Thursday, October 15, 2009

Manipulating layers of images and emotions

Digital collage of child in Prospect with Susan Tuttle's visual manipulation techniques.

Wow, what an inspiring class this "Visual Poetry" class has been! Only 4 weeks and it really goes quickly. Probably because Susan Tuttle is teaching so much and the things she is teaching can be layered and played with in the most fascinating ways. I am really sorry the class is finished. (Don't worry, she's running the course again. Registration will begin Sunday, October 25th, 7 PM EST. Sign up or find information here.)

Edward's straw flowers (grown in our garden) with Susan Tuttle's visual manipulation techniques.

I think the layering really resonates with me. It seems to resemble layered images and stories that fill our lives and memories. Why not play with them? If photoshop is visual manipulation to create art, why not create a parallel process with memories, emotions, and stories, manipulating and playing with them until you have a happy artful life?

One of the links I've been looking at for this idea of life manipulation is the UrbanMonk.Net website. The Oct. 10 posting is wonderful. I've always wondered why it is we can get so hooked into negative feelings about others against our own will and certainly against our better judgment. The urban monk has discovered the reason. There was a man who took up a lot of his mental space, he thought, because the man had persuaded him to do some free design work for him, and then proceeded to criticize him in a verbally abusive manner for this free work that had taken hours to do. The urban monk hated this man, constantly relived the abuse, and fantasized about revenge.

But he felt it made no sense. Others had done worse, and yet he was not stuck in this way by them. Why did he get stuck in his hatred for this man? After a lot of work over several years the urban monk was feeling a little relief, but still there were a lot of negative feelings remaining. The actual answer to the mystery was quite simple. He felt his hatred was actually inauthentic – the real hatred he had felt for this man had been healed a long time ago; what remained was a cover for a layer of hidden feelings underneath.

What the monk really had to heal was his own feeling of worthlessness. These thoughts had actually come into his head, but he found them too painful so he projected them onto the abusive man and proceeded to keep the hatred alive so that he wouldn't see that the feelings were coming from within himself. Brilliant! The trouble with this is that we become imprisoned in our negative feelings, we are trapped, unable to release the real feelings because we can't see them for all the bluster of the false,projected, negative feelings.

The urban monk has some good suggestions for further reading, and for my part, I'm going to play with some metaphoric layered photoshop imagery and see if I can't turn this idea into art.

Week 4, Lesson 2 Portrait with added layers for texture. ( Susan Tuttle provided the flower layer)


Susan Tuttle said...

It has been a pleasure having you in the class Lani -- you have done some amazing work!

Lani Gerity said...

Thank you Susan!
(I had a very good teacher! LOL)

Curio said...

Your work is not only poetic; it is hauntingly beautiful!

Lani Gerity said...

Thank you so much Curio!

Albert | UrbanMonk.Net said...

Thank you so much for this link, I'm glad you liked my article. :)

Lani Gerity said...

My pleasure Albert!