This is my inspiration:
In the burned house I am eating breakfast.
You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast,
Yet here I am.
the opening lines of the poem “Morning in the Burned House” by Margaret Atwood. This just knocks me off my seat. Atwood uses such simple, straightforward words to paint such a complex image. Being there but not being there. A place that exists and does not. The rest of the poem develops the ambiguity and dream-like memory. It is unclear what is real and what is metaphor. I just love everything about this poem.
So, what to do with it? The local arts group I am a member of will have an exhibit later this year in DeLand’s City Hall. Each work is to be inspired by a work of literature and this will be my entry.
What I have so far is a photo transfer and some sketches.
The photo is a window image, one that contains a lot of dream-like qualities. It’s not crisp; it evokes a sense of memory (or loss) to me. And I love the palette it suggests, soft blue-teal-grey washes. As a challenge to myself, I want to create all the imagery in these soft, muted tones. (It is much easier for me to create intense colors.) This will be an experiment in holding back.
The size will be a challenge too. Our group wants all the works to have a uniform size: 48”H x 24”W. That fits our exhibiting space well, and all the works look good together when they are uniform. But a 2-to-1 vertical ratio is really hard to compose. I am going to vary just a tad, but it will still be narrow and vertical.
And I’m also interested in exploring resist printing in some new ways. Because the actual images in this work will be very simple — a chair, some bowls, a checked tablecloth — it’s a good chance to try out using wheat resist printing to actually create the objects in the work. I generally use resists just to create patterns. It should end up with a batik-like crackle effect. I think it will fit the subject well. But, I haven’t actually printed with resist like this before. I’ll have to figure out the logistics as I go.
This one will be in the studio for the next month or so. I’ll keep you posted on progress. I want to give myself time to let this develop, to honor the poem that inspired me.
Looking Ahead: I hope to exhibit at several outdoor festivals in Central Florida this fall. I received my first acceptance, so I’m confirming. I’ll be there! Winter Park Autumn Art Festival – October 12-13 – downtown Winter Park.
Thank you for reading. I always enjoy questions and comments.
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