Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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10/27/2005: "Mammatus anyone?"

So, Dio posted some work on his site by an artist who did some paintings that are somewhat similar to a group of paintings I've been working with, at the PhotoShop thumbnail stage. I kindof hate that, it's like when you think you've written this kick ass song and then you hear it on the radio.

I'm going to do the paintings anyway, if people avoided doing any work that could be considered derivative, nothing would ever get done.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm somewhat obsessed with the idea of Armageddon, not in the biblical sense, but just in the end of the world sense. The series I've been toying around with has to do with natural disasters, our possible role in them, different ELEs (extinction level events). One of my favorite natural disasters is the tornado, (not exactly at ele status yet but...) and one precursor to the tornado is a rare meterological event called the Mammatus cloud. I absolutely ferverently and passionately love clouds, all clouds, and the Mammatus cloud is my absolute favorite of them all.

Do an image search in google for: clouds nebraska to see some stunning examples. I grew up in Nebraska so tornados represent my first conciousness of death...or the possibility of death through the catastrophic and unpredictable finger of god. I've wanted to do these paintings for a long time now, but always felt conflicted about it, because I have lived for nearly 20 years in a place that is gloriously (and sadly) tornado is not an Alaskan theme to be sure...but it is me...or, something that has had a huge effect on me and who I am today.

more to come...maybe I'll post some of my thumbnails later. I'm actually doing all this online searching as part of my job. I'm recording one of my instructional CDs for one of the courses I teach and this unit is on searching the web, so I'm making sure that I'm up to snuff on all the newest web searching features...but, I really have to get it finished today so I better get back to work.

Replies: 7 Comments

on Thursday, October 27th, ann said

There's something about the feeling in the air when there are tornados close by... something special... something electric... something almost indescribable.

Have fun painting the end of the world. And the beautiful Mammatus clouds.

on Thursday, October 27th, Elise said

I agree, tornados are thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Oh, the tornado tales I could tell...anyway, I'm going to paint all weekend and then guess what starts on Monday?

on Thursday, October 27th, ann said

NaNoWriMo starts at midnight on Monday. I'll very likely be starting on Tuesday...

have fun painting!

on Saturday, October 29th, RR said

I know the feeling Elise but you have to keep at it. Hope it goes well.

on Saturday, October 29th, Elise said

I know RR, I'm just having a hard time now, getting his images out of my head.


on Sunday, October 30th, RR said

Ah but if they are now in your head then it's your interpretation of his work. So, in theory they are no longer his work, you have taken ownership and created your own image of it. Now, whether any work you subsequently produce is influenced by that or not is a different question. The subconscious works in strange ways! As you have your own ideas before you saw his then I think you can rightly take ownership of them and what you produce will be your work whatever. There is a problem that you may overcompensate and go in a different direction than you had anticipated and that might not be a good thing. I think you just have to go with what you produce and look at your own work until his disappears from your head. I thought his work reminded me of mine because I know what I was thinking and recognised that one of his little faces reminded me of my own carved sculpture face - but, in reality it probably looks nothing like it! When it comes down to it we can't all be totally unique in our ideas all the time - how many versions are there of the madona and child, the last supper or the three graces? Nope, I think, take ownership of your idea and the work will be yours whatever :D

on Sunday, October 30th, Elise said

I think what you're saying is really true. I think what bothers me is the way he does his landscapes in general, and the water and skies in particular, because it's very stylized, and that's how I was doing mine for this series, but now I'm wondering if I need to reinvent my idea or do it differently intentionally or what.

I mean, in a way it's silly because this is one artist whose work I've seen of all the thousands out there, for all I know he was inspired to do certain things from other artists before him, there may be people who think his work is derivitive.

as for the face in your sculpture, at least your working in a totally different medium, I wouldn't think twice about it if I were you!