Friday, October 24, 2008

Flying Girl Just Says "Pooh Pooh!" or Tigerness

Flying Girl Just Says "Pooh Pooh!" or Tigerness
Golden Fluid Acrylic

This painting was inspired by Madeline, written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans, about our plucky little French girl who is not afraid of anything and loves to frighten Miss Clavel.

It took me FOREVER. First, I drew FG, then the tiger, and it was SO all wrong that I had to go into the kids' room after bedtime and risk waking them to get the illustration for reference. I'm glad I did, because I love that tiger, as you can see by my sketch and statement, below.
Tiger from Madeline
10/22/08 The Big Draw #22
Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen

But even after I got my reference, I had to stop and take a break before I could go back with fresh eyes and figure out what to do with the background. Sometimes, when the figures/foreground are working and I don't want to mess them up, the whole painting gets harder to do. The Fear sets in. Oh, and this is such the good topic for today's post. The fear of the tiger, the fear of myself, the fear of messing up, the fear of being exposed as a fraud or as simply mediocre.

In the end, I just painted the background flat green, then added the yellow ground. Then changed the colors of FG's outfit, then all of a sudden, wanting to give the feeling of the trees/jungle in the background of the illustration, but not wanting the clutter of actual trees, I decided a swirl pattern would do. Only reminiscent of foliage, and in a color only a shade lighter than the flat green, although I did bring the scroll down into the yellow. I didn't want too much contrast, because that would draw attention away from the foreground, and I do so love the tiger and the proper, fearless grown up Madeline/FG in her gloves and envelope purse. She should have had a hat, too, but I think she really liked her kicky bob and decided to forgo the hat, probably horrifying Miss Clavel in the process.

But back to the fear. Did I go off topic?

For some reason, this FG really reminded me of a collage I did almost ten years ago. It was probably one of the first successes I had with collage and began my journey with mixed media.Tigerness
Mixed media
Jan 1999 (?)

There is a poem in that there collage, one about not being afraid of my own tigerness. I would post it for you, but I can't read it behind the paint. I thought I would go through my folders and find a copy and post that one, but I couldn't find it there, either. I think it is in my files in storage, way up in Brooklyn.

This poem is so hidden. I can't find it. I think I meant to hide it. I think that's why it is so layered with paint. I think I was afraid of it, or perhaps afraid that it was bad. It is ironic, that in a piece about not being afraid, I was hiding my words.

But while I was looking for that one little poem, I went through a bunch of others and came to the conclusion... I'm a poet!

Gosh. I haven't written poetry in so long. I think I have come to think that I am not good at it. But while I was reading my old words, without the weight of being so close to them, I actually gasped a couple of times. "Damn girl!" I told myself.

So, you know what? I am going to face one of my fears... the fear of being a public poet... and I am going to post a poem, even if it doesn't fit completely with the post or with where I am in my life right now. To top it off, that will achieve one of the things on my list of things to do before I turn 38 in less than a month.

So here's the one I'm picking. It's about fear, kind of, and it's short enough not to be annoying. If you're not into poetry, just skip it. :)

First Spark

The smudge of you
like unidentified smoke filling the house.
I wake up one night
hands grasping the bed.
what is this I feel?
Joy and fear leapfrog each other,
clang up and down my fire escape.
Alarms and thrills go off, flashing lights and bells pulse
through my veins.

My heart and hands, shudder and shake.
They are supposed to know better-- They are the fools
in big hats and rubber boots-- come to save the day?
Crash and burn, destroy my house, drown my art
Bumble and bump in the crazy mostly dark inside my head.

I fall on my ass in this suddenly upside down room
this suddenly un-safe place.
The night is full of this sudden fire
and I am struck dumb
in its unexpectedness.

1/01 (Oh what a year that was.)


sukipoet said...

Tiger is mighty fun and fierce. Love the colors and FG's bravery in the face of the roar. You are so creative!! And this as a mother of 2 (I think?)

Robynsart said...

Wow... you definitely are a poet. Damn girl! What made you stop writing poetry? Do you ever think you'll return to it?

Rowena said...

robyn, I stopped writing poetry when I got pregnant with my first child (yes, suki, I have two, a 3 year old and a 19 month old). I stopped writing poetry and fiction and blogs and even my journal. I stopped painting and collaging and drawing. Any creativity I managed outside of bearing and caring for kids was like pulling teeth.

This is why I focused this year and in this blog on getting my creativity back. Because it was gone. G.O.N.E. That's where all this is coming from. Slow painful baby steps that got me far and still have a farther to go.

Will I ever go back to poetry? I don't know. I don't even know if I will try to publish some of my old ones. There are so many things to do and so little time. I probably will, but it's gonna take more babysteps.

soulbrush said...

anaother fresh and delighful piece of art, and i agree with the above, why did you stop? start again girl!

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