Don’t Paint What You Don’t Know

 
In His Prime
Early on a September morning as I was preparing my palette to begin the day, I saw a handsome bull ease out of the timber. He slowly moved into the clearing and presented himself broadside. Then, as if on queue, he elegantly turned his gaze in my direction. In that moment I knew I going to pain him “In His Prime.”

Have you ever seen art on the wall and thought to yourself, is that a photograph or a painting? A key factor that makes art realistic is not only the detail that’s provided with a brush, but an understanding of your topic. To paint at the professional level, it takes more than natural talent, it’s taking the time to learn the details that is expected at this level.  When an artist actually lives the experience of what they are painting, the bar gets set even higher. Or the art becomes truly amazing to look at. Even to the point that you start asking how much for the painting. Mary Wood Western Artist is a name to remember if you enjoy Western themed paintings and best of all, Mary creates her paintings right from her back porch. Here’s an example……

Right off her back porch stands this magnificent 6×6 bull elk. At first glance this bull just radiates confidence, possibly looking back to see if his harem is secure. There is no doubt this bull is “In His Prime” that is exactly what Mary titled this painting. All through the rut Mary was able to watch and study his behavior up close. Think of it as a figurative study except you are painting a naked bull elk instead of naked human. While writing this, out of curiosity I completed a search of elk paintings and I came across this….

Believe it or not, this painting costs $8,400.00 and it was created by a well known artist. The title of the painting claims this is a deer. It goes to show that you shouldn’t paint what you don’t know.

I reached out to Mary and asked if she could provide a quick bio for this post and here is the reply, I got back……

I only paint subjects and country that are intimately familiar to me: horses, cowboying, ranch life and the wildlife I have tracked and studied since early childhood

“My passion to draw and paint has been a part of my life from my earliest memories, always with the objective of being as accurate and true to my subjects as possible and at the same time capturing the atmosphere, the colors, the emotion of a split second in time that hopefully transports the viewer into the painting as if they were there.“

TATANKA
As a great resource for both the artist and the naturalist in me, there is a bison range relatively nearby. I love going there and spending the day observing, sketching and taking pictures. This big, handsome bull is a composite of several bulls I have seen on my trips to the range. I have been very near, perhaps too close at times when a bull explodes charging another bull. I guarantee you it will stop your heart and blow your hair back. That is exactly the sensation I want you to feel as I painted “TATANKA!” charging straight out of the canvas.

To see more of Mary’s art, please visit THIS LINK.

Do you know how close minded you are?

Do you realize how close minded you are? Here’s how I figured out how close minded I was. I started saying YES to everything.

About 2 years ago, I made the choice to study abroad. Being born and raised in Montana, I loved it. I loved the outdoors, and the opportunity of adventure at any point. What I didn’t realize was this was the ONLY thing I knew. I always deemed Montana, Missoula specifically, as a place where most people are well rounded people, and I think relatively, they may be. However, staying in one place your whole life can be very toxic.

I moved to Australia around two years ago, but not just to Australia, but to one of the biggest foreign exchange schools in the world. When I met people of new and different cultures, I noticed immediately the assumptions I made, and how quickly I again banded myself with people similar to myself. I hated myself for it. I understand this is a natural human function, but as I noticed it happening to me, I brainstormed how to break myself away from it. What I did was, I started saying yes to everything.  When someone asked me to do something, or an opportunity presented itself, or some random person on the street asked me to talk, I would always say yes, and I held myself to it. I started saying yes to opportunities I, in the past, would have turned down immediately for reasons to do with pride, fear, etc.

I very quickly saw the change it made, and yes, I did have the occasional situations I definitely should have said no to. But in the long run, I saw myself becoming a much more experienced, well rounded, and cultured person. I started going places, eating things, and hanging out with people I would have never before. It was absolutely liberating and I’m so glad I did it. I saw it as “going with the flow”, and instead of doing that with my own interest in mind, I truly did whatever opportunity came to me. I put myself in danger, in so many awkward situations, but overall, experienced life as it came to me. I made way more friends than I ever would have, and experienced life lessons at a much faster rate than I previously would have. Free yourself, open your mind, SAY YES!!

Social Media and the Decline of Personal Privacy

 

In the midst of this Covid-19 pandemic that we all must suffer through together, why is it that media outlets, professional athletes, and celebrities all seem to be shoving their opinions in the faces of the public more than ever before? Why do American citizens seem to be okay with accepting this seemingly endless stream of disinformation and plethora of baseless claims that contradict everything we know to be true? Though I am not a psychologist and have no right and no qualifications to accurately answer these questions, I feel obligated to make a few speculations on behalf of those that have some of the same questions and are struggling to accept the fact that social media has facilitated the decline of personal privacy. While it began as a rather innocent and efficient way to stay in contact with people around the globe, the development of social media platforms has very heavily contributed to the introduction of new social norms and a growing concern over the absence of personal privacy.

It should come as no surprise that the prevalence of online platforms that collect and display personal information has created a demand for this information by a number of corporations intent on utilizing the information to determine purchasing patterns of consumers in an effort to expand their ability to predict future purchases. With online shopping platforms like Amazon and Google who keep records of your past purchases and search history, it becomes difficult to avoid the recommendations that these companies make because their software often allows them to learn more about our habits than we can even comprehend. Granted, this development does make shopping and browsing the internet much more efficient for those that have no qualms with their personal information being bought and sold as they benefit from it as much as the companies exchanging this info. However, for many older members of the population who grew up without any of these perceived conveniences (71% according to the 2019 U.S. census), this raises serious concerns. Out of this vast majority of the population nearly 6 out of 10 adults feel that it is almost impossible to get through a day without having data collected about them (Pew Research Center). Despite many products and services being marketed by revealing the time and money that could be saved through the use of collected personal information, many Americans still feel that this is a massive invasion of their privacy and feel helpless in stopping it. Younger members of the American population might say that if you don’t like it then don’t use the internet, but none of us are naïve enough to think that this is even a possibility in today’s technology-driven world.

I will be the first to admit that technology and even social media can grant us access to some pretty amazing tools to navigate through our exceedingly fast-paced society, but I also acknowledge the immense potential for the misuse of the information gathered online. Additionally, this information really has no standard for validity and is often misconstrued by a majority of those who have access to it because there is no accurate way to convey subtleties like facial expressions or body language that one would otherwise be able to observe during a physical interaction. Yes, emojis can sometimes get your point across in a more accurate way but are still greatly lacking as the number of expressible human emotions far exceeds the amount of emojis currently available. Thoughts?

 

 

 

By: Gavin Greek

Raising My Pit Bull Puppy

I would like to introduce Mac, our 10 week old Pit Bull puppy. Mac was born on July 10th, 2020. My fiancé, Lyndsy, and I had been wanting a dog for some time and we were looking to get a puppy or rescue a dog near the end of summer. To our luck Lyndsy’s Aunt’s dogs (dad was full breed pit bull and mother was mostly pit with a little bit of lab) had a litter and we were the first people she asked to see if we wanted a puppy. We immediately said yes and she sent us pictures of the litter so we can pick one out. This little grey ball of joy stuck out to us and we knew he would be perfect for our family. We would get updates from Lyndsy’s aunt on how he was doing and she even started calling him Mac for us around 3 weeks old. We picked him up on August 21st and he has forever changed our lives. Mac can be a handful but is usually very well mannered for a puppy. We are making sure he is crate trained at night where one of us will take him out to potty in the middle of the night, he rarely whines about being in his crate anymore. One nice purchase that we have made is the Fresh Patch, which is a patch of grass (4ft by 2ft) used for dogs to help them train and get them comfortable with the transition to going to the bathroom outside. We are enrolling Mac into some puppy training classes that Lyndsy and I will attend. I cannot wait for this little guy to grow up and be the great dog I know he will be. As of right now he weighs 20 pounds and we are expecting him to be about 90 pounds when he turns a year old.   

 

 

Picking up Mac

 


The Five Greatest Atheists

The Five Greatest Atheists

 

Richard Dawkins (1941-)

“I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.”

Richard Dawkins is arguably one of the most famous atheists in the modern era. A former professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. Dawkin’s main contributions in science have been spreading genic selection and inclusive fitness. He has remained a frontline fighter for atheists worldwide and has launched campaigns against the twisted ideologies of religion in the U.K.

Genic Selection – the process by which certain traits become more prevalent in a species than other characteristics.

Inclusive Fitness – The ability of an individual organism to pass on its genes to the next generation, taking into account the shared genes passed on by the organism’s close relatives.

             

Stephen Hawking (1942 – 2018)

“What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”

Stephen Hawking’s was considered by many as the smartest living man on the planet until his passing in 2018. He had Lou Gehrig’s disease and proved that an intelligent man could go further in this world than one who has the luxury of mobility. He wrote the book A Brief History In Time was a bestseller and changed how we understand the universe. Hawking’s main contribution in science was the Hawkings Radiation Mechanism. 

Hawkings Radiation Mechanism – A thermal radiation is predicted to be spontaneously emitted by black holes. It arises from the steady conversion of quantum vacuum fluctuations into pairs of particles, escaping at infinity while the other is trapped inside the black hole horizon.

 

Patricia Churchland (1943 – )

“Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.”

Patricia Churchland was born in Canada, and her contributions to neurophilosophy and the philosophy of mind are unparalleled. Churchland is a professor of Philosophy at the University of California and is also an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She is married to Paul Churchland, a philosopher and the couple promoters of eliminative materialism.

Eliminative materialism – The claim that people’s common-sense understanding of the mind is false and that certain classes of mental states that most people believe in do not exist. It is a materialist position in the philosophy of mind.

 

Christopher Hitchens (1949 – 2011)

“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”

Christopher Hitchens was an English intellectual, essayist, journalist, world-class debater, and a leader in the new era of atheists. He became famous through his comments on Mother Teresa stating, [she] was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.” He was the writer of many bestselling books and had a popular column in Slate magazineHe made numerous appearances on television and film and was fearless in his debates.

 

Peter Singer (1946 – )

“We have no need to postulate gods who hand down commandments to us because we understand ethics as a natural phenomenon.”

Peter Singer is considered one of the most controversial atheists and phiolosphers of the modern era. His stance that only sentient beings have moral value stirs a great amount of controversy amongst believers and atheists alike. Yet, the reason Singer made this list is he forces people to listen to his views through powerful debate and original thought. Although I do not agree with some of Singer’s ideas, I appreciate that he speaks his mind and is always open to debate. Just because an idea or opinion makes us feel uncomfortable does not mean it is not valid – until proven otherwise.