxic shame based emotion's by introducing the medical model of addiction. I also had a both NAMI poster's on the wall that highlights the giftedness of all these famous mentally ill aachievers and how they have contributed to our society.

          http://www.nami.org/... and http://www.nami.org/...

          The other thing I did (since art is an important part of recovery) was introduce everyone to a book called "Hey Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?: Teaching Great Poetry to Children. By the time people left treatment with me at least half of them were writing poetry ... lol

          I had used this book with my son who wrote his first poem at six and this poem at age 11.2 when his little beautiful blond girl crush turned her attention to his best friend (for just one day) and he was ... devastated.

          disappointment:

          neon green tastes bitter
          feels like someone grabbed the guts out of a shooting star and three ounces of myself ...
          disappeared.

          Now, I'm not saying everyone can write like this because to be honest he was highly gifted with an IQ well above 150 with critical analytical skills double his chronological age but this book is a great introduction to poetry for both adults and children.

          Either way - keep practicing your art. I see your story as a Broadway play. Think BIG and (((hug))) for never giving up on yourself.

          When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? Eleanor Roosevelt

          by IndyRobin on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 12:35:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your son does write good poetry. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            IndyRobin

            Love the first line. Excellent.

            Thank you again.

            I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

            by CherryTheTart on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 07:39:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I hope (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CherryTheTart

              you keep writing Cherry. "Broadway" may be a stretch ( smiles) but I find that visualization thingy tends to be true. And speaking of visualization this song was one of my son's favorites as a young child

              Love is free:

              http://youtu.be/...

              Give it away

              When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? Eleanor Roosevelt

              by IndyRobin on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 06:39:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The City Theatre has produced one of my plays. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                IndyRobin

                Off Broadway is not a stretch. I toured Ultrasonic Theatre: Only Dogs Can Hear Us in small NYC venues.

                I write One Acts with ease. I hoped A Day at The Beach with Mr. Slime would be a Two Act. I excel at short intense pieces. So far I simply cannot get there.

                I think it is time for me to go in a new direction and make the pieces dance/sculpture as well as a verbal play. I have been contemplating doing that for some time now.

                Thank you for the song.

                I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

                by CherryTheTart on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 07:29:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Also (0+ / 0-)

        sorry I forgot to comment on and thank HLGEM 1 for such an interesting and thought provoking diary. Liked both your poems as well.

        I have never paid much attention to technique since I see art as a spiritual transformation process ... but that's just me. In fact, I might (just did) go as far to say that "technique" could almost be considered a "judge" that levels judgement on what "is" and what is "not" considered 'art". I believe if you are acting from your most authentic soul self and creating what you believe to be art then technique serves no purpose.

        Reduced to its final form - I believe we are all artists.

        When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? Eleanor Roosevelt

        by IndyRobin on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 11:11:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Technique and Presentation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slksfca

    I had never really watched any figure skating before but because of all the drama surrounding Nancy Kerrigan that year I watch the 1994 Olympic figure skating finals that pitted her against Oksana Baiul.

    And this is where I learned about the unique way of scoring figure skating at that time. Each competitor received two scores, one for technique (technical skills) and one for presentation (which includes performance and artistic skills--in my mind this means, in essence, did the performer connect with the audience, did the performer make magic). You couldn't win without excelling in both.

    First Nancy skated. Nancy Kerrigan did everything and more technically you would want of a champion in her perfomance--the announcers oohd and aaahhhd about her triple this and triple that and things I'd never heard of like luxes.

    Then came Oksana and she blew me and the entire audience away with the most passionate and beautiful performance. She enchanted us all. She made magic. And she won the gold (even though the jingoistic American announcers complained that her triple this and triple that and her luxes were not as good as Nancy's)

    And maybe Nancy was just a tad more proficient in her technique, but there was something just too cold and too precise about her performance: She failed to make magic.

    And because of the scoring that takes into consideration both technique and presentation, Oksana won the gold, as well she should have.

    I think of this kind of scoring, that includes both technique and presentation, when I look at art, listen to music, attend a play, watch a movie or read literature.

    To achieve greatness, to get the gold, in my view, they must excell in both technique and presentation.

    I think of a poem by Yeats (Upon A House Shaken by the Land Agitation") in which there is a line about this house "Where passion and precision have been one" and that is my definition of great art: Where Passion and Precision are one.

  •  Scott McCloud and Technique (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco, HLGEM 1

    Comics Guru Scott McCloud, in his book Understanding Comics, describes a multi-step process to creating a comic -- or any other work of art.  It starts with a deep understanding of what the artist wants to do; goes through varying levels of craft and execution, and ends with technique.

    But, he says, most artists start out on the other end first.  They begin by copying the technique of other artists, because it is the most obvious, most easy to grasp part of the process to understand.  

    Some comic book artists become masters of the superficial:  dynamic poses, dramatic shadow, impressive-looking musculature; but that's all; their work is pretty and slick, but empty, like an apple that's all skin and no flesh.

    The better artists dig deeper, to understand why the visual gimmicks work and when best to use them.  Those better still delve even deeper, to understand the underlying story and character that the images are trying to portray.

    And the best creators of all go all the way to the core.

    As are all analogies, Scott's analysis is probably imperfect, but his book is still worth reading.  It is an interesting deconstruction of the comic book medium that has applications to other areas of art as well.

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 06:57:55 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the diary -- lots to think about. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco, Dragon5616

    I am a quilter, mostly working in traditional forms. Technique is enormously important -- if your technique is poor, seams don't meet where they should, puckers and bulges form, ugly things happen. Emotion is where the beauty occurs. I have made many pieces for charity. Technically they are good, attractive, useful quilts.

    For family and friends, I work for beauty. Usually beauty occurs when I use a particular fabric or motif for inspiration, regardless of how much that visual aspect is used throughout the design.

    Last week I finished and presented a graduation present for my fabulous future daughter-in-law. There were a number of inspirations for it, but it started with one beautiful fabric. The cloth is a double pink, strongly colored, because it is very feminine but no sissy, just like Beth. In a quilt of more than 6500 square inches, that pink fabric took up less than 1% of the surface area. But because I had that emotional framework to use, the rest reflected that, as well.

    My challenge is to be more bold in design, move away from the traditional formats and into more liberated ones. As I said, your diary gives much to think about. Thanks for sharing.

    "The Greek word for idiot, literally translated, means one who does not participate in politics. That sums up my conviction on the subject." Sen. Gladys Pyle (1890-1989)

    by Melanie in IA on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 07:10:30 AM PDT

    •  I used to quilt (0+ / 0-)

      When I learned my quilt teacher was appalled because I picked out the hardest fabrics to use and did my own designs. But I never was capable of following directions.  Everyone else in the class wanted to make a quilt, I wanted to make art. Now that I've had art training, I've been thinking of going back to quilting this winter (too hot to hand quilt right now) and seeing how much I have grown artidtically.

  •  Intellect vs emotion, cognition vs feeling... (5+ / 0-)

    we sometimes forget that these are somewhat arbitrary artifices that we invent to help us think about and talk about such things. The reality is much more amorphous, the boundaries overlapping and blurring. We are our emotions as much as we are our thoughts and perceptions and all of these things are blended together into one big thing - consciousness, which to this day is largely a mystery to science.

    That said, all great art is grounded in great emotion (IMHO).

    “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility”

    William Wordsworth

  •  As a poet/writer/musician (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dragon5616, IndyRobin, HLGEM 1

    I believe very strongly in both emotion/passion and technique.

    In poetry/writing the colors and shades are done with word choices, rhythm and tone of language, the musical aspects of language. Good editing skills, so that there is no fat.

    For example, in developing rhythm and tone. The long vowels and soft consonants are the melodic aspects of language. The short vowels and hard consonants are the percussive aspects.

    I think it was Titian who said that only 10% of one's artistic output is golden. The rest is practice. Too often people put what should remain in their practice files out there instead of limiting what they put out to the public to only their golden stuff.

    The actors who followed The Method technique in acting (Brando is the prime example, I guess) were taught to draw on real emotional situations they had experienced . . . not to "manufacture" the emotion. One doesn't think "what gestures show sadness". One recalls actual sadness, lets the actual emotion run through one's body/mind. This is what separated The Method from other acting techniques.

    It's fine to "analyze" emotion, but there's no substitute for actually FEELING. Some people treat feelings as unreliable responses to the world, and it's true that there if one is not aware of one's emotional being, one can react in unreliable ways.

    However, there are authentic feelings that many people who over-analyze (I call them the hyper-rational, and see they hyper-rationalizations just a unreliable as unstable reactive emotions). In my opinion, if one wishes to create with an authentic emotional component, the best thing is to be very intimately knowledgeable about one's emotional terrain . . . the good, the bad, the ugly.

    That's my 2 cents. Or 5 cents. I will also take the liberty of posting one of my own poems in another post. To show my idea of rhythm, tone, and emotion in language.

    "If religion is the opiate of the masses, then fundamentalism is the amphetamine." Miz Vittitow

    by MillieNeon on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 11:10:59 AM PDT

    •  Sorry for the typos (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dragon5616, IndyRobin

      was typing too fast, and didn't proofread. Hope the gist is clear though.

      "If religion is the opiate of the masses, then fundamentalism is the amphetamine." Miz Vittitow

      by MillieNeon on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 11:16:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IndyRobin
      if one wishes to create with an authentic emotional component, the best thing is to be very intimately knowledgeable about one's emotional terrain . . . the good, the bad, the ugly.

      But to be "intimately knowledgeable" requires analysis as well as experience, doesn't it? Method acting required real emotion (accept no substitute!), but Brando's genius was in his choices of emotions, which required him to be "intimately knowledgeable"--or analytical as well as experienced, i.e. wise. Which is technique here and which is emotion? The lines get very blurry. Emotions are tools for actors, just like a piano or a paint brush. The choices the actor makes are guided by the actor's passion to be true to the character and the story.

      Your comment and your poem are outstanding.

      "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others." --Groucho Marx

      by Dragon5616 on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 11:49:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Analysis, perhaps (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IndyRobin

        I think of it more as an intense observation, yet even that seems to distance the observer from the feeling.

        I think what I'm trying to point to is that attempting purely objective analysis of one's emotional depths (as if that were entirely possible), isn't the best way to attain authentic emotional  knowledge.

        Yes, Brando had to choose which emotion was called for in a specific situation. But I don't think he thought "oh, I'll use this gesture". I think he aimed to fall into the quicksand of that emotion, and if he FELT it, the gestures would arise automatically from the feeling. At least, I think that's pretty much the theory behind Method Acting.

        Can't really say what exactly went on in Brando's mind, of course, and I'm sure he had many tools at his disposal, as any good actor would.

        Thank you for your comments on my post and poem. I appreciate it.

        "If religion is the opiate of the masses, then fundamentalism is the amphetamine." Miz Vittitow

        by MillieNeon on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 12:31:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Duties of My Heart (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dragon5616, IndyRobin, HLGEM 1

    It is the duty of my heart to revive

    when the night monster flies through rooms of darkness

    and a thousand waves of sorrow

    and a thousand waves of fear pour down my dreams.

    When the dimensions of my existence are slowed in the terrible ice

    it is the duty of my heart to sing.

    When the stiff-hearted build up cold palaces of silence.

    When the letters of my name fly away with their wonderful secrets.

    When I stand without hands and feet

    Caught in the chill skin of a sad soul

    it is the duty of my heart to open me the power of breath.

    To awaken my lungs in extremities of space.

    When the wind is high

    and the world hardens into rock around me.

    When words that crawl from tongue to ear are not shot through with light

    it is the duty of my heart to whisper me the noise of wings:

    neshamah       neshamah       neshamah

    Now look.

    When I am released from myth and can't bear having no original home

    both as a woman and a soul.

    Or am purely receptive and have nothing of my own

    it is the duty of my heart to hold me to its own law.

    This it will do for the sake of revival.

    This it will do for me.

    When nothing remains in its proper place:

    the world the year the hour of the inner tongue.

    When everything is somewhere else

    and the masters of pain ignite their dark flame.

    When I have burst into four hundred thousand worlds

    and still there is no way.

    When I am peculiar to myself and passion locks in longing.

    When in the deathly passivity of remembrance I am stranded

    stuck between windows of returning and revulsion.

    When in the midnight lamentation I have lost my eyes from weeping.

    When my sighs shake the wilderness and paradise misfires

    it is the duty of my heart to ask me if

    I want to dance.

    I always do.

    And so I live

    when the agencies of presence

    blood and breath

    put on this name and play the living moment.

    It is the duty of my heart to remind me

    that my lips illuminate this cup of tea

    and the abyss that swallows

    is the source of my fullness.

    "If religion is the opiate of the masses, then fundamentalism is the amphetamine." Miz Vittitow

    by MillieNeon on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 11:13:06 AM PDT

    •  Beautiful (0+ / 0-)

      As with all poetry, best read aloud.

      Have you ever read the Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott? In the 8th grade we read that aloud in class and the rhythm of the poem is so clear when read out loud and you just soar through the poem on wings of fire.  I hadn't read it since then until I got my Kindle and then it was one the the things I coudl download for free. I've been rereading it out loud and it has lost nothing thorugh the years is rhythm and tone.  It is nice to see that it is as good as I remember it.

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