Scientists Discover that Plants are Evil

Lessons from Plants Spoken Word, September 21, 2014

I just read an article on that said scientists have discovered “Evil talking Plants use DNA”. “Alice in Wonderland” and I already knew that plants were evil. I mean who can forget the movie’s scene where the snobbish plants turned on her supposing she was a weed and left her soaking wet.

I shared the same fate as Alice at Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France. The sprinkler system exploded while I was there trying to draw and make peace with the flowers in Monet’s Garden. I figured as an artist and admirer of Monet, I would offer a truce. Spurned, I left in tears.

I get the last word on the flowers at the “Lessons from Plants” Spoken Word at Miami Beach Botanical Garden, September 21. You’ll hear the many lessons about life and love I’ve learned from nature’s wisest teachers. The Spoken Word is part of the “Inspirations from Paris” exhibition, September 21-27.

The exhibit features recent Impressionist works from Monet’s Garden, Les Arts Décoratif, and Florida Heritage paintings. My art series Les Arts Décoratif explores various Art Deco cultural and heritage sites in Miami Beach through the sensitive eyes of an artist. I see Art Deco through the lens of history and artistic styles.



Art Deco and Donuts

Art Deco and Donuts
While heralding the new Dunkin Donuts in downtown Miami, I took a sad pause and realized the building that I once delighted in sketching was transformed into a Dunkin Donuts shop. It made me realize the important role we artists play as historians. Sometimes an artist’s drawing is the only documentation of past events or landmarks. Artists preserve heritage through art. My current post card series “Art Décoratif” seeks to salvage the neglected and preserve popular Art Deco buildings in South Beach through art.

During a postcard talk at the Miami Main Library, post cards were described as mementos of a former time. The decline of postcards sales due to social media with digital cameras was lamented. I am all for social media, but I think it elevates rather than diminishes the important role artists play as historians. In the book “Ruskin on Turner” by Dinah Birch, it is said “Cameras don’t think, but photographers do”, and Ruskin found no reason to despise their work. What a painter can offer is not so much superior as incomparable. Every nuance of his image is a product of the human mind, engaging or failing to engage with what it perceives. Line, colour and light are translated into experience and thought egotistical illusion and evasion in a bad picture, honesty and perception in good work. Thus the picture becomes a text, to be read and understood as we might a poem, or passage from the Bible.”
The artist’s message transcends time and place. There are no language barriers in art. No technology bugs to work out.

While social media is a great platform for instant communication, it has not replaced the important role artists play as historians. How to retain social media records for future generations remains a daunting challenge. According to the article “Saving Government Tweets Is Tougher Than You Think” by Joseph Marks ”federal agencies should establish working groups to determine when agency social posts constitute federal records and how to retain them for posterity.” Obviously, there are some technology bugs to work out.

©Elaine Marie

Book Wisdom from a Five Year Old

When faced with a project that you are unfamiliar with it is common to seek a subject matter expert for guidance.

When I began the task of illustrating my Miami Beach Art Deco coloring book, I sought the advice of my five year old grandson. As I worked on my thumbnail sketches, he noted “Grammy, books have spines.” This was the first of his insightful remarks.

When I came back with my drawings he noted, “You don’t have any people in it. You need to draw some kids doing fun things.” “Well, I do see people walking their dogs…” “Yes, what about a parachute…this sky looks empty.” “I don’t see parachutes at South Beach but I do see para sails.” “What’s that?” he inquired.

Not sure that I could explain it, I drew a sketch. “Cool!” he replied. “I guess I could draw some clouds in the sky,” I offered.
“I want to draw on this robot.” I decided to include dashed lines for tracing instead of making it a static object. “This building needs something.” “I did leave out some windows,” I explained. So much for my first edit…

I literally went back to the drawing board and returned with the changes he suggested. “Where’s the parachute?” he insisted. “Well, I drew clouds instead.” He wasn’t impressed and maybe a bit disappointed. Still, he said it was much better than before.
“These kids need helmets on their heads. They could get hurt!” “But they look so much cooler without the helmets,” I protested. “These kids need helmets!” “Alright,” I agreed.

“What should I do about the front of the book? I’ve seen a mermaid on a building I could draw.” “No, because people will think it is just for girls.”
“What should be the ages for the coloring book?” “Four to nine year olds. Little kids ‘scribble and scrabble’ and I’ve seen nine year olds color.”

“What should I call it?” “Teen Coloring book.” “Do you know what a teen is? “No!” “Well, I’m not calling it that.” I decided on “Splash and Color” without telling him. My ego had taken enough beatings.

A few weeks later, I returned with what I hoped would be the final edit. “Good job, Grammy. I am proud of you,” he beamed. “Wow! Thanks grandson.” Now to get it printed I thought…
As I read the publisher’s guidelines, I breathed a sigh of relief. My grandson had prepared me well.