Friday, November 26, 2010

The R Factor. Art & Design

I suppose that something ought to be said about the naming of The R Factor. Art & Design in the way that it seems pretty random.

My name of course is a beginning point for The R Factor (Roberto Rivera) though it moves closer in from that (or more wider as the case may be).

At a point in time we each of us experience different levels of epiphanies and Realizations that move us away from something and towards something else, in another direction if you will. Sometimes that involves a clearing out of old stuff before the new things can have a solid could be called a Renovation or Reestablishment of some basic ground that allows us a new beginning. Kind of like cleaning a closet or renovating a space, the old needs to go so that the Replacement of the new can be Realized.

In many ways the preface of "Re-" signifies that Re-adjustment of attitude or Re-entry of a space, leaving us new starts and new beginning points from which we can Remove the old substance and Reconnect with the grounding Principals of new Points.

How fun is that.

I moved my blogsite to:

I appreciate your comments!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rembrandt: A Time of Refinement

The word refinement sometimes has a sense of something stuffy, chilly, or too delicate to touch, and yet in the world of design, refinement relates to that part of designing that brings things to a point of moving towards a better understanding and completing a clearer picture. 

In essence it is the act of taking a sketch or an outline of an idea and refining it to bring it to a different level of completeness and quality by allowing the parts that were nebulous to be clarified. This act of refining is an interesting point for as we know there are many ways that “things” can be filled in! As had been said, “How creative do we want to get?”

Yet even as Michelangelo seemingly alluded to by his thoughts of “allowing the form within to come out” (“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free” Michelangelo )( see my earlier blog on Michelangelo), there would seem to be a pattern of fulfillment in design that comes by means without the struggle and without the fighting, almost as if it just begins to appear!

Many times we think that this place of non-struggle is a place that one gets to when one has been filled with all the knowledge of the masters and teachers, and that being filled, now one can create with the ease of say, Rembrandt!

Rembrandt Vin Rijn was born in 1606 at a time in history known as the Renaissance Era,  a point of the beginning awakening of certain ones from a darker period of time, that also included such prior masters of design and creative endeavors as Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Rembrandt it is told was 14 years of age by the time he started studying art and painting, moving into apprenticeships with the teachers of his era. By the time he was in his early twenties he had surpassed his teachers in his ability and skill with the deftness of his touches to the canvas, and actually began accepting students to teach.

Was this just another anomaly of talent that far outweighed his teachers in the Netherlands? Was this one that like the Great Ones before him, had been blessed by the Gods to excel before the throne of the accomplishments of mankind? Was he, as is sometimes stated, a self-made man?

Or perhaps as it might have been, that Rembrandt was given by his teachers and the ones before him, a sense of an outline, a sketch of a design, from which he chose to allow the refinement of a greater design to fill in the space!

If that was the case, then it would have taken a choice on his part and an effort to execute…not in a struggling kind of way, but mayhaps in way of seeing and hearing something that was not commonly known, but given to him to interpret individually. That something is always challenged by the world standards as we each of us has experienced in our own lives. We may never know for sure if that is what he heard, yet nature has a way of giving and receiving that comes from the core of things, and for each individual that would mean something personal and different, though always in relation to a part of a greater design. A little too wild?  Hmmm.

Rembrandt’s life was filled with challenges that were pretty large as compared to most. Three of his 4 children died in infancy, and soon after his wife died.  After a time he finally married again, only to lose his second wife to an early death, and still later, his son who passed away before him. By the end of his life, he had filed for bankruptcy and had lost most all of his material wealth. He died by 1669 at the age of 63.

Rembrandt is known to have been a prodigious painter and artist. Of the 2300 works that are assigned to his hands at this point, 600 are paintings, 300 are etchings, and 1400 are drawings. He also taught other artists all his life.

This was seemingly a man who moved with a larger sense of purpose than what the world wanted to give to him. He allowed his life to be filled in, not by the world’s standards, but in a way of hearing and seeing his talents reach their own level of fulfillment, in a sense, allowing that space to be refined from within, clearly bringing his sense of purpose closer to the reality of his capacity to create.

If we begin to hear and see that each of us have that same opportunity, then is there some way that we can we begin to recognize the sketches of our own lives and times? How could we begin to allow the fulfillment of our own levels of accomplishment, not by what the world thinks we need to do, but by allowing the same essence of Nature that the Great Ones did, from the very Source of our core? 

Wouldn’t that be the point of what we are here to do?

Your comments are appreciated! Stay tuned!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Roll Over Galileo

Ok, I have got to ask, in the interest of a larger view of design that we all relate to:

Does the Sun rotate around the Earth or the Earth around the Sun?

Wait now….

Before you decide to answer this basic and simple question, we need to step into our own range of perspective…that is, what we know for a fact and not what we imagine nor what we have just been told.  Something that we know is something that one can feel from the inside, from the core so to speak. Would this not be a way of taking an inventory of what we really know and those things that we just subscribe to?  This might just be another way of understanding what perspective means.

If we move beyond the lip service of what we have been told and what we experience on Earth, the actuality of the experience feels at odds with the teaching does it not? Do we in fact experience that or do we feel that we are the center of the universe?

This interesting question has well over a span of 2000 years bothered mankind.  Why? In one sense we might say because of our adherence to the thought that those common occurrences that are seemingly predictable to some extent are taken for granted and thus are relegated to the unimportant in our lives. What we want is to really be stirred up by something uncommon! That is what brings the juices to the centering of our lives!

What if the Sun were to rise and fall in an unpredictable way, that is appear for 4 hours then rotate out of sight, and the following day be visible for 10 hours, then something else happened that it did not show for 3 days…do we think we would be interested in what was happening out there?

What would happen without the Sun's light? Hmmm.

So just saying this daily phenomena was really on the Greeks mind before 300 BC  and documented by the words and writing of one we knew as Aristarchus of Samos in around 200 B.C. whose theory of a heliocentric universe was downtrodden by those about him as being impious and not having common sense.

As the thread of this truth was not ready to be accepted by the scholars of the day, it followed a path of obscurity until Copernicus revived the thought in the 1500’s. It would seem also that Copernicus understood that these theories would not be accepted by his colleagues and community, so it is supposed that he did not publish his findings until close to his time of death.

It took until Galileo’s time for his willingness to perceive that the idea of a heliocentric solar system was within his range of perspective to profess.  How great was that for the world as a whole? 

And of course they convicted him of heresy and imprisoned him to house arrest to the rest of his life!

Is there any wonder why as a group of people living during anytime in history, we don’t want to use our individual creative perspective?

The world has a way of not responding to the real use of creative thought because it feels threatened and challenged by those things that shake the foundational assumptions with which it operates!

Yet we have the innate ability to really use creative thought each one of us individually!

What would the world look like if we chose to not just pay lip service to that thought but in fact utilized it to the fullness of the capability of each our own perspective? (Remember that perspective has to do with the interrelatedness of the facts and not the supposed accepted theories of the day).

Stay tuned! Maybe we may not be put in jail, but if we were, would that change the real truth of things or just try and hide it for the next generation to deal with?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Interrelatedness of Albert Einstein

Well so far we have begun an interesting start into how design, though various great ones on this planet seemingly initiated and translated their inspirations into form, and our first foray of thoughts with Michelangelo, whose understanding was based on allowing something from the inside to be revealed knowing that what is true of design is already there.  

We have only to have the willingness to hear, see it, and allow it to come into form. 

And Leonardo Da Vinci whose attitude and posture, we sense had a range of perspective that spanned a larger scope of territory than the world had and has seen in a long time because of his willingness to let go of whatever were the limiting aspects of his imagination and those around him in his time and day on Earth.

A point of interest is that actually these two great people were in fact compatriots and artists of legend in Italy and at some point rubbed shoulders with each the other.

This of course brings up another point about which we are also fascinated with, and that is a point about the anomaly of certain human beings and their creative accomplishments.  Is it true that they were alone in their discoveries, set far apart from humanity encased in some kind of glass cocoon that was especially designed for them? 

It comes to mind that when we think of great artists and people we generally think that they were solo in their achievements, and to some degree that makes so much sense. 

If we mention the name Albert Einstein, for instance, mostly the first thoughts that come to mind is that he was a genius,  a mathematician, an anomaly. Though history tells us that during Einstein’s time he was surrounded by like minded people who were interested in solving certain issues regarding the very things that he is famous for! He touched bases with those ones who were wonderfully gifted and had insights to many issues that were pressing.  But it did take Einstein his specific effort to hear and see what others did not. A way of looking at the facts clearly through his specific lens of understanding. That was his responsibility.

The fact that each artist needs to allow the expression of an idea or thought to be translated into something tangible is of course truly a one person job.  Yet to say that Michelangelo would have created the masterpiece “David" in any other time in history would be a statement that would bring a lot of doubt of validity.  That specific time was specific as the “factors” of the time really helped to engender his understanding for his area of accomplishment then.

Could we say that each great artist was (is!) living during a period of time where other touch points known as friends, family, compatriots or some strong connections were or are in agreement with them to move beyond the concepts and ideas of the time? And who would be responsible for the translation of such creativity? 

Where does creativity begin? And who would be responsible for the translation of such creativity?

Stay tuned! Let’s see what can be further discovered! Let me know what you think!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Leonardo Da Vinci: Design Maven part 2

Perspective, as we have discovered, seems to include and exude an essence of allowing the sense of the facts or truth to be evident in our lives. As we are willing to look at the facts of something, then in a sense things are not personal because facts do not center in personal opinions or concepts or ideas, facts are well, facts…interesting. 

A book is a book, a desk is a desk, etc., these are facts that let us see without it being personal. When we include the fact that the book was handed down from our mother and that it was written by her mother then one could possibly have an attachment to that so that now the value of this book has changed in our mind and in fact our heart!

What the description here is alluding to is that by looking deeper into those ordinary things in our daily lives we seem to begin to realize that there are elements that actually shift the way we see things. It is of course what makes life interesting because as our ideas and concepts change so do the things around us! If we are happy guess what? If we are sad, guess what?

So Leonardo, I sense, had a perspective on his work and his life in a way that he was extremely interested and had a passion to discover how things were put together, in essence how was life formed, and in his search he was willing and needed to forego a lot of what was the conceptual and abiding ideas of the time.  Most of which ideas were promulgated by the church and its views at the time, and more than likely because it desired the influence over people’s lives so that it could build an empire of its own making.

Hmmm. This sounds a bit like today’s world! So, how is it that we can begin to see more clearly, or in other terms, to begin to put together the interrelated elements that are working at this time so that the answers to certain questions can come for us to solve our design questions, or in fact our life questions if we want to move in that direction?

What questions did Leonardo want to find answers to? What questions do we want to find answers to?

Stay tuned, I do believe that we are still attempting to discover something more about design!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Luring of Leonardo Da Vinci: ADHD Syndrome or Design Maven?

One of the things about Leonard DaVinci was that while he was a great painter, he was also an architect, a civil engineer, an astrologer, geologist, zoologist, an evolutionary biologist and a paleontologist just to name a few of his many talents! (

How could one person move so fluidly between so many genres of Design?
What did he know that we do not? Or was he just an anomaly, a forerunner of the first marks of an ADHD, taken in with this or that muse and n’er completing a one?

By today’s standards, here was a candidate for the label known as ADHD or Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  His forays into the unknown were vast and quick, with little time for what we might call a full thesis today...and well OK, according to the real definition of ADHD he would not fit the overall description, but he did leave in his short lifespan of 67 years a lot of unfinished work. Wonder why!

What are the connecting factors that allow someone to not just study a group of intensely deep and complicated subjects but come to a point of discovering, as in some cases, what would not be able to be understood for several hundreds of years? Do we yet understand the implications of what he brought to the world?

This was a gifted and talented man who seemingly had to center on something more than just one aspect of design. One could reasonably gather that his motivation was to discover something more about the Design of the Whole in his passionate pursuit in lieu of being entertained by just a slice of it.

Sometimes in the seeking of an answer we come to a realization of a method of questioning, an approach you might say that begins to serve us in how to uncover a particular truth about something.

One idea is that with a certain amount of perspective one can begin to see certain things a bit more clearly, as when, after a certain point in time, we might realize something that we said set the seed for another event or a sequence of events. We can look back in our lives and  relate, how because we took one step, other steps followed.

I took the opportunity to look up perspective in the dictionary, and it has a number of definitions, but two of which that pertain to our interest in this discussion are:

A: the state of one's ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship: You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.

B. the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship: Your data is admirably detailed but it lacks perspective.

The state of one’s ideas and the facts known to one brings to mind a sense of centering on what one actually knows, not one’s opinion of something, or what another one thinks but the taking of an inventory of what is known to one. Facts are another way of thinking about truth not imagination.

How helpful would it be to have the ability to see relevant data in a meaningful relationship if we were to study any genre of design? This sounds to me like it would be a useful tool!

Interesting to note here is that sometimes we think that experience gives us perspective and sometimes one could say that is true, though it is not necessary to have gained experience to have a perspective. By definition it is the faculty or ability to see, to have a vista, the basis of which is in fact independent of experience.

Wow, I wonder what Leonardo’s perspective would be of today’s world?  Stay tuned!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Touching On Design with Michelangelo

From our first part of our design thoughts with Michelangelo, we surmised that a specific core in Nature would produce a unique answer, yet are we to believe that Michelangelo could only produce a singular piece of artwork out of a unique set of conditions that can be described as a piece of marble, albeit a large piece of marble?

I think not!  Why? Because unlike a blade of grass we have the capacity to create an unlimited number of possible answers to a set of conditions.  Yet as Michelangelo approached his situation in a listening stance his design ideas were either confirmed or in fact refuted by his medium…Do we believe that Michelangelo saw all the details of his sculptures and all the process with which he would need to participate in before he started? How could anyone know all the future steps that one will have to take to complete a project? But without studying and realizing a beginning plan and taking the first step the movement towards a creative solution cannot take place.

What are the chances that a chisel point broke off a piece of his intended design as he initiated what he believed was the direction of the flow of material and was not?  Are we believing that what Michelangelo produced in marble, were his first design thoughts, or did they shift as needed in the discovery of what worked out…?

More than likely, he “tested the waters” as he moved into the space towards the form in the marble that by the way, was also moving simultaneously towards him…

 “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”.

Hmmm. Were those the words of someone who was storming towards a destination with only one solution in mind, focused only on his accomplishment?  Really?

Again he said,

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free”.

What if we started using our “tools of design” in a way that melded with the energy that was already beginning to form!  Is this a novel idea? Gee, no. But it is one that Michelangelo used! 

As we gather around our beautiful “piece of marble” if we begin to take a listening stance, mayhaps we can hear and see the evidence of something wanting to come into form…our clients way of living, their sense of what they would like to have in design, the building structure itself, the pattern and direction of the rising sun...(cosmic factors?@*!)

To give an ear without thinking that we would have immediate design solutions, but more about being present to listen to what we might just term as factors. In this way we might examine as Michelangelo no doubt did, to see what directions the veins in the marble run so that when we pick up our tools we can start to chip in the right direction!

Stay tuned! I am beginning to wonder if we are on to something! What do you think?