Our spring has been so wet. I love the feeling of the rain. Sorry, but it brings a wave of poetry on, especially e.e. cummings and Dylan Thomas– puddles, mud, and the green fuse that drives the flower. The image below is absolutely spontaneous, a world created by splashes, generative worlds of watery spring.
What can you do when an art piece is wonderful and you had no part in it? There is nothing to do with this page of the National Geographic, altered by Citra Solv splashed on it and left to dry on a line, other than to toss it into a pile of other paintings as relentlessly beautiful as a pile of autumn leaves.
Many do show these, of course, or mount them and sell them on Etsy. I use them as collage pieces in paintings sometimes. Every single one of them is a delightful gift from a great spring or source somewhere. Of course, they are a combination of someone’s masterful photography and the Geo’s fantastic printing process, so each one contains seed germs of both talent and technology, an aesthetic DNA ready to abstractly bust out.
I think that these little altered National Geographic pictures are just evidence of a great Grace, grace without effort. I find it unfair that these are so beautiful and that I have to work so hard to make paintings. It’s unfair, but unfair in the right direction.
My mother was given a lifetime subscription to National Geographic in 1929, so these magazines have always been a part of my life. Each one is embedded with worlds of adventure in soy-based ink, released on the application of Citra Solv. Do you remember flipping through them as a child, seeking breasts or beasts? Were you forbidden to cut them up or destroy them?
It’s humbling to see what nature, chance, and the hand of others– the photographs we so relentlessly destroy to turn them into something else— can bring. It’s a form of faith rising after destruction. Exhilarating. Spring, after winter.
Studio Notes: In the March Spontaneous Construction class, Judy Ludovise conducted a Citra Solv segment. Thank you so much, Judy! I am fortunate to know two artists who have been featured as CitraSolv’s Artist of the Month, Judy Ludovise and Susan Cornelis. For complete instructions on how to use CitraSolv to alter magazines, please visit the Citra Solv website.
Mythic notes: Here’s a Dylan Thomas poem for spring. There are so many images here of dripping, whirlpools, fountains, and natural accidents of love; this reminds me of painting with water media. I have always loved the phrase “green age.” It’s what we can hope for.
THE FORCE THAT THROUGH THE GREEN FUSE DRIVES THE FLOWER
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.
The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.
The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.
The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.
And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.