Monday, April 28, 2008

Sweet Calico Goat and Orphan Works Act

This sweet animal has a beautiful calico coat and an engaging and unwavering gaze. My sense of awe and reverence for animals grows, as their soulfulness and apparent ability to feel and even think, become more evident to me.

If you've seen the video that's been going around the Internet, of an elephant painting his self-portrait, no doubt you have felt the same exhilaration that I did, when contemplating how this giant mammal seemed to "think" about the accurate placement of each brush stroke. Even if he was prompted by his trainer, by touch or visual prompts, his behavior is still deliberate in a way we humans have not historically attributed to animals.

I posted the video of the elephant painting his self-portrait in my last post so you can watch it, if you haven't already seen it. It stands apart from the other videos we have seen, in which elephants "paint" to music. In the other videos, the elephants seem to be enjoying themselves but the viewer is not sure whether there is much volition or deliberation behind the seemingly random and free movements.

I think we all have enjoyed many of those inter-species, "love-and-relating" email forwards, as well. The bottom line is that we all want and need love, and it's sometimes easier to find animal behaviors to stand in awe of and applaud, than it is to find laudable human behaviors. Predators in the animal kingdom hunt and kill to survive, just as we take animal life, as part of the food chain. But lacking our level of critical thinking, they don't have all those nasty defense mechanisms that are borne of our human propensity for self-doubt. In my opinion, our self-doubt projected outward leads to a lot of unnecessary tangles and confrontations for many people. Imagine the time and resources we waste being angry at strangers. We may sneer behind their backs or scold them either tactfully or rudely, or we may walk away silently, puzzled by a suspect behavior that we disapprove of, yet vesting our energy in it.

Yesterday while driving on a busy secondary highway coming home from an art show, I signaled to move from the left to the right lane, to exit onto another parkway. The guy behind me not only sped up so I couldn't move over, but he flipped me the bird as he passed me. I was astounded at his random act of free-floating hostility. I'm glad I'm not that angry!

Animals vie with each other for supremacy, but in a more direct way: for physical dominance of habitat or available territories, or for the attentions of a fertile mate. Yet we humans vie with each other on so many more levels and with so much more at stake. What's at stake as a result of the culmination of competing human behaviors is nothing less than the survival of Earth and all her inhabitants!

I think it would be a good idea for us to ponder the interactions of animals and begin to evaluate our institutions and behaviors from a survival standpoint. I've seen squirrels, robins, blue jays, and a baby rabbit, all occupying the same meagre footage of my back yard, all foraging for food while ignoring the others who are doing the same thing in their own way. They are different species, living a peaceful co-existence. Their truth may be "to eat or be eaten," but they are not tied to status issues, political correctness, or supremacy issues. They don't vie over ideologies. Maybe they are lucky, to be at a "lower" level of intuitive and intellectual functioning. As for peaceful coexistence, maybe we humans can do a better job of using our intuition and intellect in more constructive ways.


Some of the members of Worldwide Women Artists Online, of which I'm a member, have brought the Orphan Works Act to trhe group's attention. As I understand it, this act was defeated in Congress several years ago, but is currently under consideration again. If passed, this law would drastically reduce your control over your ownership of your creative works, especially images posted on the Internet. I'm not an expert on it, nor on legalese, but I've read enough to know that the outcome of this proposed law is very important to artists and photographers, as well as writers.

Here's a link to a site where you can sign a petition against it. Why not sign and pass it on? This is so important to all of us!!!

And here's a link to artist Walter King's blog on the Absolute Arts site, where he cites letters from other sources, on the subject.

Let's make our voices heard. We should all blog about it, too, or we'll become just another casualty of corporate greed!!! (If you want more information on the bill, just Google "Orphan Works Act," as I did, and numerous sources of information will pop up. Spend ten minutes reading, and be your own judge!)

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Add to Technorati Favorites


  1. Love the stunning header and good to catch up on recent posts. Have recently moved to WordPress, they have a number of attractive features which make blogging easier to manage for me - it is a different ball game to blogger, though.

    Look forward to seeing you if call in, or follow my links.

  2. Love is indeed the most searched after and most valued emotion - for every being on this planet. Beautiful post, Lynda.

  3. Hi, nice header you have here.
    Loved to see your blog and found very interesting this post.
    Thanks for your visit.
    If you liked my blog, please come back; if you didn´t like it, just tell me! :)

  4. Hi Lynda,
    I wanted to comment on the human interaction thing. There are those (namely evolutionary biologists) who hypothesize that indeed everything we do boils down to survival of the species and the need to produce offspring and gain resources to support those offspring and gain resources to attract more mates, etc. You may find the book Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters a fascinating read. I know I did. I was shocked and a little angry when I first began reading the book, but as I read further, it began to make a lot of sense. Why do we actually believe that we are that different from the other animals that inhabit this earth, just because we can read and write and speak? If you do read it, I'd be curious to know how it affects you.
    Debi McSwain

  5. Cute pic Lynda, great post, you have a way with words, signed the petition, thanks for the heads up.

  6. JULIE - Nice to hear from you. I find Blogger easier, but maybe that's because I started with it first. I'll be over to see your new site soon.

    KATHY - Thank you! Too bad so many people express their need for love or attention in devious and destructive ways!

  7. QUINTARANTINO - I liked your blog and will come back! I'm glad you like my header.

    DEBI - I haven't read that book, so I'll add it to my rather LONG reading list. I will certainly let you know what I think, if I read it! It's just our arrogance that makes us feel we are above the rest of nature. Yet it's the very same arrogance, born of our "superior" intellect, that may be our undoing. Our arrogance separates us from nature and the heart of life. :(

    BOB - I'm so glad you signed the petition! Imagine if your photos and GIFS were freely grabbed by everyone who visits your page!

  8. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, sounds like a worthy cause.

    I love that photo...such expression in his little face!

  9. Hi Lynda, great post! Thanks for the information and the links. I'll definitely check them out tomorrow when I'm a little more awake!

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this post and your words of wisdom Lynda. I feel the same when I see a heavily branched tree, each one doing its own thing and never interfering or in the way of another, each growing its leaves in harmony.
    I saw a post about Orphan Works somewhere else and read up on it. It seems no matter which way you slice it the artist comes out with the smallest piece if this ever becomes law. The fact he could lose claim to his own works is a very scary thought. Thanks for bringing it up again.

  11. Hi Lynda What a beautiful blog you got here and an insightful reflection
    about animals and people. Yes the games people play They are quite complicated creatures and often to protect the ego, people engage in blaming games etc. That's why it is important to create awareness.Once aware people can focus on the good side of being human. SO thanks for this post.
    Thanks for visiting me.

  12. Thank you for visiting my post about the ferret who came to visit me:)

    The colour of the irises in your header is mesmerising. As an artist (one of my blogs is about my artwork) I drool over colour and texture :)

    I relate to your post about animals as I am an animal lover with one cat of our own and three strays I look after who choose to live in our barn...though their real owner lives nearby. I pay vet bills when they are maimed, as they come to me with their bitten legs and paws, and look at me with sad eyes and mew in pain. I know their owner would never take them to a vet...and these sweet innocent creatures know that too. But the unconditional love they give me is MORE THAN cupboard love :)

    Would you like to come and see my main blog where I write the story of our garden and the wildlife which visits and lives there? Her is the link...

  13. What a darling photo and great post, Lynda. Animals do have such great personalites. :D

    Thanks for the link. I'm heading over to check it out.

    Hugs, JJ

  14. cute goat and very interesting post

  15. I really loved your blog, the colors, images and your words. Great to discover you.
    As for the elephant video, I saw it earlier. That elephant certainly paints better than me :)

  16. lovely photo Lynda...
    and an excellent post...
    I will check out the petition ..

  17. Hi Lynda,'s so good to visit again. Wow so much to comment on.

    First I too am overwhlmed at your beautiful header.

    But, even more I was touched by your wonderful piece of writing. I too believe that we could all learn a great many leesons from the our animal family.

    I have been pondering a post for a day or two now concerning why we humans simply cannot learn to live in harmony with everyone and everything around us. But, as of yet the words have not come.

    Last but not least, I too think blogger is easier but it is because I started with blogger. Wordpress sends me raving everytime I attempt to design on it.

    However, I also know that many blogs on Wordpress have options that I wish blogger offered.

    It was so very very good to hear from you!!

  18. That goat is adorable. Regarding all of the different animals foraging in the same place...I was thinking the same thing as I look out my window onto my front yard. There were 3 bunnies, quail, crows and a road runner all foraging for their favorite foods. I was totally amazed. Now off to look at those sites regarding artwork and legislation.

  19. Hi Lynda,
    Animals live in the moment, a skill I am constantly trying to emulate.
    Thanks for the visit.

  20. We could learn much from animals, yes. Too often I'm horribly ashamed to be human. <:(

  21. DROWSEY MONKEY - Yes, he's a cute little guy. Speaking of "losing it," I've done worse today than put on mis-matched shoes or socks. It seems I've lost one of my LINKS LISTS from my page. I'll have to do it over! Losing it, losing

    SANDPIPER - I hope everybody looks into this ASAP, because I heard it's coming up for a vote THIS WEEK! :)

  22. JANICE - HI! Yes, this seems to be unconscionable. I've had instances where people took my photos for their blogs, without permission, and I only discovered it through Google. In one instance, she did have attribution, but it was nowhere near the image. Therefore anybody else coming along, seeing no copyright on these images, could think it's okay to use them, or even sell them. I hope a lot of people make their voices heard on this, or we will all suffer. It's hard enough for artists to make money, already!

  23. MARJA - It was my pleasure to visit!

    Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad my post held some level of meaning for you. Yes, awareness allows us to transcend our more base emotions/reactions! We all have them, but we also have the capacity to manage them. :)

  24. WILDLIFE GARDENER - You are a kind and empathic soul to look after those cats.

    I think I have been to your blog before, many months ago, but I'll be over again to visit!

    Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

  25. JJ - Good to see you! I'm glad you're going to check it out. The vote is coming up this week, I hear, so time is short!

    JEYA - Love and food and lots of paints! And a camera, of course! And chocolate...

    Seriously, if only we had peace in the world--that would be the supreme blessing.

    Thanks for coming by!

  26. EVLAHOS - Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    ARIA - You probably paint better than you think you do! At any rate, I was impressed by how the elephant seems so deliberate in his movements. It's hard to believe. I hope he not abused in being trained to do this! (As Lana pointed out might be the case.)

    KIM - It's great to see you! I miss your friendly smile and presence when too many days go by and you're not posting and commenting. Cheers and have a great day!

  27. SHINADE - You don't know how good it is to see you. I was saddened by your absense and didn't know how to reach you to see if everything was okay. And I missed your warmth and wisdom.

    Now that you're back, I'll be happy to be in touch again!


  28. WATERROSE - Sounds like you have a more varied and interesting menagerie foraging in your yard than I have here! Wow, a roadrunner!

    If humans communicated more, I bet we'd find out we were thinking about a LOT of the same things, a lot of the time!

    GOATMAN - Sadly, we spend so much of our lives preparing for the future, to the degree that the future never comes! We're too busy obsessing over choices and responsibilities, to enjoy ourselves!

    We are taught that if we do the right things, we'll succeed, be happy, be safe, etc. In reality, there are no guarantees. So I hope you and everyone else I know, including me, can learn to enjoy the moment, as well as plan for the future!

  29. LANA - I know exactly how you feel! Sometimes it's overwhelming to cope with the horrors that human beings create for each other.

    Particularly corrupt corporations and governments....

  30. I love the peaceful co~existence of the animals in my backyard also! I go out and sit on the swing often just to watch them...what a joyous communion!
    Thanks for sharing your wonder~full insights!

  31. Lynda:

    Right on about the animals, and your characterization of us humans. We're going to destroy the world right out from under ourselves of we don wise up. I saw a program the other evening on TV about something they call Global Dimming. Now we're doomed if we clean up the environment, and we're doomed if we don't clean it up.

    I support tight controls over an artist's works.That includs photography and writing.

  32. Such a thoughtful post and I feel as you do. I also wonder at some people's floating hostility and pity them really. Oh, I know I have heard this tiresome phrase so many times, "good guys come last" and it's rubbish.

    Thanks for the info on the orphan works.

  33. ROBIN - Thanks for stopping and commenting. I saw on your profile that you are from PA. I grew up in the Lehigh Valley area! I miss the farmlands, the hills and rolling fields of my old state, but I guess that now a lot of strip malls and developments have replaced the open land. :(

  34. SWUBIRD - The more things go on the way they are, the more I think we ARE doomed, no matter what. All the governments and institutions are so big and everyone is on information- overload, while the truth remains hard to distill through all the chaff. I choose to go on, looking for the positive, but it's getting harder and harder to find. Maybe if I wish hard enough, I can become that little rabbit who peacefully grazes in my backyard, oblivious to social injustice, the spoiling of the evironment, and corporate greed.

    Thank for coming over, Swubird! I hope I didn't depress you...

  35. JAFABRIT - The vote is this week, so I hope a lot of us will have signed the petition!

    I know what you mean. I pity hostile people, too. It's as if they feel SO bad about themselves and their lives that they are reduced to this kind of rabid reactiveness, and always giving in to the basest part of their personalities. I would hate to see what their egoes look like....

    Have a great day, my friend, and thanks for stopping over!

  36. Hi thanks for your visit.


  37. I have signed the petition, it is only right that the owner says who uses their material.
    Love the flower photos.

    the ramblers

  38. Found you through Marja. What a great cause. I'll look into it. THanks for sharing.

  39. You have some wonderful pictures here Lynda. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    I have a rather scruffy ginger plant which is flowering for a second year. It is suposed to be rather unusual for Dorset England!

    I will post it up for you shortly with some very special apple blossom.

    best wishes from Dorset.

  40. You are a lovely person, so stopping over is always a delight.

  41. SANDY - You're welcome! See you again!

    DUXBURY RAMBLERS - Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you signed the petition! I read something yesterday that said this law would not be as drastic as is being projected, but who knows whom to believe?

  42. BILLY & ROBERT - Thanks for stopping by! Robert, I'd love to see the photos! The only 'special' thing I have growing here is an exotic array of weeds!

  43. JAFABRIT - Back at'cha, my dear! :)

  44. oh I do so love the look of your page. when my Cannas bloom I may give a go with my camera and see what I come up with.

    Keep your fingers crossed though...the last time I attemted a make over it was quite tedious and almost a complete disaster.

    Happy Sunday my friend,


I try to respond to comments whenever I can. I ALWAYS appreciate your visits and friendship, and I will reciprocate with visits to your site. Thanks for sharing parts of your blogging journey with me. I value each and every one of you.

NOTE: Please, no more memes, schemes, or awards. They're fun and they may help us to know each other better, but I'd rather spend the time reading your posts and having you READ mine!

Happy blogging!

Buy My Art!

My most popular images for sale at Shutterstock:

Comical and Endearing Bird Ritual....