Inspiration from Words


As much as I love color and shapes and textures—in that I paint and sew and play music (yes, that's a medium that fits here)—I also love words—in that I read and write and ponder.


What I find really exciting is when these things merge to create something that makes me gasp. I confess I have not always appreciated pink and rarely wear it, but I have a tube of light pink that I find interesting. It's Gamblin's 1980 Blush, actually.


It blends well with warm white to make various values of the straight-from-the-tube stuff, and when paired with a sage green and soft blue, it's dreamy. This painting I have pictured here is dreamy, in fact, like a cloud scape or the colors you see when a star is being formed or when you imagine floating on another kind of plane than the one we're on. Sorry if that sounds a little nutty—I really don't believe I can travel from plane to plane, but in my imagination, I can go anywhere.


So, where does this kind of inspiration come form? What kinds of words? In this case–in my case always—it comes from poetry. In my found-object assemblage work, I discovered a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins titled "Heaven-Haven: A nun takes the veil." It reads as follows:


I have desired to go     

Where springs not fail,

To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail   

And a few lilies blow.    


And I have asked to be 

Where no storms come,

Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,   

And out of the swing of the sea.


Hopkins was a Victorian poet and priest, so he was thinking of the Christian Heaven here, but reading the words without knowing his background, don't we all want this, not just on some other plane but right here where we're standing?


I literally wrote the words to this poem into the wax and oil on this painting, calling out the line "out of the swing of the sea," desiring a life with calm seas as much as possible. Right now. Right this minute. Right where I stand.


Now, when I see this painting, I imagine walking on the road of pink cloud with the vast universe around me, safe in my travels, where flies no sharp and sided hail, where no storms come, and perhaps where a few lilies blow.


PS: this is a 24x36 birch panel painted with cold wax, oil and R&F paint sticks. I used linen and a brayer for added texture and depth and a wooden skewer for writing.


#Gamblin1980 #GerardManleyHopkins #coldwaxandoil #artisticinspiration #paintsticks

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