You may know that in addition to my artwork I also write poetry (posted on my blog Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?). For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.
I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.
I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.
The Picture That Was Made
washed-in blue-gray sky
hovers over tired
sallow yellow stained stucco
peeling jumble of windows doors purposes
up a flight of rickety
stairs don’t look safe but must be
a man stomps on out the apartment door
lights up soon as he sets foot on the landing
he does not fall through.
Cloud of smoke wrap him up.
dead tree peels itself
sheds bark on grass rough-cut some time back
sheds shadow on row of sunflowers
they shift twist sway in the wind
inch by inch inching into the sky
their huge ragged-edge dinner plate heads
seeds planted by who knows who
could be somebody with an idea
that things could be another way could be
wanting some color could be liked the look of
sunflowers framed by a kitchen window.
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 28
Nice drawing/painting, and I love this poem, Claudia. Your imagery is so often surprising and unique — something to stop and savor — e.g., “their huge ragged-edge dinner plate heads”! The idea of a dead tree peeling itself also is staying with me.
Thank you. I like thinking aboutwhat something looks like and trying to put it into words. I find it is not easy always to describe what I see, it takes slowing down and letting the words come to me.
It sounds like you’re making yourself truly receptive to what you’re seeing. Or more like “letting yourself be truly receptive,” instead of trying to force something to happen. Maybe this is why I see you as such an explorer.
Thank you. I have always thought this quality was maybe not so good, I do struggle for words in everyday life lots of times, but I really like words (as a child I used to “read” the dictionary, just enjoying flipping through and meeting new words, imagine what if I had known there was such a thing as a thesaurus then???) and eventually the words come to me one way or another.