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Collage’s Declination

– Posted in: Aesthetics Collage & Montage Creativity Digital Art Digital Collage Inspiration Surrealism Wood Engravings Wordless Wednesday


Tilting, turning, veering, swerving, angling, leaning, bowing, diverging, deteriorating …

One thing takes on the spirit of declination always in relation to another, but always in separation from that Other: linked  but not bound to the Other.  And always headed away from the Other, always downward, in time, space, motion, or condition; except for the field of  force that invisibly wrinkles the map, and sets poised steel needles trembling and turning over the minuscule charts of compasses, roses blowing in magnetic winds.

Declination (2012). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)
54 Comments… add one

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54 comments… add one
Yummy Inspirations - Oreo Ice Cream January 24, 2012, 5:40 pm

Thanks for being inspiring as always!

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 12:04 am

And thank YOU for inspiring our appetites and for your comment!

Green Guy (linky) January 24, 2012, 6:29 pm

Happy WW

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 12:05 am

Thanks for visiting and commenting. And a happy WW to you also!`

Barefoot Mahala w/linky January 24, 2012, 7:19 pm

Happy WW

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 12:06 am

Thanks! Happy WW to you also!

Susie January 24, 2012, 10:34 pm

sometimes your WW are over my head LOL..but I enjoy them, they make me think

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 12:09 am

Don’t worry, Susie: sometimes they’re over my head as well! But I keep plugging away at understanding them. Thanks for visiting and commenting, and have a great WW!

princesscj haven January 25, 2012, 1:07 am

happy WW.. 🙂

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 2:02 pm

Thanks for visiting — Happy WW to you, too!

claire January 25, 2012, 2:11 am

Happy WW 🙂

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 2:03 pm

Thanks. Happy WW to you also.

Erika January 25, 2012, 4:05 am

Another thought provoking post, Eric – though I’m not entirely sure what this one means, LOL!

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 2:34 pm

Thanks, Erika! I’m not entirely certain about what it means, either. Generally, I’ll come across individual images that fascinate me, and I’ll begin combining them into collages, more or less guided by instinct.

So in this case, I came across several engravings about magnetic declination (from a textbook published a century ago) that intrigued me, and they became the center theme of this collage. I was tickled by the idea that we can’t entirely depend on compasses to be really sure of where we are on Earth.

(“Magnetic declination” is simply the idea that the Earth’s magnetic field is not perfectly aligned with the North and South poles; so at most points on the planet, the needle of a magnetic compass won’t point exactly to the direction of “true north” — the North Pole — but rather to the east or west.) The amount that the needle varies from true north and points to the east or west is its declination, and the map in the background of the collage is a chart of how declination varied at all points in the United States early in the 20th century. Since declination could throw off the accuracy of a compass for navigation, it was important to know how to correct for its effect during any travel. (Nowadays, we don’t care so much about declination because we use GPS, which is guided by satellites rather than compasses.)

But as with most words in our strange English language, there’s more than one meaning for any word, so I attempted in this case to explore very briefly in a prose-poem how the different definitions of declination were related. Declination always seems to be about connecting the position of one object (or condition) to another, but I noticed that all the definitions are always about one thing moving away from another in space or time, and usually downward.

So declination can also mean rejection of something, or bending downward, or deterioration. The multiple meanings of certain concepts and words provide points of departure (literally in this case!) for artistic imagination to speculate about. (That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!)

Laugh Quotes *Linky January 25, 2012, 5:59 am

Nice collage

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 2:36 pm

Thanks for your visit and your kind comment!

Olivia January 25, 2012, 7:26 am


Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 2:36 pm


BusyWorkingMama January 25, 2012, 7:51 am

I like it, especially the background color/pattern.

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 2:38 pm

Thanks! For me artistically, it’s all about the color and its variation, and how they’re combined in the collage.

momto8blog January 25, 2012, 9:33 am

all out thoughts matter!
I am your newest follower…pls follow back if you can.

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 2:42 pm

Thanks for your comment. Yes, I believe they do, too!

Searching 4 Simplicity January 25, 2012, 10:00 am

I have to agree with Susie LOL. I know there is something really big here, but I’m not grasping it yet with my feeble mind. Thanks so much for stopping by Searching For Simplicity. Ahh, maybe that’s my problem I’m searching for simplicity. That’s why I can’t grasp it yet LOL. I need to think deeper. Happy WW!

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 3:02 pm

Guilty as charged! Most things I post here (whether collage or writing) are more about subtlety than simplicity. And sometimes when one searches for subtlety, it’s like looking in a dark forest for something. So it’s no surprise when one gets lost in the thickets of the words, or tangled in the underbrush of the picture symbols, while searching for meaning.

I don’t think too hard about meaning while I create collages. I just work by instinct, and trust that I’ll be able to find a meaning after finishing it. But usually it turns out that the meaning is different for every person who looks at the collage.

My advice is: don’t worry about mentally figuring out a meaning for the collage. If the picture means something to you, let your instinct guide you to it. That’s a lot of what Surrealism is about.

Susi January 25, 2012, 10:18 am

Interesting. Happy WW. 🙂

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 3:02 pm

Thanks! Happy WW!

Theresa January 25, 2012, 10:45 am

Wow! I should have had a bit more caffeine before looking at this one lol. It’s fascinating!

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 3:03 pm

Uh-oh, I hope it doesn’t make you sleepy! LOL Thanks for stopping by and leaving your kind comment!

aquariann January 25, 2012, 10:55 am

Gazing at your collages always makes me feel like an intellectual, even if I don’t fully grasp them, either. Have a marvelous WW!!

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 3:16 pm

Thanks, Aquariann. As I’ve said elsewhere about this collage, I don’t worry too much about consciously understanding the meaning of a collage, even when I’m the one making it.

I believe that there are many things in the world that each one of us doesn’t consciously understand (that is: understand by deliberately thinking about such things), but that we understand instinctively. And often, it’s only when we try to focus on understanding certain things with the rational parts of our brains that we get confused or upset by not being able to understand them rationally.

But that’s just it: not everything in the world makes rational sense. Some things are mysterious, and from their mystery come poetry and the possibility of meaning different things to different people. That’s what I’m attempting to do with these collages; I make them while being guided by my instinct, and it’s only afterward that I begin to think about what they mean.

So I ask people to relax when looking at the collages (or reading my words), and not to worry so much about conscious, rational meanings for them, but rather to let their instinct tell them what the collages mean.

Verena January 25, 2012, 5:31 pm

Eric, this is a very nice and interesting collage!
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for linking up!
You always leave such nice comments! Thank you!

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 6:37 pm

Thanks for your visit and your kind words, Verena! It’s always a pleasure to leave positive comments on your blog posts, because you show such interesting and beautiful photos — thank you very much for them!

Subway Hats! January 25, 2012, 7:28 pm

reminds me of Monty Python!

Eric Edelman January 26, 2012, 2:53 pm

That’s because both Terry Gilliam and I were influenced by some of the same sources: Max Ernst, the Surrealists, and the Czech filmmaker Karel Zeman, all of whom liked old wood engravings & used them at one time or other in their work. Thanks for your comment! (By the way, I loved your post about the “Hats” at the 23rd Street “R/N” subway station; one of my favorite stations in the NYC subway system.)

Kathryn January 25, 2012, 9:59 pm

Very cool! Love the idea of using declination as an idea launchpad…

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 11:53 pm

Thanks for your kind words, Kathryn! I find words stimulate my imagination deeply. And in combination with pictures or collages, words really make things “take off.”

Deborah January 25, 2012, 10:46 pm

Oh this makes me want to try something like this!

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 11:45 pm

Great! “Then my work here is done….” But not really! Glad to hear it and looking forward to what you’ll do. Please share it when you’re ready! And thanks for the kind words.

Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook January 25, 2012, 11:26 pm

It’s a great collage. I don’t always understand but I do enjoy it your creativity!

Eric Edelman January 25, 2012, 11:43 pm

Thanks, Carol! I don’t always understand them, but I do learn something from most of them. And I appreciate your kind words!

jessica @peekababy January 25, 2012, 11:59 pm

i think i just had a brain freeze, lol

Eric Edelman January 26, 2012, 12:07 am

Dear me, I hope not! To paraphrase Hitchcock, “It’s ONLY a blog-post!”

Laser Hair Removal Gal January 26, 2012, 4:04 am

Wow, love the accompanying pic here!

Eric Edelman January 26, 2012, 2:34 pm

Thanks. Glad you like it, “Laser.”

Samantha @ KreativeKaring January 26, 2012, 4:07 am

wow, this WW really makes one think. Thanks for dropping by KreativeKaring and linking up so I could see this! =)
Hope you have a great day!


Eric Edelman January 26, 2012, 2:55 pm

Thanks for your visit and comment, Samantha, and for encouraging my favorite form of camping!

Leah H. January 27, 2012, 12:13 am

Wow, interesting..Thank’s for sharing:)

Visiting for Wordless Wednesday! Hope you can stop by:)

Eric Edelman January 27, 2012, 1:00 am

Thanks for your visit and comment! I’ve just visited you for WW and left a comment on your site.

Hilary January 28, 2012, 9:19 am

love it!

Eric Edelman January 28, 2012, 9:56 pm

Thanks for your visit and for your kind words, Hilary!

The Info Mouse *o* January 31, 2012, 9:20 pm

Whether I understand each post or not… thanks for always making me think! Hope you have an inspired Wednesday.

Eric Edelman February 1, 2012, 1:26 am

Thanks for your visit and your comment! And thanks also for your great photo-essay on the Epcot hydroponics section.

Girl Meets Bulgaria February 1, 2012, 5:35 am

Great colors! Happy WW!

Eric Edelman February 2, 2012, 3:18 am

Thanks very much! I love your photograph of the Bulgarian church in snow … so beautiful.

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