Emotional Batesian Mimicry

We often take on an emotional Batesian mimicry to survive in a “hostile” environment, taking on a behaviour we believe helps us survive, or even progress.

Thoughts While Walking In My Back Garden

I’ve been locked to my computer screen, writing and putting together the Walking With Angels Photobook so I’ve been venturing out only into my back garden for fresh air. Which has become a fascinating journey in itself, as I take pictures I can’t help thinking about their meaning, it’s a daily exercise almost; lessons learnt while in my neglected garden, so to speak.

I found this stunning hoverfly yesterday, with the most extraordinary bronze coloured head, absolutely mesmerising. The hoverfly looks like a wasp but is in fact a less villainess fly, however its Batesian mimicry of a more dangerous insect offers it protection. English naturalist Henry Walter Bates, after his work in the rain forests of Brazil, noticed harmless species mimicked a dangerous one to avoid predation.

Which got me thinking that we often take on an emotional Batesian mimicry to survive in a “hostile” environment, taking on a behaviour we believe helps us survive, or even progress.

The metaphor can’t be taken too far, but we do become like the company we keep. However we have more choice than a garden fly…

 

The Immortal Eye In A Water Drop

For all its prickly, coarse-haired, common inelegance the sow thistle cradles a single drop of water so tenderly, as though it holds an immortal eye into the inner galaxies of oceans and the secrets of life itself.

Thoughts While Walking in My Back Garden

I’ve just been out in my back garden between squally showers and found this pearl. For all its prickly, coarse-haired, common inelegance, the sow thistle cradles a single drop of water so tenderly; as though it holds an immortal eye into the inner galaxies of oceans, and the secrets of life itself.

Oh to hold every moment with such wonder, and search it for the stories of the universe.

An Inspirational Talk

Entertaining and articulate about her unassuming, gently life-changing stroll, Melanie is inspirational and passionate about encouraging others to back themselves and follow a passion – because when that happens, nothing is ever quite the same again.

Walking With Angels Talk: Melanie Gow tells the story of walking for 33 exceptional days with her 2 sons, aged 12 and 16, over the Pyrenees and across Spain for 800km to Santiago de Compostela. Entertaining and articulate about her unassuming, gently life-changing stroll, Melanie is inspirational and passionate about encouraging others to back themselves and follow a passion - because when that happens, nothing is ever quite the same again.

An Inspirational Talk

Melanie Gow will come to you with her inspirational story, Walking With Angels, with or without the exhibition. If you would like to invite her or ask more about the talk please use the contact form
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What If There Were A World President?

Imagine a world where one person represents a unifying world view, the singular interest of the world not that of one country at best, or a conglomerate or company, or a self-interest.

Facebook Post on The Jury, with Marie-Ann Leonard and Melanie Gow about a world president

As part of a local newspaper ‘jury’ of opinion, my colleague and friend, Marie-Ann Leonard, and I were asked this week, “If an election had been held for ‘World President’ before his death, Nelson Mandela would probably have been the overwhelming choice. Who would you pick now?”

I love her for her pithy bon-mots, and her answer is funny, however, for a moment I would like to ask; “What if there were one world vision? A President of The World.”

Imagine a world where one person represents a unifying world view, the singular interest of the world not the interest of one country at best, or a conglomerate or company, or a self-interest.

Imagine a person able to dispense with borders and unconditionally seek the ‘win win’, able to hold a global vision for the protection of other species and the environment, and autonomy, mastery and purpose for all people.

Imagine that leader represents underlying human values;  tolerance, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, social connectivity, honesty, fairness, mindfulness.

Someone of vision, with courage, wit, wisdom, altruism and tenderness. Imagine if that person were to put the planet before profit, people before bottom-lines, the intelligence of our public debate before winning, the integrity of our public officials before getting a vote. Who valued shared knowledge above protecting patents, the well-being of the community before the dominance of a market.

A person who could be hell bent on sustainability and quality of life, on establishing real equal opportunities, able to dispense with the need or desire for military action and focus on social welfare and the support of life-long education. Who could put social and environmental values at the heart of the financial system, serving the well-being of the globe rather than economic growth.

I realise Marie would put in a throwaway line here to lighten the mood, but I have climbed to the top of the mountain and seen the possibility.

Imagine one world view that measured success by how much we brought to the table, how we developed solutions. Imagine a world that endorsed random acts of kindness, and creating societal benefits through generosity and creativity.

That measured the quality of our experiences before counting how much ‘stuff’ we have, what difference we make and who we matter to. A World President who ensured that was our legacy.

It’s just a question, what if there were such a World President…

It seems appropriate to quote Nelson Mandela here: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

 

PS Here is Bill Strickland at TED

Pick Up Your Pencils For A New Drawing Competition

I felt a poignancy at the ease with which I was able to give up my frugal life on the road, that a pilgrimage for one is an indigent stasis for others.

A Moment in Maidenhead

This is a rough of a flyer for a new one day drawing competition, sketched on the first page of a fresh sketch book handed to me by Marie-Anne Leonard, of Art on the Street CIC, in her office in the back of Bovilles Art shop in Maidenhead this morning.

It’s been one of those marvellous days when you feel like neat Lara Croft was injected into your veins and ancient, hazardous ruins around the area shuddered in anticipation.

Obviously no actual tenets of society were hurt in the course of making this day happen but, we did give rise to a new drawing event.

I have been lucky enough to be invited in by fellow artist, Gail Dorrington, to work on an initiative from the dot-joining brain of Marie, with the help of Becky Young on the day. I can’t say too much about it just yet but it does involve art, becoming part of local history, a can from your cupboards and raising money for Open Kitchen, a charity providing food and help for people in and around Maidenhead who can not afford to feed themselves properly.

Indigent stasis in Santiago

Funnily enough, when we arrived in Santiago at the end of The Camino one of the first things we noticed were the number of people on the street, homeless or just begging. At one point I had to go across town to pick up something and as I dropped down behind the pergola on Avenida de Xoán XXIII I found a different world, a quiet unassuming row of neat spaces, each square of cardboard marking where those who carry all they have on their back everyday have few options.

I had just spent 33 days carrying little more than a change of clothes, what I needed to keep clean and manage my blisters, and my camera. I have slept with no covers, eaten frugally, and lived communally. It was for me an extraordinary experience, a pilgrimage that built me from the ground up and the inside out.

I felt a poignancy at the ease with which I was able to give up my frugal life on the road, but a pilgrimage for one is an indigent stasis for others.

In that small moment of reflection I did wonder what way I would acknowledge this going forward, so I am really pleased to be involved in some small way with this “soon to be properly announced” event ..

SAVE THE DATE: 19th October 2013

Pick up your pencils and get ready to create Artwork with an afterlife, to go in a time capsule of drawings – this is a one day competition drawing event for everyone, regardless of ability .. more details to follow

A Moment in Maidenhead, a one day drawing competition, from Art on the Street, supported by Bovilles, raising money for Open Kitchen

 

Supporting The Campaign for Drawing, keep an eye out for a downloadable entry form and details on the Art on the Street website

find out more about Open Kitchen

Bavarian Marble, Berlin and Big Hearts

Because someone has taken one of the three Wunsiedel marble Stand AppArt tiles into his home we have been able to get to the start of The Merry Road to Santiago.

Stand AppArt on Bavarian Marble

Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon ~ Emily Dickinson

While I was in Berlin for Tallulah Rendall’s album launch we went to the printers to pick up a piece for her exhibition and I noticed a marble tile and right there and then emailed three jpegs from my phone to Gunther at the printers.

Tallulah very kindly picked them up and brought them with her when she came over to play How The Light Gets In festival in Hey on Wye shortly after. I actually opened them up for the first time in the cafe and all the staff came over just to hold and feel them.

They are so tactile, it was so lovely to see and feel the images in my hands, the texture just makes you want to run your hands over them.

This was the first time I had seen my work in the real world, not just inside my phone.

I had my first three pictures, on Wunsiedel marble (which probably originates from wunne = glades, and sedel = noble seat, which seems elegant and elvish) from the Upper Franconian district of Wunsiedel in northeast Bavaria.

They are the only ones of their kind as it is far too expensive a process. Today one of them has gone into a private collection. A very special person with a big heart who has been a tremendous supporter, the sort of person an artist is truly lucky to have in their life, has persuaded me to let them have one.

Because they have taken one of the three Stand AppArt marble tiles into their home they are keeping us on the road. Or more accurately we have been able to get to the start of The Camino. We have been able to book the three trains, two underground trips and an overnight bus to get us to St Jean Pied de Port to start out on The Merry Road to Santiago.

Thank you Pierre …