Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am no venerable mandala master, oh no.



Though I'm certain the utter bewilderment and frustration involved in figuring out Photoshop 8 for the Mac is great for my neural networks, I am defeated. Photoshop 8 vs. Reya? No contest. The program kicked my ass.

May I complain for a minute, please? What happened to instruction manuals? Even just a few years ago, new software came with user manuals, little books I could leaf through until I learned the program. But no more. There are teaching videos on the internet all of which I find completely unhelpful and condescending. There are help sites "written" by other users, also totally useless. I miss the books of instructions, I really do. And yes I know I'm supposed to intuitively figure it out. Grrrrrrrrrr....

Rather than crush my new computer with a brick (it's tempting, but I know I would regret it) instead I'm going to head down to the Sackler this morning, dip into The Realm of the Buddha. Today is my last chance to watch the mandala master Venerable Ngawang Chojor put the finishing touches on his sand mandala.

The monks who work with sand mandalas are serious bad asses. After all the care and attention, not to mention time, they put into their designs, and even in spite of how beautiful the finished work is, after they finish, they are able somehow to calmly and carefully sweep the sand into a pile, after which they pour it into the Tidal Basin. At least that's what they did last time. The mandala sweep up is meant to help us understand the ephemeral nature of all things. But to actually do it? I think it takes guts. Wow.

Maybe watching the monk lovingly work on something he knows won't exist after Sunday (the day of the sweeping up ceremony) will remind me that I, too, can be patient and careful as I learn about the new Photoshop.

Maybe. It's worth a try, anyway.

22 comments:

True Blue Texan said...

I've only tried to use Photoshop in the trial version and it was confusing as hell. I've never owned anything but a Mac as a personal computer but Adobe is fairly evil in their "sink or swim:" attitude. You are not alone.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks for the support. I'm wondering if I even need Photoshop. iPhoto may be enough. Maybe I'll sell the damn program.

See? I really need to go see the monks. Namaste.

Whitney Lee said...

I completely agree that it's frustrating. There's a part of me that is so tired of trying to figure out how to use my new programs, but there's another part of me that's glad that I don't have to try to keep track of another instruction manual.

At least you've got something soothing - and fairly amazing, it seems - to look forward to...I admire the attitude! It'd be great if you could get some pictures of that (hint, hint).

ewix said...

Namaste, salaam aleikum, peace!

Your camera is exactly the same as mine; you get better results
Have you tried Picnik.com?
but blog stuff is almost as ephemeral as manadala
stuff.
I saw such a lovely one being made in Philly around Halloween
and there's the Rubin Museum here too.....

red red car was wonderfully red!

Liza said...

I love the colour in that pic!
Fabulous.
Sand mandalas and their creators have fascinated me since I learned about them. That was my introduction to non-attachment.
It was life-changing.

ps...I too am a fan of the original book of instructions.

Deborah said...

there is probably a manual you can download or upload--like i know anything. . .

all my love

steven said...

reya iphoto is really good but photoshop (and i don't own a copy but i did once long ago) does much more. i was going to through the intuitive word out there but you dropped it on your way past and i thought better of it!!! i play 'till i figure stuff out so i might not be the most valued advisor!!! enjoy the mandala becoming. steven

Barbara said...

I always thought of you as the mandala master! :)

Rebecca Clayton said...

Interesting that you put together Photoshop and mandalas...learning how to use software is ephemeral, too. You get used to something, but then programs and the computers change, and you have to start over again.

I haven't used Photoshop for years (too expensive) but sometimes I have to teach computer courses in commercial programs I don't know much about, and I have really good luck just "googling" for "how to" instructions and learning exercises. I haven't shelled out for expensive manuals yet. (There are books you can buy about Photoshop, too.)

There are free open source photo editing programs out there, some of which have good manuals. I have GIMP on my Mac, because I've been using it on my Linux machine. It's good once you get used to it, and there are lots of tutorials on the Web.

ArtSparker said...

New software is the worst. You may still be able to buy a manual of some sort, an extra expense I know. Just checked and Pogue Press has some Photoshop Missing Manuals.

The Pollinatrix said...

Well, with or without Photoshop, your pics are great.

Enjoy those badass monks!

Reya Mellicker said...

Deborah you made me lol. And Whitney you're right - where would I PUT another instruction manual?

And thanks Barbara.

It was incredibly calming to watch the monk work. I took some pictures I'll publish tomorrow here, and today on FB.

A woman teaching her class about the mandala said that the most important thing in life is to be a good person because only your good deeds live on after you die.

I'm so glad I resisted the urge to crush my computer with a brick! And now, back to Photoshop 8 for Mac.

lakeviewer said...

I have one philosophy at this stage of my life: if it's too frustrating, don't bother. My life is short.

Reya Mellicker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

i am a big fan of not owning anything that needs an owner's manual. being a guy i never bother to look at 'em anyway...just dive in and muck it all up!

won't ask for directions either. i'm forever lost.

i envy monks, but i'd miss my hair.

Nancy said...

Loved the analogy. Incredible work, the mandala. The sweeping ceremony is a great lesson, actually. Isn't there a Photoshop 8 for Dummies?

Ronda Laveen said...

Of course you can complain. As I'm undergoing my own set of computer woes and working toward wellness one step at a time, I am completely sympathetic and empathetic.

I saw the mandala photos you posted on FB. Fantastic. I look forward to seeing the ones you post manana. For some reason I can't explain, I love the word 'mandala' almost as much as the created work.

As we work through our comupter "stuff," I am reminded of what my administrator, when I worked in dialysis, used to tell me:

This is a huge job with a lot to learn. You get through it the same way you would if you had to eat an elephant--one bite at a time.

Bon appetit!

ellen abbott said...

I just use Photoshop Elements. all I want to do is correct and resize my photos so elements has all I need and then some without the frustration of the whole program.

And yes, the mandala masters are awesome.

PurestGreen said...

Finally I am visiting you to thank you for the lovely photo you sent me. It got a bit squished in the post but shall adorn my livingroom mantel.

If you want some photoshop inspiration, look up the "paintings" done by fantasy artist Kundry, often posted on her site http://ys.typepad.fr/inner_world/
She used to paint with oils but now she uses photoshop and it is amazing what she can do.

Reya Mellicker said...

Purest Green, I'm so sorry the pic got squashed in the post. What a shame!

Dave King said...

Heartfelt commiserations. If ever you find out what happen ed to the manuals, please let me know! I believe they're blaming climate change.

Ptolemy said...

I'll lend a vote to making friends with iPhoto instead... It does an amazing amount of wonderful things...