August 2023

Greg “Craola” Simkins’ Artistic Process

The quality of Greg Simkins’ work makes me want to be more diligent (i.e. get focused on making more art and not waste time looking at reference or doing lower-priority things).

“Innovation is saying ‘No’ to 1,000 things.” – Steve Jobs

I aspire to create as freely as Greg does; though, I don’t feel drawn to be so “Dalí” or cryptically symbolic. Watching him paint in video form is awe-inspiring. I found the following conversation on YouTube of him with a couple other artists; he goes into some exciting detail about his creative process; I’ll jump to that spot in the following link:

Shop Talk with Greg Simkins & Tony Curanaj – Moderator Natalia Fabia – Host Trekell Art Supplies

I especially enjoyed the second half of the first hour of this video.

I’d love to show some of his pieces here, but he asks people not to reproduce his work without permission; so while I wait to hear back from him, go check out his website and YouTube channel for more golden art and advice.

Edit: I got permission to feature some of Craola’s art! Thank you to Greg’s team.

Piper Pass by Greg Simkins

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Major System Peg Words (Memory Tool)

This post is generally unrelated to art, but it features an extremely useful and versatile tool for remembering anything – the Major System peg words (see my full PDF list below). The Major System is a mnemonic technique which encodes numbers as consonant sounds (or in this case, groups of similar sounds); the consonants are mixed with vowels to form words; the resulting words serve as mental pegs upon which to hang (i.e. associate) things you want to remember. The following list is an example:

  • 0 – zoo (s,z)
  • 1 – tie (t,d)
  • 2 – Noah (n)
  • 3 – ma (m)
  • 4 – rye (r)
  • 5 – law (l)
  • 6 – shoe (sh,ch,j)
  • 7 – cow (c)
  • 8 – ivy (v,f)
  • 9 – bee (b,p)
  • 10 – toes

Using Peg Words

To use peg words for memorization, first learn the numbers with their sounds; then use the sounds to memorize a word list. Next create a mental association between each item from the list you want to memorize with the corresponding peg word. In your mind see the two items interacting in a bizarre, memorable way – in doing so you are hanging the item on the peg for later retrieval. Mentally-visually associating two things is the most effective way to remember something easily because it takes advantage of how the mind optimally works. This system enables you to memorize lists and recall the exact numbered position of every item in the list.

This system is very useful for memorizing passages of Scripture (even entire chapters and books) as you can create and recall an association for the beginning of each verse and link it to the peg word for that verse number. This association acts as a prompt for starting the verse.

Why the Major System?

I first learned of peg words from The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas (this book is a fantastic resource for all things memory-related). You may be asking, “Why go through all the trouble of learning a whole memory system when I can use something more simple like one-bun, two-shoe, three-tree, etc. to accomplish the same thing?” The answer is extensibility. If you only want to memorize a short list of ten items, then more simple systems are great; but what if you want to memorize 50 or 100 or an undetermined number of things? Rhyming, alphabet, and other small-scale systems are limited in their scope. Using the Major System makes expanding your word list relatively easy by providing a predictable, consistent system which allows you to move between number and sound with ease (once you’ve memorized it and practiced, of course).

Peg Word List

I’ve created a compact printout for the first 100 peg words. I started with a word list from this source (which also has a great explanation of using the Major System), and then changed some words to fit my taste. The following PDF printout contains the peg word list in a compact format four times; so you can cut the page into four sections to create bookmarks or share with others. I hope the PDF is useful.

More about the Major System

Learn more about the Major System:

You may find the following website helpful in creating your own Major System peg word list: pinfruit.com.

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