Artists of Yore, #Paint Chip Poetry, #Ubi sunt

Where are the artists now of yore,

Talent oozing from ev’ry pore,

Who made out of Scripture’s pages,

Art that lasted through the ages?

With great skill and brushes of gold,

In manuscripts rare and now old,

they worked out illumination,

which now with much rumination,

we wonder in awe at their craft,

Studying letters’ fore and aft.

Anonymous Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Where now are the Renaissance men,

Like Leonardo was back then?

Even his sketches in graphite

Are an extraordinary sight.

Now, his drawings of his machines,

his Vitruvian Man long and lean,

Are kept under glass for our view,

Preserved in peachy sepia hues.

They then continue to amaze,

All those who upon them will gaze.

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

Leonardo da Vinci, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This was written for Linda Kruschke’s Paint Chip Poetry challenge, where we were challenged to write an ubi sunt poem featuring three of the paint chip words. A few of these words like “octopus” were a bit strange this time, but the words “illumination” and “graphite” immediately struck me as having artistic applications. I thought I could work “peachy” in there too.

Below is a paragraph taken from Linda’s page, which she took from John Drury’s poetry dictionary on the ubi sunt poetry form.

UBI SUNT (uh’-suhnt’, “uh” pronounced as in “put”; Latin, “where are”) Poetic theme in which the poet asks “where are” certain people, where have they gone. The theme began in Medieval Latin, with the formula ubi sunt used to introduce a roll call of the dead or missing and to suggest how transitory life is.

The best-known ubi sunt poem [is] François Villon’s ballade whose refrain is “But where are the snows of yester-year?”

Art From Unusual Materials

Recycled materials such as cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, bicycle gears, coins and others can be transformed into beautiful art in the hands of a talented artist. These materials receive new life as the artist sees old things in new ways, full of potential.

Artwork by Erika Iris Simmons

Here is a portrait of Michael Jackson made with recycled cassette tape. I’m not sure how I feel about the man after reports of his child abuse, but I have to admit that the portrait is very clever. The tape, of course, seems fitting for a musician, and it also seems to work perfectly for Jackson’s coiffure. The artist, Erika Iris Simmons, has done similar portraits of several other musicians: The Beatles, Madonna, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, etc.

Artwork by Laura Harris

Artist Laura Harris made this creative mosaic with materials such as recycled bicycle gears. Her site lists some other materials she uses in mosaic work. “These fine art mosaic pieces are heirloom treasures created from rare, precious, hand-cut materials including: dichroic glass, 24kt gold smalti, porcelain gems, one-of-a-kind ceramic tiles, faceted mirrors, natural river stones and an array of antique metals and delicate objects.”

Artwork by Sean E. Avery

Australian artist, Sean E. Avery, creates animal sculptures like the hedgehog above from recycled CDs and DVDs. With their iridescent quality, the recycled discs really make for an interesting medium.

Artwork by Federico Uribe

This sculpture, by Federico Uribe, is made with coins. He created a variety of other female torsos from unusual materials such as pencils, bullets, dominoes, computer keys, electronic connections and even rubber lips. Of the examples I saw, this one is my favorite, partly because, unlike some of the others, this one has a head and seems less impersonal. Also, the coins worked perfectly both for the lady’s necklace and the rippled texture of her ruffly dress.

Artwork by Mary Ellen Crocteau

Artist Mary Ellen Crocteau created this amazing eye with recycled bottle caps. She even created her own accurate self portrait using this same strange medium. Amazingly, she is able to collect and sort appropriate colors and use them to shade and create a realistic look.

Rollin’, Rollin’ Roland by Amy Flynn

You can find and purchase some unique robot sculptures by Amy Flynn on The artist is inspired by her love both of robots and flea markets. The sculpture above is called “Rollin’, Rollin’ Roland.” This is what the site says about this one: “Roland (and his pony) are found object robots made from authentic vintage parts, that may include candy and spice tins, Baby Brownie camera, party noisemaker, screen door bracket, toilet float, license plate, erector set wheels, wire brush, hose fittings, amp meter, telephone wire, folding skeleton key, candy molds, and a clock gear. Each one has (like the Tin Man) a metal heart inside.”

Jelly Belly portrait of Ronald Reagan from the Jelly Belly Co. Visitor Center

How about a portrait of Ronald Reagan made entirely from Jelly Belly jelly beans? The former president was openly a fan of the snack. This portrait can be found at the Jelly Belly Co. Visitor Center in Fairfield, California. I found the portrait on several sites but could not find information on the artist. It is, however, possibly Peter Rocha, who created a different portrait of the former president, with American flag in the background, all from Jelly Bellies.

Artwork by a co-op of Kenyan artisans

This colorful, mighty lion sculpture is made from recycled flip flops by a co-op of artisans in Kenya. Flip flops are rescued from filling up the landfills and given new purpose. You can purchase this or similar sculptures at

Artwork by Bernard Pras

French artist, Bernard Pras, created this amazing portrait of Einstein from assorted junk. His junk assemblages are only temporary, and the photograph of the arrangement is the only lasting artwork. Bras has also done portraits of other famous faces as well as reproductions of famous art like Botticelli’s Venus and Munch’s The Scream.

“Hot Dog” sculpture by Robert Bradford

Artist, Robert Bradford, creates sculptures from recycled plastic toys. The name of the piece above is “Hot Dog” and is created with plastic toys on a wooden armature. It’s interesting how the use of smaller toys on the back of the dog’s head seems to suggest tight curls of fur.

Did you enjoy these? Which of these was your favorite?

Tarantulas, Tea Pots and Tufted Titmice — Oh My!

Assorted Interesting Things, Creativity Link Roundup, from WordPress and the Internet

Art, Photography and the Written Word

Photo by Henry Becerra on Unsplash

I thought the photo above was fitting for this post, because you know what Forrest Gump says, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” What do tarantulas and tea pot pinatas have in common? Not much — other than things Susan reads on the Internet. Enjoy this interesting assortment, and I hope you make some new discoveries.

An artist friend, Christine Kerrick, wrote about her travel adventures in Mexico for Cinco de Mayo and showed off her painting of a Mexican red knee tarantula. She is, perhaps, the only woman I know with a fascination for tarantulas, particularly the colorful kind. (Sorry arachnophobes.) And, please, check out her art page. There is much more to her art than this particular example.

Jane Austen Runs My Life shared about her Jane Austen themed birthday party and gives the instructions for creating a tea pot pinata, which was filled with — what else? — tea bags and candy.

Donna at My One Beautiful Thing shares birdfeeder photography by Ostdrossel on Instagram. The photos are mostly birds, but she catches some other critters on camera as well, such as bunnies and squirrels.

Photo by Ostdrossel

Pam Webb, children’s writer and English teacher, shares my love of words and etymology. Read her post, Why We Say: From Villain to Windfall, to learn the origins of some common words and expressions.

Allison at A Farm Girl’s Life gives us a tour of her sketchbook. This beautiful farm scene with scattered bovines was one of my favorite spreads. You can find a little this and that on her site: sketches, photography or stories of farm life.

Photo and art by Allison of A Farm Girl’s Life. Makes me think of “All things bright and beautiful.”

Mitch Teemley, who describes himself as a writer, filmmaker, humorist and thinker-about-stuffer, writes some spiritual thoughts about the butterfly effect and repairing relationships.

Photo by Nathan Dunlao on Unsplash

Andrea R. Huelsenbeck of ARHtistic License shares an interesting formula for generating story ideas by selecting random story elements from different columns in a chart. It could be a fun creative writing exercise.

Danish travel blogger and photographer, Le Drake Noir, caught some amazing photos of a hare nursing her babies.

Photo by Le Drake Noir

Another artist friend, Jeffrey M. Green, shares his spiritual thoughts on race relations in God’s Color Palette in Human Design. Unlike many other things we hear these days, I trust his post promotes peace and harmony. Jeffrey is an absolutely amazing colored pencil artist. Below is his drawing, “Respect for Others.”