May 28, 2017

How Do You Define Heaven?

I prepared for an afternoon of art by picking books off my shelf and looking at images for inspiration.  The artists included photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and my hero, painter Lyonel Feininger.  Then, off to the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum.

Partly baffled, partly moved by the Museum's displays, I consciously overexposed this triple exposure of the parking lot:

2D Collage
I then drove to the top of Mount Holyoke, where I found the Mount Holyoke Summit House:

Manifold Histories

In my Cultivating Creativity class we closely examine Thomas Cole's painting View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm - The Oxbow, so it was a thrill to take in the same view as Cole in 1836.

Some believe that Cole's painting with storm clouds, snapped trees and forests leveled for farmland allude to human encroachment on nature.  I wonder what Cole would make of smartphones, or this antenna located near his painting perch:

On the Grid

All of these images are in-camera multiple exposures.  The images come out of the camera rather flat and lifeless.  So I work on them in various computer editing programs, usually listening to music.  I hammed it up a little, moving the sliders in time with the beats to create this light show:

I "mixed" this in-camera multiple exposure in Lightroom while listening to The Interlude - A Trip Hop Mix.  I shot the images during my visit to the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, combining a hundreds of years old wooden Chinese bodhisattva (Guanyin) with Andy Warhol's screenprint of Sitting Bull.

How do you define heaven? This process is a start for me.

Professor John Nordell directs the Visual and Digital Arts Program at American International College in Springfield, Mass. He blogs about the creative process at