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Posts Tagged ‘imagination’

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upon a white sheet of paper and for some reason the petals reminded me of a ball gown and so I tried to draw little legs and high heeled shoes. My nine-year old friend said the shoes looked a bit like rabbits but we agreed that was okay. 🙂

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I suspect my perspective of these flowers, mostly planted in a median strip, are somewhat colored by having recently watched a documentary on the Hubble telescope. Enjoy, and have a good day, folks.

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Okay. So I’ve been thinking about this since spring really sprung and the oak that arches over the house finally leafed out. To sit with a big piece of white paper before me. To sketch a rectangle and then crisscross the rectangle with diagonal lines. And then with markers or even paint to place dabs of color on the branches to symbolize what I have seen. Red for the cardinals. Blue for the jays. A swoosh of gray for the squirrels. Yellowish-green for the finches. Black-specked brown for the sparrows. But what shall I do for the raccoon I saw yesterday? 🙂

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After confirming that the flowers were edible, Ricky of Ricky’s Market asked me to tell him how they tasted. Well, they don’t taste like much to me, but what wonderful brightness they add to a salad. Like sunlight.

I have to return to Ricky’s soon and I am contemplating picking up some white flowers. If I place their petals upon the dark green leaves of spinach and kale will I be reminded of the moon this time? We shall see. 🙂

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It can be hard to read a coffee table sized book while sitting on a Boston subway during rush hour. But that’s what I was trying to do after a visit to the library to retrieve the book Nature’s Chaos, a collaboration between photographer Eliot Porter and writer James Gleick. I sat snugly between, on my left, an older African fellow wearing a very puffy and, I’m sure, warm coat.  On my right sat a young Chinese boy wearing a very puffy and, I’m sure, warm coat. The little boy kept getting in trouble with his dad because he was a bit hyper.

I’d been waiting a long time for this book.  Carefully, very carefully, trying to respect the space of my neighbors, I opened up the book into a narrow V-shape. I figured the text I could read later, but I wanted a peek at Porter’s vast landscapes.  I could see a little but not enough.  Wider I opened the book.  I peered closely at the sweeping patterns in cracked mud and lava flows. There were leaves on water and sunset clouds.  As I lost myself in these scenes, perhaps the book fell open wider still because all of a sudden I noticed something.

Now the African gentleman was a bit more subtle but I could tell he was looking at the book with me. He’d adjust his glasses as I turned a page and every now and then he’d bend over slightly, trying to see the cover to find out what in the world I was looking at. The little boy hadn’t learned how to be subtle. He just peered right over my arm. I didn’t bother looking at his dad. I just began pointing out features on the page to the boy. Occasionally I’d drag my finger along a seemingly mundane scene, like orange flowers in a green field or vines on a tree trunk. I’d say softly, “That’s pretty cool, hunh?” His eyes never leaving the page, he’d nod and say softly, “Yeah.”

On the last page, I made a dramatic show of closing the book and saying in a little louder voice, “And that’s it!” The little boy (and the gentleman too I suppose) slid back into his chair.  His father whispered to him.  The little boy looked up at me.

“Thank you,” he said.

I smiled. “You’re welcome.”

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It must be a sign of the times that as I flipped through Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination as illustrated by Harry Clarke, I could not help but think what a great adult coloring book these illustrations would make. Perhaps not all of the illustrations … unless you’re into zombies and the Walking Dead. But these scenes from Poe’s short story Morella

and these from The Colloquy of Monos and Una called to me with their flower and nature imagery.  Harry Clarke (1889-1931) is perhaps more widely known for his stained glass work. Whether working with glass or with paper for his book illustrations, I wonder at the sources of his creative vision. I’m not always sure why I am inspired to do something but it sure is fun to take time to explore the possibilities. And to talk with other artists about their influences.

I can’t talk with Mr. Clarke but I am lucky enough to have access to a number of artists in my local community. Stay tuned for future updates about artists and their inspirations.

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Exvoto Family by Adriana Prat, image courtesy of the artist

Ex-voto Family by Adriana Prat, image courtesy of the artist

After an extremely successful opening reception in February, the Riverside Gallery will be extending the Words in Our Work Exhibit into early April with a closing reception scheduled for Sunday, April 10th, from 3:00-5:00 PM.  The distinctly different works of 9 fine artists are on display, all of whom weave words into their visual arts.  In February, it was my pleasure to share a conversation with one of the featured artists, Cedric Harper.  Images in this post are provided by another featured artist, Adriana Prat. Originally from Argentina and now living in Cambridge, I first met Adriana through the Riverside Gallery at the Cambridge Community Center where she is the gallery co-director as well as co-curator of this exhibit.

Exvoto Saint N by Adriana Prat, image courtesy of the artist

Ex-voto Saint N by Adriana Prat, image courtesy of the artist

Over the course of several previous exhibits, I’d come to admire the beauty of Adriana’s bright-hued paintings often in oil and acrylic. So when I walked into the Words in Our Work Exhibit I was immediately struck by the difference of these works, the ephemeral nature of layered and textured papers, floating in their frames, and throughout Adriana’s beautiful handwritten script. When I asked her about the inspiration for these works, this is what she shared:

image courtesy of the artist

Ex-Voto Cosmos by Adriana Prat, image courtesy of the artist

The pieces installed at the WiOW show were inspired by nostalgia and gratitude.  Nostalgia because they are pieces specifically composed of “treasures” found in my studio: past paintings, materials, forgotten “souls” at some point considered inadequate, neglected or that were simply waiting for their opportunity to belong in a more introspective collection which comes up from meditations about time passing.  Things that were lost that brought much needed found to my life.”

Ex-Voto Cosmos by Adriana Prat, image courtesy of the artist

Ex-Voto House of My Dreams by Adriana Prat, image courtesy of the artist

“Why gratitude? Inspired by my attraction to ex-votos which are votive offerings made to a saint or to a divinity, in fulfillment of a vow or miracle.  I first discovered them in my beloved Mexico. My small collection of abstract “ex-votos” stretches the boundaries of the traditional narrative images telling a personal story of a miracle or favor received, and therefore rendering my own vision to express my appreciation to the world that surrounds, nurtures and inspires me.

It is a delight to interact with Adriana, to talk about art and her unique perspectives of the world. Learn more about her at www.agprat.com.  Meet her and several other fine artists in person at the closing reception for Words in Our Work, Sunday, April 10th, 3:00-5:00 PM at the Riverside Gallery.

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