When I was a kid, there was no collaboration; it’s you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, filmmaking is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself.” Steven Spielberg

Most of the time, I paint or write alone. Solitude has been an important facilitator of my creativity. Aloneness (as opposed to loneliness) allows me to venture into the mysterious areas of my mind and discover what I really feel and what I am attempting to form, paint, draw or say. For creative people, alone time is generally welcome.

I worked in solitude during 2020 on two new poetry books: If You Shut Your Eyes, You’ll Hear some Cosmic Verse” and “There’s a Light at the End of My Muddle”, both of which I illustrated. I also painted and used my alone time well, believing that there would be a light at the end of the COVID muddle. And there is!

Even though working alone is a valuable route to discovering our creativity, so is working with others, especially if they, too, are adept at following their own creative paths, yet able to complement and enhance the creative productions of others and with them, create entirely new artistic expressions.

This has been my experience with Patty Barnes, co-founder together with Thomas Houlon of the Spirit of the Senses – a meeting place online, now, for those with curious minds. I’ve been a member of that one-of-a-kind organization for fourteen years and have known Patty for the same amount of time. Little did I know, however, that Patty has another self – an alter ego: Bleu Oleander.

Bleu Oleander a Machinima Artist, has recently released her highly original creation: “Colors are a Magic Trick” sparked by my poem by the same name in my latest poetry collection: THERE’S A LIGHT AT THE END OF MY MUDDLE. Both this poem and my painting “Summer Dance” were the spark for Bleu’s ethereal and beautiful Machinima Art production.

My art representative emailed Bleu to ask her why she chose to explore my work in this art form. Bleu wrote back: “Ellen’s words and paintings are ideal for Machinima art. I have always loved her art and her spirit of creativity. Ellen is so inspiring and so enthusiastic! I feel her colors, I see movement in her creations, and I hear music when I experience her work … which are my goals when creating Machinima for both myself and the viewer. Machinima gives artists’ work another layer of depth and interpretation, a real immersive feeling for me.”

What is Machinima art? The word itself is a combination of the words, machine and cinema and records in real-time, the action in interactive 3D settings. It’s a style of filmmaking that originated from the computer animation of video games. And it is a form of artistic expression that fascinates Bleu. “I’ve played with various forms of art making in Second Life for over 10 years. I got interested in Machinima when I realized I could combine many things I already enjoyed doing, designing avatars, building sets, creating textures from the real world, composing music and writing stories. Machinima allowed me to combine all of that and also express my interests in philosophy and science. I’m inspired by books and ideas and love to express them with art. All that and there’s none of that messy paint cleanup afterwards … haha!

I have seen Patty Barne’s actual paintings in real life and they are strong and stunning. She has one of the most expansive and curious minds I know, both intellectually and artistically. And in Second Life and on YouTube, you will see Bleu Oleander’s unique visions – her combinations of big questions emerging from her curious mind and her powerful, emotive Machinima art works. I am therefore, more than thrilled by this fusion of my art and words, “Colors are a Magic Trick”, with the exquisite Machinima Art of Bleu Oleander!

You might want to check out also, Patty Barne’s and Thomas Houlon’s amazing SpiritoftheSenses.org Salons.