Last week Kim had this brilliant idea for a warm up. You paint squares of colour on a journal page and then doodle a different little face in each square. I couldn't wait to have a go and this is what I came up with. I love doodling, so I ended up not with just a different face in each square; but faces all around too!
I thought how each of these faces, sketched onto Inktense water-colour pencil 'windows' in a fine-liner might have a story to tell. I was reminded of a book I read back in the 'eighties called 'The Mad Woman in the Attic', the two authors explored the idea that women in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries often felt their stories were just not important enough to tell, that their lives would not interest readers or that for them to write about violence or passion would be just too shocking for audiences to take! Women writers would often keep their identities secret, assume male names or names that did not particularly give a clue to any gender. It is sad not to be able to be open about who or what you are, but writing under another name or staying anonymous could be liberating too! This reminded me of a poem by Emily Dickinson that made me think about identity and how it can restrict you. I began to scribble it around my little pictures.
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody too?
Then there's a pair of us,
They'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody
Like a frog,
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
Emily Dickinson with her reclusive life wrote some very beautiful and penetrating poetry even though she would have hated to have to be in the public eye and there will always be a sense of mystery around her.
For the facing page I decided to attempt a portrait of Emily Dickinson herself, using a base of PaperArtsy Frescos in Blush and Nougat with a layer of Inktense and some collaged lace.
I wanted the page to have an ethereal quality, so I used some Chalk Fresco over the lace and stamped the feathers from a Lynne Perrella stamp set in white, Taupe and Smurf.
I gave the Belle of Amherst a little white embossed crown and stamped lightly with Chalk Fresco using a Sara Nauman stamp with the word 'Images' on it.
I liked the way that the white paint on the stamp made the blue Inktense seem like a ghostly writing over the dress. In Emily's portrait photo there is a kind of intense yet unworldly vivacity about her and I wanted the colours and images to evoke this. There is a quality in her poetry that is hard to define - simplicity of diction coupled with complexity of thought, everyday imagery that makes us see the world around us with sharper vision.
Hope is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops at all -
And - sweetest in the Gale - is heard
And sore must be the Storm -
That could abash the little bird -
That kept so many warm -
I've heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never in Extremity -
It asked a crumb - of me.
Thank you so much for stopping by today and pausing for a moment to look at portraits of women. I hope that you will have a wonderful weekend with lots of opportunities for creative self-expression.