Sometimes when a photograph has been accepted for publication, the editor has asked me for the “story behind the picture.” Similarly, when my little four-year old friend sees some of my work with colored papers, she often asks, “Why did you do that?” And since she is looking at me intently waiting for an answer, I take a deep breath and try to share with her the story of why I made a sky green and a blade of grass blue. Well, on this quiet afternoon, I decided to share with you some of the stories behind my most recent works on paper. Mostly they were done at night, to help me settle my brain before bed, by doing something different with my hands.
The story: In reading “The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats,” I was reminded of that striking scene in the picture book, The Snowy Day, when the little boy stands outside and is looking back at his footprints tracked through the snow. No footprints did I draw, but a trail of red leaves did come to mind, touched by sunlight.
The story: One day, while researching how trees have been expressed in art, I chanced upon Gustav Klimt’s Tree of Life. I was aware of Klimt’s striking female forms, but new to me was his tree with branches spiraling against a solid sky. I wondered what such branches would look like dotted with leaves made of Japanese paper.
The story: Speaking of Japan … a lovely woman sent me the children’s picture book, Little Pictures of Japan. For me, the book’s cover is evocative of looking through a rounded Japanese window into a garden. The image stuck with me so I decided to assemble what I imagined I’d see peering through such a window on a moonlit night. And finally …
The story: I found a cache of white and gray papers and an old set of watercolors I’d forgotten about. Nothing fancy, just simple lines and washes of color. For Somerville Open Studios 2012, I’ve decided to reproduce some of these works as postcards. We’ll see. Meanwhile, other paperworks can be found here.