Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Tennyson's Dragon-Fly", My Nibblefest Contest Entry for Sept's "DRAGONFLIES" Theme


"Tennyson's Dragon-Fly", acrylics on a found, 5x7 wood plaque

It's time yet again for the fun that is this monthly art contest.

September's theme is 'Dragonflies', and here is my interpretation.  Another in a series of personal tributes to classic literary poets, this piece is an ode to the famed Victorian English gentleman, Alfred Lord Tennyson, author of the short-but-sweet, 1833 poem entitled, 
"The Dragon-Fly".

Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson is NOT amused.

The following is my auction description...:

~"Tennyson's Dragon-fly"~

My entry for this month's Nibblefest Art Contest (NFAC),  the theme for September being 'Dragonflies', features a portrait painted in loving tribute to the English, Victorian-era poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson. 

Alfred Lord Tennyson, author and British poet laureate hand-selected by Queen Victoria herself, was extremely popular during his lifetime, while continuing to be much admired yet today.  He lived for much of his life in the country, often writing poetry describing the natural world around him.  The following short poem was one written by Tennyson in 1833, which, as part of my ongoing Poet Tribute Series, I used as my inspiration this month (with the first two lines of the poem written along the edges of the painting)...:

The Dragon-fly
By Alfred Lord Tennyson

Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro' crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew

 Using a 5 x 7 found wooden plaque, this original, "Tennyson's Dragon-fly", is painted on all its beveled sides, signed, and ready to hang.....

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Entry, 'Percy Shelley: On a Faded Violet,' For EBSQ "State Flowers" Show

"Percy Shelley:
On a Faded Violet"

"Percy Shelley: On a Faded Violet" acrylics on 9 x 6 Oval Plaque

Another show, another entry.  This time, it was the August '15, EBSQ 'State Flowers' exhibit.  EBSQ, the online art community I've long been a member of, once hosted several themed shows each month.  But starting in January '15, this was reduced to a single monthly theme.  August's theme was 'State and National Flowers' -- a throwback to when there was a different flower theme every month, which EBSQ hosted for a decade and which was popular with botanical and still-life artists.  I'm neither of those per se, so if I was going to participate last month, I was going to have to make this single August EBSQ theme work for me....

Side View

The following is my artist statement....:

This painting,"Percy Shelley: On a Faded Violet", is my entry for the EBSQ August 2015 "State Flowers" exhibit.

I've lived in two states in my lifetime, Illinois and Wisconsin.  It just so happens that the official flower for both states... is the Violet.  Even though show participants could have painted any flower associated with any state for this exhibit regardless where they live, I took this wee coincidence as a sign that I had best paint a violet in some fashion or another....

And so naturally, as those familiar with my work know I am want to do (because I am an admitted geekish book-nerd), I looked for inspiration amongst one of my favorite sources:  Classic Western Poetry.  Thanks to the help of a good friend, I found it in this little poem, written as it was in 1818 by one of England's most renowned poets of the Romantic era, Percy Bysshe Shelley...:

On a Faded Violet,
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The odour from the flower is gone

Which like the kisses breather on me;

The colour from the flower is flown

Which glowed of thee and only thee!

A shrivelled, lifeless, vacant form,

It lies on my abandoned breast;

And mocks the heart, which yet is warm

With cold and silent rest.

I weep -- my tears revive it not;

I sigh -- it breathes no more on me:

Its must and uncomplaining lot

Is such as mine should be.


Being as that Mr. Shelley is best known for his lengthy, verbose Epic Poetry, this wee rhyme might be considered down-right succinct in comparison.  Short yet sweet (or bittersweet in this case), I was moved by the romance and poignancy of Shelley's few, carefully chosen lines (all the more so in light of Shelley's own highly unconventional and complicated personal life....!).  As such I chose to paint a portrait in tribute to this master poet, with a sad, drooping blossom perched dispiritedly upon his collar, and deep melancholy in his eyes.  Though the flower may be faded, I made up for its lack of color by painting the background a brilliant violet hue (one of my favorite colors which sadly I don't often find myself occasion to use), while adding in script the first line of the poem around the edge of the painting.

This piece, "Percy Shelley: "On a Faded Violet...", is my latest in a long series of painted odes in personal tribute to my favorite literary authors and poets....



This piece is actually the 2nd in a wee series of tributes to the Shelley's, my first being a fanciful portrait of Percy's wife, 
Mary Shelley....:

"The Monster's Bath", my little painted tribute to both Mary Shelley, and Mary Cassatt

Mary Shelley, and Mary Cassatt).  

And so, having 'done' Mary S., I guess it seemed timely to, in turn, 'do' Percy S. ...:

My entry, "Percy Shelley: On a Faded Violet"