Alaskan Native memoir, Bad NDN, Blonde Indian, creative process, Erika Dreifus, Ernestine Hayes, faux embroidery art, Gaelic, Goodreads, graphic art, Imogen Robertson, Mud Woman, Nora Dauenhauer, Nora Naranjo Morse, pictures and frames, Poems from the Clay, Pueblo Indian, sketches, small town Mississippi, Sun Tracks, The Art of Slow Writing, the artful life, The Paris Winter, Tlingit Indian, translation, Women writers, work in progress
First off, let me just say how thrilling it is that my little notes on a creative life are inspiring others. Check out what Erika Dreifus is doing with the concept. Also, I finally figured out where I “borrowed” the series title from…see the Toulouse: Odd BIts of a LIfe in New Orleans blog.
I enjoy these type of entries from the actively creating best, so let me get on with it!
This week I’ve been experimenting with some kitschy cover designs that blend Lyra polycolor pencil with graphic layering techniques to create faux embroidery/faux embossing effects. Some small samples up above. This has been immensely fun, and I am going to try to emulate carved Northwest Coast formline and quilling effects next.
It is hard to top my love of the Westerman/Crowther historical mystery series, but Robertson has blown me away again. She has such a gift for vivid description that (I assume) comes from her TV/film directing days…her words actually transport you into a scene in a way that moves you along as if you are a character in a film yourself. The fact that this book features a struggling female artist and BRILLIANT catalogue notes (to this female painter’s exhibition) so beautifully dispersed into the narrative…it is…it is just like she has written it specifically for me.
Did I mention the main character’s interaction with Gertrude Stein in her famous salon with straight-up discussion on Picasso or the depth of Robertson’s research into the women’s ateliers of the time?
Then there is the dark twist of Part Two and the corresponding move of the tonal palette. I must dissect this some more to figure out how to replicate this setting of mood.
Also, I usually hate epi- and pro-logues, but in Robertson’s hands, they are like a shiny gold-frame and feel absolutely organic.
Have also felt compelled to make several sketches of the cover. A+ , Imogen, you’ve won me over again!
Ah! She sent me a lovely note on twitter after it posted, which set my little fangirl heart all aflutter. But ownward……………….
I also reread Mud Woman: Poems from the Clay (Sun Tracks) &
Blonde Indian: An Alaskan Native Memoir (Sun Tracks) this week and am about 2/5 through The Art of Slow Writing,
all of which have inspired me to slow down and enjoy the process of creating more.
I had forgotten how in Nora Naranjo-Morse’s preface notes (p. 15 in Mud Woman), she reveals that the Tewa (Pueblo) language has no word for ‘art’, but rather a phrase that in her words describes, “the concept of an artful life, filled with inspiration and fueled by labor and thoughtful approach.”
The Tlingit language too, lacks a true word for the term, using verbs with complicated tenses that relate the act of painting or weaving or carving, etc.. It makes one question all over again the very place and function of art within culture. But that is another debate.
I was also surprised to learn (from poet & Tlingit elder, Nora Dauenhauer) that ‘poetry’ too is missing in our tongue, coming across loosely in a phrase that roughly translated means “song language”.
I can not tell you how tickling this is for a friend of mine who works in music and on the side translates Scottish Gaelic ballads & poems. His exact phrasing was a bit more colorful than ‘tickling’, but it really rather lacks the merryiness in English, making my point. Maybe??
Anyway, inspired by artsy covers and what I am calling Robertson’s “pictures & frames” style in The Paris Winter (mentioned above), I assigned myself a half dozen mood-setting sketches to be set in the murky part of Mississippi called Creole that my grandparents used to live in. Here’s something from that endeavor:
At the end of a shell road, a rusted bridge rides low over an oily creek. Wild chickens roost in vine-choked trees of indeterminate colors and an army of fiddler crabs marches to its own chorus. The bridge used to lead to somewhere, but it’s all crumbled brick and cracked cinder-block now, tangled in more vegetation, except for one gray house that leans over a freshly swept porch. Its faded gauze curtains part for a bare-legged, freckled-faced girl that would rather pinch roach wings from her toes than bother with shoes.
Link back your own Works-in-progress, realbies. I know you active creators are out there ready, ready, ready to share!!!!