anonyrrie: March 2006

Friday, March 31, 2006

Illustration Friday - Spring

Vernal Sentiment

Though the crocuses poke up their heads in the usual places
The frog scum appear on the pond with the same froth of green,
And boys moon at girls with last year's fatuous faces,
I am never bored, however familiar the scene.

When from under the barn the cat brings a similar litter, –
Two yellow and black, and one that looks in between, –
Though it all happened before, I cannot grow bitter:
I rejoice in the spring, as though no spring ever had been.

-Theodore Roethke (1908 - 1963)

(micron pen/colored in photoshop)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Illustration Friday - Monster & Inspire Me Thursday - Monochromatic

The Gorgons of Greek mythology were so hideous that the mere sight of them would turn anyone who gazed their way to stone. They were, according to the poet Hesiod, so frighteningly repulsive to the senses that they "were not to be approached and not to be described." Medusa, the only one of the three who was mortal, was born beautiful with a head of luxuriant, shining hair. The lusty Poseidon took a fancy to her, and disguised as a horse, seduced her in the temple of Athena. Enraged, Athena transformed Medusa into a monster whose most common portrayal shows her once beautiful hair as a mass of writhing snakes.


I had come to the house, in a cave of trees,
Facing a sheer sky.
Everything moved, -- a bell hung ready to strike,
Sun and reflection wheeled by.

When the bare eyes were before me
And the hissing hair,
Held up at a window, seen through a door.
The stiff bald eyes, the serpents on the forehead
Formed in the air.

This is a dead scene forever now.
Nothing will ever stir.
The end will never brighten it more than this,
Nor the rain blur.

The water will always fall, and will not fall,
And the tipped bell make no sound.
The grass will always be growing for hay
Deep on the ground.

And I shall stand here like a shadow
Under the great balanced day,
My eyes on the yellow dust, that was lifting in the wind,
And does not drift away.

- Louise Bogan (1897 - 1970)

(9 x 12 - micron pen/colored in photoshop)

3/26 edit - I am also submitting this for the Inspire Me Thursday challenge to create a monochromatic piece. I had originally planned to do this completely in shades of green, but somehow a bit of greenish-orange sneaked in...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Illustration Friday - Feet

In poetry, the term foot refers to the basic unit used in the scansion or measurement of metrical verse. A foot usually contains one accented syllable and one or two unaccented syllables. Certain poetic forms require not only a specific kind of meter, but also a set number of feet per line. Shakespeare, for example, wrote his plays and sonnets in iambic pentameter - five feet per line, with each foot comprised of one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable.

The Muses of Greek mytholgy are goddesses who preside over the arts and sciences, invoked by poets and musicians for inspiration. Although there were originally many Muses, the Greeks favored nine: Calliope (epic or heroic poetry), Clio (historical and heroic poetry), Erato (love and erotic poetry), Euterpe (music and lyric poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (eloquence and dance), Terpsichore (dancing and the dramatic chorus), Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry), and Urania (astronomy and astrology). Each Muse had a paticular object associated with her art. Erato, the muse of lyrical love and erotic poetry, is usually depicted with a lyre.

In his poem "On the Sonnet," John Keats writes about the poet's attempt to reconcile the demands of poetric structure with the pure inspiration of the Muses:

If by dull rhymes our English must be chain'd,
And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet
Fetter'd, in spite of pained loveliness,
Let us find, if we must be constrain'd,
Sandals more interwoven and complete
To fit the naked foot of Poesy:
Let us inspect the Lyre, and weigh the stress
Of every chord, and see what may be gain'd
By ear industrious, and attention meet;
Misers of sound and syllable, no less
Than Midas of his coinage, let us be
Jealous of dead leaves in the bay wreath crown;
So, if we may not let the Muse be free,
She will be bound with garlands of her own.

(ink drawing/collage colored in photoshop)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Inspire Me Thursday - Senseless Art

Last Thursday's inspirational challenge was to create art by purposefully avoiding the use of our five senses...a tough one, indeed! This took me all week to do, as I worked on it here and there between other things...and here's how it happened:

Vision - I usually have a very clear idea of what I want to draw or paint, and I spend many hours visualizing it in my head. I picture what supplies I'll use, and I even imagine myself in the process of creating. When I do sit down to create something, I have a plan and I build from that. This time I had no picture in my mind, and my words to Jol after dinner last Thursday were something like... "I'm just going downstairs to slap some gesso on a canvas." From there, I started playing with colors and textures by pulling out random tubes of paint, trying different stamps, smearing with a sponge, and so on. When I felt done with the background, I just put it away, returning over the week to do different things as they happened.

Touch and Hearing - I avoided having any desired outcome, so I felt free to mess around with different materials. I decided that I didn't really care what I ended up with; I was just playing. I have to admit that I had to work on the inner critic a bit; it's hard to avoid that voice, especially since I worked without background music.

Taste and Smell - Hmmm...well, I wasn't eating and I wasn't thinking much about smelling anything. I was just concentrating on not concentrating!

So, do I like what I ended up with? I'm not sure.... To be honest, I prefer to have the pleasure of the thought process that comes before creating, and I love the energy I have when I am conscious of my choices and my senses. Nonetheless, this was a cool challenge that stretched me in another way. Thanks, Misty and Melanie!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Illustration Friday - Tattoo


Tattoo tattoo
Some things fade some never do
Like the names of me and you
In my skin indigo blue
Tattoo tattoo
Waving boys in navy blue
Whalers sailing home to you
Scratched in scrimshaw tusk and tooth
Tattoo tattoo
Some things fade some never do
These lines of love to you
Tattoo tattoo
The verse of life is blank I think
We fill in in invisible ink
It comes to sight, it surfaces
When held up to the light of love
Tattoo tattoo
Carney girls in summer suits
Local boys in leather boots
Diagrams of derring-do
Tattoo tattoo
Tattoo tattoo
Some things fade some never do
Like these lines of love to you
Tattoo tattoo
Like the names of me and you
In my skin indigo blue
Tattoo tattoo

- B. Walkenhorst

(micron pen on bristol/background done in photoshop)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Inspire Me Thursday - Five Senses

This week's Inspire Me Thursday challenge involved using all five senses to create a piece of art. I have to admit that this one really did challenge me, because I was totally out of my comfort zone. I don't normally mix media beyond using some paper collage here and there in a drawing or painting, so even getting my hands on "stuff" was a challenge! Anyway, here it is (although it's much darker here than "in person"):

Sight - I was surrounded by paint on a palette, pretty paper in a basket, drawings and paintings in my studio, many books, and my fat cat Jezebel snoozing on the sofa. Lovely. The idea of sight is also included in the pieces of mirror in which the viewer can see pieces of herself.

Sound - I put iTunes on shuffle ( I randomly recall hearing songs by Morphine, The Isley Brothers, Sinead Lohan), and I started to create using a small piece of scrap maple from Jol's guitar factory. You might say that the whole piece is grounded in the idea of music! I then took an old plastic compact and smashed the outside case so I could get to the mirror. Noisy! I ended up with shards in various sizes, choosing those that I could use as the rays coming from the eye.

Touch - The whole experience was touch! I felt the grain of the wood. I created texture in the background of the base coat of paint using a series of leaf stamps. I rubbed layers of paint on with my fingers. I gingerly handled the broken mirror so I wouldn't cut myself. I used paper in various thicknesses and textures. The finished piece is dimensional with smooth, rough, hard, and soft surfaces.

Taste - There are five coffee beans on this! I painted them gold and used them as the centers of the "flowers."

Smell - The coffee beans smelled wonderful....

Friday, March 03, 2006

Illustration Friday - Insect

"The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough."
- Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Work in Progress

Today I came across a fascinating post that accompanies Kelly's very striking self-portrait, in which she ponders the whole concept of photographic self-portraiture, wondering if it is "self-aggrandizing or self-expression." Although I am not going to summarize here what she wrote (because I think you should visit her inspiring blog and read her thoughts in her own words), I want to share my thoughts in response to what I read.

I have always drawn or painted self portraits. Sometimes I do it intentionally, as in the illustration I posted below. Yet even when the subject isn't meant to be me and doesn't really look like me, there's something in its aspect and demeanor that is clearly mine. I too had often wondered if this infusion of my "selfness" in so much of my art was a sign of egocentricity or simply a mode of personal exploration through visual expression. We are all egocentric creatures to a necessary degree, but I have come to the understanding that the ego-driven practice of drawing myself, intentionally and unintentionally, has been a way to get closer to myself, accept myself, and love myself for all the things that are revealed in the process of creating the image. Although it's about me, it's not much more than a reaching out for some kind of contact with things inside that I can't quite find the words to express. Ultimately, though, it is an image and an impression bound by its moment - ephemeral and open to so many interpretations, especially when viewed out of the context of its creation.

Above is a painting I have been working on for the past few days which is far from being finished. It's called Vernal Equinox, a personification of the Earth awaiting Spring. It isn't meant to be me, but...