Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #22, Odilon an artist for your inspiration

Dear haijin, visitors and travelers,

A new week has started already and it's time for a new episode of our Ghost Writer feature. This week I have a nice GW-post written by Jen of Blog It Or Lose It and this time she writes about Odilon, a painter. She writes in her post the following "Sometimes when I am feeling low on inspiration, I look to the art world for help". So Odilon can be inspirational ... we will see.
I think we all have once lack of inspiration. I do sometimes have lack of inspiration. To become inspired I am listening to music or I am going to read ... and most times than the inspiration will come back ... and of course my daily life, as a dad, granddad, husband, son, son in law, nurse and colleague can also be a source for inspiration. What are you doing to become inspired when you don't have inspiration?


Odilon for your inspiration

Sometimes when I am feeling low on inspiration, I look to the art world for help.  It’s fun – and challenging –to unleash the muses and let them crawl around inside a particular painting.  Together we examine a piece of artwork with all of our senses and then wait for that poetic “flash of lightning” to strike.   And it usually does strike because we’re forced to look at something in a totally different manner. 
Odilon Redon (1840-1916) is one of my favorite artists, and I think he might work well for this prompt.  He was a French symbolist painter and draughtsman who said of his own work, “My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined.” As such, I don’t think he’ll mind if we use his artwork to generate haiku-moments and impressions.
Take a moment, then, and crawl inside this painting (Flower Clouds, 1903). 

Odilon Flower Clouds 
What does the wind feel like on your skin, in your hair?  Can you smell the salt water, or hear waves lapping at the boat?  Is the boat bobbing gently, rocking two lovers?  Or are they lost on a nearly-motionless sea, worrying about an ominous red dawn?  Do their mouths taste bitter from thirst?  Are you a fish swimming alongside the boat, or a gull disappearing into the clouds?  Or – are you the clouds themselves – and how do you relate to the water or the people in the boat?

Here is my attempt at some Redon-inspired haiku:

chrysanthemum clouds
wilting on a glassy lake –  
cascading petals 

salt and silence – 
no wind in the silent sails
or the orange clouds 

© Jen

Keep in mind – this isn’t necessarily an exercise in writing about one painting, and one painting alone.  [But if you choose to do so, that’s wonderful! It just makes your poem a haiga, not a haiku.]  I’m just asking you to let the painting inspire your haiku in which you capture an imagined instant in time.  (Remember that Buson’s “Spring Water” is an imagined instant in time.) 
Offer the painting as a drink of cool water for your parched muses – and above all, have fun!


Well ... did you like this GW-post? And did it inspire you to write haiku? I think so ... thank you Jen for sharing this wonderful GW-post with us all here at our Haiku Kai. I haven't written yet a haiku inspired on this GW-post, but I will do for sure ... be patient.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until August 22nd at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode, wall, later on. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us.


  1. What a wonderful post! I'd missed out not knowing anything about this artist. The painting here really tickles my muse ... I love sailing and this is so full of oneiric symbolism ... I feel like I'm walking in the world of dreams already!

    sailing through darkness
    a sudden outburst of light

    1. So much of Odilon Redon's work seems to hit at the level of dreams and the subconscious - I think he'd have liked your haiku (as do I).

    2. A great post Jen ... I'm definately going to look for more of this artist! Glad you liked the ku! :-)

  2. Thanks for the great painting and for introducing the artist. I love art, but haven't encountered this artist before. I also find inspiration in art, especially Edward Hopper. I don't know why people find his painting depressing. I don't.

    1. So glad you liked it! :)
      Hopper is wonderful, and I think he and Redon both reflect whatever emotions you bring with you.

  3. What a great prompt, Kristjaan and you have chosen,yet again, an amaing and oh so inspirational ghost writer. Jen, thank you for walking us through this imagery...you give us so many options. Cheryl-Lynn

    1. I'm very happy that you liked the exercise, Cheryl-Lynn :)
      And -- thank you, Kristjaan, for giving me another opportunity to help everyone.

  4. Lure of a sunset
    Merging to golden essence
    Two lovers one sigh

  5. Like and inspired.

  6. I really liked this post, it is quite inspiring, I could feel the warm summer wind on my face. Thanks!