Saturday, February 11, 2012

Poetry And Art

Well I've had a busy week "finishing" my poetry book. Here's the cover; which is a combination of Photoshop and some of the watercols...

Overall I've painted 119 watercols so far for this. I had to be quick and this meant that some were better than others but generally I got better as I did more. Sometimes I erred on the side of simplicity, like "I Want to be a Windmill" here, where I decided to "splot" the windmill shape instead of aim for something exact. The more exact I aimed for, the harder things got.

I also used my general philosophy of it's not how well you paint, but what you paint that matters. The poem "Clifftop" is about two people running over grass and leaping off a cliff, and then flying, a relationship allegory. That image is good enough alone. It doesn't matter how well it's painted, or how fine the words are, providing you've conveyed that basic story, it will do.

After the paintings were done I scanned them in and put them into the book; 400 pages. I looked up the price and found out that it would cost over £50 (inc. postage) to print one copy. I knew it would be expensive. I had several options but my plan now is to print two editions, one cheaper paperback in monochrome and one hardback in full colour. The hardback would cost £100 and be limited to 100 copies. That fact made me want to add more to it, more colour, more illustrations to make it a unique poetry book. Uniquely beautiful, precious, expensive, a work of art in itself in equal to any painting or print of that price.

As such I decided to add at least a background to every page. Then I painted 12 new full-page illustrations for each month (there is one poem per day for a year in the book, so each chapter is a "month"). Then I painted 64 new illustrations that are simple ink blots of colour to accompany some of the other poems. Those are the closest thing to abstract expressionist paintings I've ever done! See...

But I've tried to relate each one to the poem too, reading through as I painted. One main aim was to make it bright and intense so that the full colour book was as bright and wonderful as possible. I'm hosting a poetry night in April so I want to have at least one copy ready for then. That gives me a tight deadline. I'll keep adding content until the last minute and then print a copy, and a few monochrome ones.

I'm starting to feel like a proper artist now. In other news I'm having a meeting on Monday with some art students at the local university campus. I want to design and stage a performance to accompany my Love Symphony; which itself will be released on Tuesday, and I've just finished my first oil painting of the year too; Prometheus as a Turkey Being Eaten by a Peacock.

So, doing lots is one reason why my blog entries are long these days. I should try to make them shorter. I know it would be easier to read and that more people would. Thank you for getting this far. I suppose if I knew more people in my life who were interested in my art I'd talk to them instead of typing my thoughts to the Internet. Perhaps I'd make less art too, not needing to communicate to "everyone". But who can say. I have many special friends, and I'll be going to Birmingham Museum with the closest one tomorrow, but my Valentine this year will be art, and I'm as filled with as much love for it as ever.

I'll end this post with a poem from the book.

The Fragile Rose

The rolling ocean
swells and flows.
The cold rain falls
upon the rose.
The rising water on her neck.
She raises arms to distant skies.
Friends flock and fly,
swarm and chatter far away.
The fragile flower breathes the day,
and seeks escape, a path to follow,
but all she can do is avoid the sea,
and wait to avoid it again tomorrow.


John Salmon said...

I read it all Mark. I look forward to reading your posts.

Arena Shawn said...

I really love the imagery contained in your poems -- as you said, it's not how you paint it, but what you paint. I guess that's precisely why your art caught my eye when I first landed here. There is a story, a dream, a few fainted words behind each image, at least to me, that's what it seems.

I can't attend your poetry reading since we are literally separated by the ocean, nevertheless I would look forward to the book. I can imagine it to be a beautiful work of art.

You said that you should keep the blog entries short since people are impatient of reading long paragraphs of words these days. It is quite sad. I've remembered reading an entry of a online marketing coach blog, which mentioned precisely that -- keep your art blog entries short since potential customers often do not have the patience to read through long paragraphs before to reach the image. I remember feeling quite sad when reading that -- I know a blog is supposedly very effective way of showcasing and hence marketing your art, but what about making connections to like-minded people, people who would like to know a bit more than the title and price of each piece? ... I thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts, and I will slowly read backwards to see what you have posted before. I am a fast reader so at least to me, length is not a problem.

keep them coming. :-)

Mark Sheeky said...

Thanks for the inspiring words. Yes you're right. If I need to type lots I need to type lots. That's all there is to it.

Eva said...

I read you post Mark and enjoyed and related to so much of it. Finding off-line friends that can relate to our art isn't always easy. I liked your cover and enjoyed your poem. Good luck with your book!

Mark Sheeky said...

Thanks Eva. In a way, art is just like any other form of communication but with brighter colours.