Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: The Picture That Was Made

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
garage
peeling jumble of windows doors purposes

apartment
up a flight of rickety
stairs don’t look safe but must be
proof
a man stomps on out the apartment door
lights up soon as he sets foot on the landing
and
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
concentrate on
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.

bees buzz.

5/1/20
5/4/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 28

Kitchen

Here is a view of my kitchen.

And here it is, in pen with a little bit of gouache to color it, in my 8″ x 8″ sketchbook. Sometimes there is a good scene right in front of your eyes to draw. From August 2021.

Pharmacy

One million years ago, in my college years, the following scene was very familiar to me. Here’s the story: I went to Bryn Mawr College, a short walk from the town center of Bryn Mawr, PA. This pharmacy, Parvin’s, was there then looking pretty much as it does now. It was on my regular shopping route of bank, card shop, and pharmacy, and is right down the street from the train station.

In July 2021 my husband and I went to the farmers’ market in the town square parking lot and I took this photo. The card shop is gone (it was next door) but the bank is still there. And Parvin’s! I made a pen drawing of the scene in my 8×8 sketch book.

Of course I have seen the building many times since my college years, but somehow it seemed that now was the time to set it more firmly in memory in this manner. I guess I am getting old and nostalgic.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: Half in This World Half Yet to Arrive

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.

Half in This World Half Yet to Arrive

In what fairy tale did you speak your first words?
What magic made you
a flower in a garden a wise frog friend
a seer
wearing a mended apron and a divided mind
who sees me as I am with one eye
and with the other
knows me as I might be?

What spell cast over your house knitted its roof
embroidered its windows
What hand colored in the empty spaces
with feathered strokes of hope?

5/1/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 27

Inner Circle

Does anyone remember this wall hanging in process? Well, now it’s finished. Here’s what I did to get to this status.

I spent a lot of thinking about how to give the piece more weight and presence,taking into consideration my skills and my eyesight limitations. I want to extend my thanks to Leonie Andrews, who took a lot of time and consideration of the piece in coming up with several suggestions. She really helped me figure out what I wanted this piece to be, from a fabric standpoint.

Because – though the images are drawn, the fact that they are on fabric makes the piece different from a painting on canvas or ink on paper.

In the end, I used skills that I am familiar with and practiced in from my days in making fabric wall hangings (my first real venture into the art world, I made and sold appliqued wall hangings from about 1996-2001 or so).

I used very thin batting and a backing for the piece, so I had three layers to work with. I did free-motion stitching all over the piece in different colors of thread that I felt complemented but did not compete with the images.

My version of this technique consists of driving around the piece as fast as possible and paying no attention to the pattern the thread makes or inconsistent stitch lengths and so on. I just try to get a nice amount of thread holding all the layers together in a way that looks good to me.

I left a few areas without stitching, or with less stitching, but mostly I really laid that thread down. I just like the flatter look for this piece.

Then I put a black binding around it plus a hanging sleeve and voila! All done.

Here are some detail photos.

Well, there you have it. The serendipity of scrawling some images on fabric to test out paints and markers transformed into something more. I named the piece “Inner Circle” because I think these creatures are all part of a tight little society that landed on my fabric.

Tiny House in the Wild

I had forgotten I took photos of Tiny House 1 outside in my yard. It looks like it fits in quite well, very comfortably, right? Let’s stop by and see if anyone is at home.

But wait, before you go – do you want to see the other tiny houses that my classmates made? In October we had a virtual tiny house tour and our teacher made a great slide show. Look here: Tiny House Tour Fall 2021 .

Random Event

I snapped this photo at the grocery store outdoor cafe. By mistake. Somehow it appeared on my photo list. Well, I liked it and I can’t say why, so I kept it, and now I’m showing it to you. Sometimes things just seem to want to be seen, don’t they?

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: The Dreamworld Asks a Very Good Question

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 Dreamworld
Asks a Very Good Question

You who watch us as we approach and pass –
a Jester in green rainboots a Chicken
grinning with all his teeth – and then
there is you
and your sideways glance away –
Who are you with your two minds
and both so disapproving?

Oh foolish creature
with your sub-divided thoughts
who looks askance at our outfits
our strut our prance
our chests-out brass-band confidence
our big smiles. We know who we are.
Can you say the same?

5/1/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 26