(click individual photos above for captions)
A jolt hammering in slow motion, and I awake
Thin whips of smoke lazily leaking from my nostrils, the sole evidence
that inside, past tangled neuron webs, muscles,
and blood vessels obsessed with smashing their CrossFit records,
A tapestry frayed and inflamed, magnesium sulfate-white,
its surface nibbled from the North and the South alike, the flames
yawning as they spread, reducing my former dreamscape
I’d dreamt again of a celestial refusing to leave,
of a sun that will not set
My brother mentioned in passing once that dreams scurry to the corners
for eight weeks in every Alaskan year
Something about elevation or longitude or another manner
of measurement I lack the qualifications to quantify
His tone sounded pastel to my ears; muted, pale, innocent
As if there were no greater display of affection the Universe could bequeath
than for its subjects to dwell permanently in the light,
always in view
Thousands of generations and every authority
from the prophets to our kin, who install miniscule torches near our childhood
beds to illuminate our path and ward off uncertainty,
preach that the darkness is our adversary
An ancient opponent to be feared and conquered,
though the night returns every eve, undaunted,
secure in the knowledge that immortality means
never having to say you’re sorry
What is balance
when one-half becomes a circle?
In early days, when Alaska landed into my address,
my dreams strove to mimic Sam’s, but fell in the attempt,
for they were woven from cloth most vivid,
from colors I had never witnessed in the waking world
And though the blackout curtains hugging my sills can drive back the light,
they lack the power to repel lawnmowey growling through the stillness,
the shouts of children called to arms in an intergalactic conflict,
the clankful din of weekend hikers re-sorting their garages
My small hours retain their form, my clocks steadfast
But I can no longer recognize their handler,
and I long for the days when
the days could rest
Well, this was a thing.
After I read this poem to a puppy, I created its accompanying painting…which actually turned out to be TWO paintings because I used several different mediums, and the original work wore a different face after it had dried.
Version 1 (while the paint was still wet):
Version 2 (the next morning):
Since I couldn’t decide, I asked patrons to vote, figuring that I’d digitally add the poem (since this is my favorite painting that I’ve done and I didn’t really want to write over it). Version 1 (which happened to be my personal choice as well) ended up the winner, but when I attempted to add the verses in Photoshop, it just wasn’t working out, even though that’s something I have done many times before. Therefore, it looked like I was going to need to use Version 2 after all.
So a few nights ago, I had my gel and paint pen case open, with the poem printed out and the painting in front of me. And all I could think was “I really don’t want to letter this.”
@snarke suggested writing on vellum. We located a pad of it at the art supply store, and although that proved to be a thicker material than she remembered, she also found 11 x 14 clear film overlays. I realized quickly that this was what I’d hoped for.
There are obviously some problems: while they’re tough, I’m using these overlays for a purpose they clearly weren’t designed for. Even with applying the gentlest pressure I could get away with, the sides continually rolled and warped. Sometimes the lettering seemed very fragile and I had to keep redoing it (as opposed to writing directly on canvas, where I usually have the opposite problem!).
Also, even when I cut the two sheets down to preserve only the area I actually used, they didn’t fit. I’d hoped that because the overlays (11 x 14) are smaller than the canvas (16 x 20), there might be chance I could stagger them somehow, permitting both halves to be displayed at once…but no luck. In taking the photos, I used a ton of double-sided tape to try and force the sides down. I had to be content with that, but it doesn’t work that well.
Some possible solutions for future poems:
– Find a way to secure the sides better during lettering. Erin suggested oversized binder clips and / or rubber bands.
– These sheets CAN be glued onto canvas with acrylic gel. I’ve emailed the company and requested more information.
– It might be possible to purchase this material as a wrap, rather than in sheets. If so, I could potentially wrap the entire canvas, secure it, and perform the lettering directly on the surface itself.
I suspect it will be a while before I hit the correct balance…but this is a good start!
Both text-less versions are available on Etsy as metallic photo prints, though I recently discovered that I have the ability to make a lot of other things as well. I’m also considering listing the original painting (which is Version 2) for sale, but I’d need to get an idea of what it would cost to ship it first. I’m looking into that.
Whew! Here’s to New Ways To Art!