Tag Archive | color

Self Portrait #14: More Man Ray

man ray head shot comp

What kind of alive am I?
Each morning, nothing new:
I drink coffee, I drift into the usual black.
Can I change into colorful costumes?  Can I?
Today a gypsy, perhaps a fortune teller too,
surprise myself and try something new,
an animal, a vegetable, an entire zoo:
I could become the old lady who
doesn’t care what other people think or do.
I could ignore them and be free
of any laughter or unkind words that come my way.
Can I sing and dance too?
Be the mask and have the mask be true?
Words have feelings,
and feelings have words:
but both need to sing
and both to begin
without self-censorship or fear.
Innocent joy: I want to
find that lost
forgotten what to do.
I’m not sure how
to make this change of black to red or blue.
Yet it’s false, not right
to pretend I couldn’t choose
bright colors
if I wanted to.
I could give out rainbows;
I could create a few.

i am cherry alive illustrator s

Today is selfie day, and not only have I channeled my inner Man Ray once again for self-portrait #14 in my 100 Self-Portraits series, I’ve channeled my inner Delmore Schwartz for a riff on his poem “I am Cherry Alive“.  When I found the print out above from a long ago Illustrator class that used Schwartz’s work as a source , I knew where this selfie-with-poem was going.

k head shot s2

Anyone who knows me is aware that 90% of my wardrobe is black.  It wasn’t always that way though…

head shot close up s

In this portrait I tried to give myself a little color, while also honoring the way I might have actually dressed back in the day.  No, I don’t think I have the nerve now, but it’s a nice thought!

Delmore Schwartz, supposedly the model for Humboldt in Saul Bellow’s novel “Humboldt’s Gift”, was a gifted New York writer of short stories, poems, and essays, an editor, and also a witty conversationalist.  He had early success, but like so many before and after, abused drugs and alcohol and suffered from mental illness in later life.  You can read more about him, and read more of his poems, here.

poetry month

 

Color Play

I painted a bunch of small square paintings (shout out to Claudia McGill, a master of that), then cut them out and randomly glued down six. Worked around them in colors and I just regret not leaving any white showing. It looked crisper with some white. Ah well, there’s always next time. 

City of Dreams, Part 2

mondrian city s

Surrounding me the
reflections in colors blue
and bluer, the light

shines in space that was
destined to instigate my
prism road to blues.

Fractured and spun and
circling around into the
other kinds of song:  red

for instance, or light
glowing yellow, and what was
that orange song?  Oh my.

Listen: eyes and mind
turning combinations all
colors.  Here are my

yearnings. They ask love’s
expansiveness:  please take me in
and sing me.  Not in vain.

This collage is also a response to Matteo Da Vinci’s “City of Dreams” painting, but it required a different kind of poem.  I used Miz Quickly’s prompt for a shovel poem, a form I’ve used before and like a lot.

My source:  Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain”.  If you read down the last word in each of the lines of my poem you’ll find two lines from the song:

“…the blue light was my blues, and the red light was my mind
All my love’s in vain”

You can find out more about Robert Johnson here.

City of Dreams

city of dreams collage s

Not to stay.
Temporarily.
Studying.
A few years–
that’s all—I would be moving.
Moving on.  Going.

Here still here
impersonating
the gaudy
ambition
the loud colors expanding
reflected maelstrom

city of dreams close up s

I always like to make art from other art, so Jane Dougherty’s illustration to her challenge this week of the shadorma form was the starting point both for my painted collage and my poem.  I did a drawing in neocolor based on Matteo Da Vinci’s “City of Dreams” and then cut it into squares and reimagined it.

I like the result and I think I’ll try it again.

Nine Squares (for Ellsworth Kelly)

homage to ellswoth kelly s

Green yellow red orange blue black
mint purple melon value rhyme
Square square square white disguised abstract
space darkness pattern lightness time

Leaf flower fire sun sky at night
green yellow red orange blue black
Shape shape shape depth becoming height
line shadow watch follow turn track

Meadow sunset fruit ocean park
edge edge edge direct dividing
Green yellow red orange blue black
iridescent eye wings flying

Tree beetle rose coral bird stone
look look look choose repeat sing laugh
Random change balance color form
green yellow red orange blue black

I wanted to acknowledge the life and work of Ellsworth Kelly, who died in December.  Of course:  the grids!  the colors!

kelly squares comp

For my own “Nine Squares” I divided each square into 16 tiny squares, producing not the flat color of Kelly’s painting, but a close approximation of each color from the things I had cut out in my collage box.  Which seems apt; I’m working from a photo of the original, so the colors are probably only similar to what is on the canvas anyway.  I did paint the background with white paint, which is something I haven’t done before.

If this collage seems to recall my “100 grids” project, it’s for good reason:  Kelly himself was influenced by both Dada and John Cage, and his multicolored grids were often randomly generated.

kelly nature comp

But Kelly also produced beautiful and simple botanical drawings, paintings, and prints throughout his life.  He admired Matisse, and it shows in these works.

kelly strips chance s

And when he deemed a drawing a failure, he would cut it up and make something new from it.  I’ll have to steal that idea I think…

The poem is a response to Jane Dougherty’s challenge this week to write a quatern.  I have been changing it continuously since I started it, and I think this will continue for awhile.  So:  in process.  It will keep evolving.

“When I see a white piece of paper, I feel I’ve got to draw.”
–Ellsworth Kelly

 

Wet Sunlight

wet sunlight s

wet sunlight:  the earth is
90% water and humans too
harbor liquid life

This is another collage inspired by Illustrated Poetry’s Silent Sunday photo of August 16.  The grid format suits it well, and reminds me even more of Diebenkorn.

You can see the first collage response I did here.

100-Day Project 98-100

days 98-100

We broke free of gravity.
But it didn’t last.

–Sarah C. Harwell, “Major Arcana:  The Moon”

When I finished #100, I had to do a bonus grid that included all the colors I used.

bonus grid all colors s

look up, to where we can never go,
to what won’t disappoint:

stars.

–Sarah C. Harwell, “Major Arcana:  The Stars”

And then, of course, a composite.  I think this arrangement really shows how I tried to work with the colors.  I’m pleased with the result.

days 1-100

It looks like a painting by someone I can’t remember.  How have I reached the point, is it age?
When the sky resembles a painting more than the sky?

–Sarah C. Harwell, “Cloud Cover”

I’ve been reading Sara C. Harwell’s book of poems “Sit Down Traveler” (can you tell?)  I especially love “Major Arcana:  The Stars”.  I discovered the poet through an interview that a former teacher of mine, Mary Tabor, did for Rare Bird Radio (http://www.maryltabor.com/2013/01/sarah-c-harwell-poet-interview.html).  You can also read several of Harwell’s poems here:  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/sarah-c-harwell

As to the grids:  although I won’t be doing them every day any more, I have lots of color explorations still in mind, so I won’t be giving them up either.  And I can highly recommend 100 day of something as an exercise.  I’ll be doing another one (many ideas), although probably not quite in such a disciplined way.  And I’ll be taking a break first!

100-Day Project 92-97

days 92-97

225  To Old Age

I see in you the estuary that enlarges and spreads itself grandly as it pours into the great Sea.

–Walt Whitman, “Leaves of Grass”

Walt Whitman’s life spanned the 19th century, and he was first a teacher and then a journalist, founding an anti-slavery newspaper in Brooklyn in 1848.  During the Civil War he worked in hospitals in Washington D.C. caring for the wounded.  After the war he took a job as a government clerk.

Whitman first published the work he is best known for, “Leaves of Grass”, in 1855, and continued to add to and revise it for the rest of his life.  We all studied it in high school (at least those of us growing up in the United States).  Like many of those writers, Whitman definitely speaks differently to me now.

You can read “Leaves of Grass” here (just click on the poem you want to read):
http://www.bartleby.com/142/index2.html

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You can see all the 100-day project posts here:  https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/category/100-day-project/

100-Day Project 88-91

days 88-91

weather evocative as scent
the romance of dark stormclouds
in big skies over the low wide river
of long shadows and longer shafts of light

of smoke
fabulous film-noir stills of Central Station
of freezing fog silvering the chilled, stilled parks
of the glamorous past
where drops on a rainmate are sequins
in the lamplight, in the black-and-white

–Liz Lochhead, from “Some Old Photographs”

Liz Lochhead was Poet Laureate of Glasgow before becoming the National Poet of Scotland in 2011.  Artist and art teacher, poet, performer and playwright, she says:  “I think what satisfies me the most about poetry (is) that it is not for anything whatsoever….”

You can read the rest of the poem, and more poems, here:  http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poets/liz-lochhead

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You can see all the 100-day project posts here:  https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/category/100-day-project/

100-Day Project 82-87

days 82-87

Being walkers with the dawn and morning,
Walkers with the sun and morning,
We are not afraid of night,
Nor days of gloom,
Nor darkness–
Being walkers with the sun and morning.

–Langston Hughes, “Walkers With the Dawn”

Twentieth Century poet, novelist, playwright, and journalist Langston Hughes has been in and out of fashion with both critics and other African-American artists since he came to prominence during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920’s.  Like some of the poets that influenced him, Walt Whitman and Carl Sandburg, he preferred to reflect with pride the language and culture of ordinary black lives rather than intellectualized or idealized concerns and ideas.

Hughes was one of the first American poets to use the rhythms of jazz and blues in his writing.  He wanted his work to be read and understood by all people, not just an elite and educated few, and in this he succeeded.

http://www.poetrysoup.com/langston_hughes/biography

I’m almost caught up with my grid posts, and I hope to post #100 on the actual 100th day.

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You can see all the 100-day project posts here:  https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/category/100-day-project/