Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cuddly (This week's Photo Hunt theme)

To many college students, art history courses -- often disparagingly referred to as "art in the dark" because many of them seem like nothing more than slide shows accompanied by droning commentary -- are looked upon as "gut" courses that hold little attraction other than the prospect of an easy pass or even A. But this was far from the case with the art history classes I took at Beloit College with the then department chair, Debra N. Mancoff.

A professor with real passion for her chosen field of study and, also, a real ability to impart ideas to her students, she often infused her lessons with unorthodox methods -- including one which required us to imagine what objects and people in paintings and that had been sculptured were supposed to feel like: e.g., soft, hard, cold, warm, smooth, rough, etc.

To this day, when looking at works of art, I find myself trying out some of the "tricks" Debra taught us to appreciate what one usually can only see but not touch. And in the case of master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (known as just Ponyo when shown in the US with an English dub), the word cuddly immediately springs to mind as readily as cute and kawaii when I behold the title character (particularly in her original fish form).

And so much so that I came away from my viewing of the movie pining to have a cuddly Ponyo of my very own. So one evening, when I came across cute, cuddly Ponyo plushies being hawked on a street, I of course couldn't help but get myself one. And while having one soft Ponyo plush is great, having two is really verrrrry nice indeed -- especially since my second Ponyo plush (the larger one in the photo of the two plushies at the top of this Photo Hunt entry) came all the way from Japan where a friend had gone to visit. :b


Carver said...

What a great post for the theme. Your art history professor sounds like a true teacher.

I also love the fact that you got the cuddly Ponyos after seeing the Ponyo on the cliff by the sea.

Happy Weekend!

CRIZ LAI said...

Whoa... how did you manage to get those cuddly dolls? I love Ponyo so much! :)

gweipo said...

When we were living in Spain I went to some lectures given by NADFAS - they were excellent and extremely entertaining. (

wish they had a local chapter here ...

Brian said...

When I saw the post title, I thought for sure you would have a picture of Gillian up!

gengen said...

Good choice for the theme. the last pic is cute...happy hunting. Mine is up.

Randi said...

....No, I´m not going to take my hunting vest off - for different reasons this vest will keep me safe!
Perhaps you are jealous of my outfit…*smile*
Miss Westie

YTSL said...

Hi Carver --

Thanks once again for visiting, reading, looking and appreciating. :)

Hi Criz --

Read the entry lah! And should you ever visit Japan, go to Kiddyland or the official Studio Ghibli merchandise shops (Donguri Republic). :b

Hi Gweipo --

NAFDAS does indeed sound good...

Hi Brian --

Alas, Edison-gate has made it so that I can never think of Gillian in all that great a light any more... :S

Hi gengen --

I find all the Ponyos cute! Wish my Ponyos had red hair like the Ponyo in the movie -- but am glad that my Ponyos are soft and cuddly... :)

Hi Randi --

Er... are you saying that you're jealous that I have those Ponyos? ;b

Gattina said...

I have never seen a Ponyo, it looks so cute !

tnchick ♥ said...

I love those cuddly things in the 2nd photo. Yes, mine is a Papasan chair -the pets adore it! LOL

luna miranda said...

i always learn something interesting when i visit your post.:p

great post.

A. @ A Changing Life said...

I can easily see why you love your Ponyo plushies! The top picture is delightful.

Yes, I see what you mean about what sculptures are supposed to feel like. That was exactly my problem. :)

Anonymous said...

A great teacher is a person of importance. Especially if they can teach you to find the cuddly parts of life.

YTSL said...

Hi Gattina --

Hmmm... according to the IMDB (International Movie Database) website, Ponyo -- the movie -- was released in Belgium on April 8th last year! Guess you missed it... ;(

Hi tnchick --

Those are my Ponyo plushies! :D

Hi Luna Miranda --

*Blush* Thank you! :)

Hi A. --

According to my art history professor, the difference between a genius and other sculptors was that the former could make you feel that his human sculptures were warm and soft... ;b

Hi archiearchive --

Well said! :D

jams o donnell said...

I had not seen Ponyon plushies before. I can see why you love them! Have a great weekend

Gorgeous Nelly said...

Wow! nice post and they are nice dolls too.

Happy weekend. My cuddly entry is posted too.

Sandy said...

Interesting take on theme.
Mine's up, too.

Ladykli said...

Your post are always very interesting. I had never heard of Ponyo. Your plushies are cute and cuddly!

I haven't played in weeks but here is my cuddly entry.

Alice Audrey said...

Totally cute and cuddly, especially the plush version.

You live in Wisconsin? Small world.

YTSL said...

Hi jams --

FYI, "Ponyo" -- the movie -- recently opened in the UK. Hope you'll be intrigued enough to go lend some support at the cinema! :)

Hi Gorgeous Nelly --

Hmmm... I guess plushes are dolls but have to admit that while I like plushies, I don't care that much for (human-shaped) dolls... ;S

Hi Sandy --


Hi Ladykli --

Thanks -- and am glad to do my bit to spread the word re Ponyo around. ;b

Hi Alice Audrey --

I lived in Wisconsin... a long time ago! ;b

catsynth said...

Interesting take on the theme cuddly.
I wouldn't mind auditing that course.

Scott (AKA Bull Rhino) said...

These guys are new to me but they sure work and make a great angle on the cuddly theme this week.
Scott at World’s Best Photography Blog ;^)

magiceye said...

lovely take on the theme

YTSL said...

Hi Catsynth --

It wasn't just a course. Debra taught like all her courses like that. :)

Hi "Bull Rhino" --

Ponyo's a female! ;S

Hi magiceye --

Thanks. :)

Mar said...

What darling ones!! and a very interesting post. Love the lesson to imagine what objects and people in picture are supposed to feel like...!!

Happy Sunday!

YTSL said...

Hi Mar --

Thanks for dropping by, looking and reading. Am glad you look to have enjoyed doing so. :)

Mariposa said...

The 2nd pic is cute. Mariposa's PhotoHunt

YTSL said...

Hi Mariposa --

I think both pictures are cute! (And if people are wondering, I took the first photo of a still from the movie off a Ponyo exhibition in a Hong Kong mall around this time last year. ;b)

Annie said...

Thanks for the intro to the cute and cuddly Ponyo!

YTSL said...

Hi Annie --

You're welcome -- and hope you'll be intrigued enough to check out Ponyo -- the movie! :)