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"


Unknown said...

I love your Shelley artwork! I'm a Shelleyan scholar, so I'm apt to appreciate most Shelley references, but I particularly enjoy your artistry and your poem choice. Cheers!

Patience said...

Dear Brandy, thank you so much for the kind words regarding my painting, I really appreciate your taking the time to comment -- and how fascinating that you are a Shelleyan scholar..! I myself enjoy classical literature of all ilk, and do find the Shelley's particularly intriguing...! Given your background, perhaps you might enjoy another painting I did, about a year ago, which was a tribute to Mary. After reading your comment, I realized that like a dum-dum I'd forgotten to reference that painting in this post here, despite the tie between the two, when I wrote it (eh, I forget to cross reference all the time ;-P ) -- so I thank you for that reminder (and have edited and revised my original post in kind!). My painting was a lovingly tongue-in-cheeked reference to TWO Mary's: Mary Shelley, and Mary Cassatt. The link to Mary's post is here for cutting/pasting (though I also added to my text above): . And again, thanks so much, Brandy -- it's lovely hearing from you and please stop by again :-)