NEW PROJECT FOR 2017/18: I am thrilled to be presently working on a new collaboration with Malcolm Guite. Malcolm is the featured in seven (and more to come) of my portraits. What an honour to be asked by this great poet to illustrate the lines of his roundrels for Seven Whole Days.
The poems are inspired by the Genesis account of creation, consisting of seven parts. There are 10 lines of text per day of creation, totalling 70 lines. Malcolm wanted to create an art book based on his interpretation of the first two chapters of Genesis.
I proposed a series of 63 paintings. Visually, all of the paintings are my own interpretation of each line of the poems, incorporating word art. Malcolm wrote out the poetry by hand for me, and I am including his handwriting in each painting. Sometimes it’s hidden, and sometimes it’s quite obvious.
The paintings intermingle the human figure and nature, using earthy colours, celestial skies and much contrast of light and dark.
Memorizing the poetry was the beginning of my inspiration. Reciting the poetry helps me to digest the words on a daily basis. Sometimes ideas for a particular painting popped into my mind as I drove or walked. It was truly an adventure interpreting the poet’s words into art.
Collaboration. Without it, many great works would not exist today. Having just read Diana Glyer’s book, Bandersnatch, I discovered that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series may not exist today had it not been for collaborating with other writers. Glyer says,“There’s a need for community AND a need for solitude. How we manage the two will be different not only for different people but also for different stages of a project or in different seasons of life.”
Diana describes in great detail the efforts of the eclectic group of writers, The Inklings, who read chapters of their books and poetry to each other weekly for encouragement, criticism and new ideas. Her book fascinated me, as I have collaborated with many people in my own art. Most of my paintings would not exist today without collaborating with singer/songwriter Steve Bell, poet Malcolm Guite, photographer Lancia E. Smith, author Paul H. Boge and many others.
The original paintings for “Seven Whole Days” are scheduled to be shown at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery in Winnipeg. March 16 – May 5th, 2018.