pushing your imagination to the limits

Since about the 21st of February, I have been participating in art challenges. The first was the 100-day art challenge. It was mostly time consuming. You could use any medium you like. Occasionally, there were prompts, which were fun. I produced a massive quantity of stuff, from painted rocks and wood, to paintings and entries in a visual journal. The next challenge, the one in which I am currently participating, is called the Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day challenge. It is all about creating small works of art every day for 61 days, from June 1st to July 31st.

I just finished the sixth week of the project, and I’m a day behind. Which isn’t bad because my life is consumed by books, journalism, and other people’s weedy gardens. I need to make their gardens unweedy. Which I do. The poor weeds never knew what hit ’em! But I digress. Serious digression. That’s kind of my specialty. That and shiny things.

Okay, back on topic. Each day, I get a prompt. One or two words to focus on to make my picture for that particular day. Some are easy and others are challenging. Week six seemed unusually difficult. So, here are the pictures for the week!

Day 36: Imaginary: tall tales are always imaginary, almost as fictitious as the famous “large fish that got away” story.

Day 37: Metallic. Do we really see ourselves in the mirror image or do we see someone that we wish to see? Or do we someone that we are afraid is the true representation of us?

Day 38: Zodiac. I really, really was undecided about what to do with this. Completely indecisive. How do I draw Zodiac? I looked up online images, but they were so busy and full of stuff that I thought, “If I try drawing this, I’ll be drawing for weeks and weeks, and I will be so obsessed with this that I’ll forget to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom.” That could be bad. But, anyway, I did this because it seemed like fun. I should say that I like looking up my horoscope in the newspaper, but the result is too vague and general for me to really care much about it. Still, I can’t seem to make up my mind. Oh, wait, my sign is Libra. The sign of the scales. One of the characteristics of that sign is indecisiveness. Urp. I resemble that comment. Or not. I can’t seem to make a decision.

Day 39. Levels. How the heck do I draw levels? It seemed so very abstract. Too much so. So I drew a staircase. A very, very long staircase that kept going and going and going, with no top. And I was thinking about those “steps to success” that people like to talk about during graduation. “If you work hard enough, you can achieve success.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way for many of us.

So I added stuff to this image after drawing this uneven stairway to success. There is no handrail. No safety checks. And no end in sight. It’s about competition. You’re out for yourself, and you’re not there to provide a hand to someone who cannot climb the uneven stairway to success. Helping others is considered to be “cheating.” Well, that is if you’re an ordinary person. There’s this thing that’s called “connections,” which means that, if you know the right people, you are not faced with the endless stairway. But, for most of us, we either have the ability to climb or we don’t. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t look down! If you can’t climb the endless flight of stairs, your failure is your fault. Not the system’s that gave you an unclimbable way to reach success. Oh, and see how you get gaslighted by being given the message that success in a rigged system is a result of “attitude” and “work.” This causes you to blame yourself, which is, unfortunately, the desirable result. What we need is a kinder system which encourages effort by providing meaningful help. And it’s truly “all for one and one for all” because we are only as strong as our weakest link. In other words, our strength is measured, not by the most successful, but by the least successful.

Day 40: Chandelier: I know. There is no chandelier in this picture. Oh, but you can imagine the chandelier. This is Christine Daae, who was trained by the Phantom of the Opera to be the leading soprano, instead of prima donna Carlotta. The Phantom was very possessive of Christine and of the opera company in general. However, he got jealous easily and he became angry when his demands were ignored. And so, in a show of power, when he ordered that Christine play the leading lady and Carlotta play the silent fool, and the reverse actually happened, he caused a chandelier to crash to the floor, which caused the entire audience to gasp and scream. That was a fine touch. The musical version of “Phantom of the Opera” actually begins with an auction, which includes the sale of “one chandelier, in pieces” and the mystery of the “phantom of the opera,” together with ominous music. It’s awesome.

Day 41. The prompt was float or buoy. That’s my self portrait. Haha, not really. I don’t look like that, and I would fall off of the float and end up swimming. All because I tried to catch the beach ball that was just a little bit beyond reach. And I would do it because the beach ball is… something shiny!

Day 42. Trivia. What better than the board for a game of trivial pursuit. So, here you go.

And, with that, a week of confusion has ended. And now, it’s time for week seven, which could be just as confusing. But it’s fun to try to create something with random prompts. It’s a good creative exercise and a reminder that it’s not really necessary to be perfect as it is to have fun, create something, and tell a story. The Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day is an annual event and, even if you don’t see yourself as an artist, give it a try. Even if you feel that you’ve fallen down the steps of success and have nowhere to go, you can still distract yourself with this. Because falling down the steps of success doesn’t define your value as a human being.

This is my second year of participating in the index card event, and I’ve had so much fun. Next year, how about joining me?

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