How many ways are there…

to interpret a word or two

Or: If I get a prompt, could my answer be wrong????

It’s a fair question to wonder if your answer could be wrong. In arithemetic, for example, there are right answers and wrong answers. There are ways of solving a problem. On Facebook, there have been all sorts of questions, and it’s easy to make a mistake. For example: 4+4×0+15 would be the problem. When I first started trying to solve these problems, I believed that you just went from left to right. If you did that, you would add 4+4 and get 8. You would multiply that by zero and get zero. Then you would add 15 and you would get 15.

Is that the right answer? No. It’s not. It’s not because I forgot PEDMAS. That’s an acronym for the order of operations: parentheses, exponents, division/multiplication, addition, subtraction in that order. So I have to start with multiplication. 4×0 is 0. Then I add, from left to right. 4+ 0 + 15. The answer is 19. And that’s the only answer.

It’s like when I count money at church. I am part of a two-person counting team, and we take a turn counting the money once a month. Today, it was our day to count. When we come up with the right numbers and everything checks and everything balances, we are happy and we celebrate. It feels secure. If you’re depositing money in the bank, you want to know exactly how much is going in. There is no room for surprises!

do you need the same security of rightness in creativity?

No. The thing that gives you the most comfort when adding numbers or money creates stress in art. What if there were only one way of creating an artistic image? Could you be creative? Could you express yourself when your goal was to create the same image as everyone else for fear of being wrong? And, fortunately, it’s not so. With creativity, you need to think divergently, whereas, with arithmetic, convergent thinking is the preference.

The above image is my version of “repeat,” which is the prompt for day 45 of the Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day challenge. It’s lots of houses on streets and, as the song goes, “the houses are made of ticky tacky, and they all look just the same.” So it’s a commentary on sameness in the way people live. Do they all want to live in little houses that all look like every other little houses? There are many people who live on streets with lots and lots of houses that all look alike. But the thing that they do, that can’t be seen from the street, is that they create their own space inside the house. They make the inside of their house their own by endowing the house with their personalities, their imaginations, and their dreams. It is no longer a structure; it is a home. There are many ways of interpreting repeat. For example, a repeat sign in a bar of music would be another interpretation. And that’s what these are: interpretations, rather than right answers or wrong answers.

The day 46 prompt is millefleur, which seems to mean 1,000 flowers. I can’t draw 1,000 flowers so I drew just five flowers. And I embroidered the image. Embroidery floss on a card. The five flowers represent a field of 1,000 flowers. And the medium that I chose, embroidery, is another way to interpret a concept. I will readily admit that it was a time consuming project so I understand why people who make cards that involve sewing or quilling or anything three-dimensional charge more for their creations.

Tomorrow: Who knows? It’s a mystery to me but I am happy to have caught up with my Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day challenge. In other words, pop in tomorrow and there will be a big surprise!

10 thoughts on “How many ways are there…”

  1. I do see numbers and patterns in art. Sometimes it is rational and makes sense. Other times there is no rhyme or reason, it just is. We are all creators, so it must be right in at least one set of eyes. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Your art is so amazing!! I can imagine that flower art in my living room above the couch. As I get older, I get less secure about interpreting words. Especially if I am thinking of them in context. So I go to Google to look up the exact definition, so I can know I am using the word correctly.

    1. And sometimes, an exact definition is necessary. Because it’s just the time for it. When I write a newspaper article, the words have to be more exact than when I am drawing a visual representation of a word. So, yes, I understand about thinking of the words in context. Thank you, Jeanine. Your comments and input mean so much to me.

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