Every year, for eighteen years, I have produced a card for Help Musicians. As each year passes it becomes more difficult, but this year’s image came in like a blast of vision. I’d spent a very hard year working on The Lost Words. This would be something very different, so, get a cup of tea, and come with me on a painting journey.
It began with a flash, an image, in the mind’s eye. Then came the task of drawing it out. It’s a long story. You will need that cup of tea if you are coming with me.
It began in a short novel I am working on. The idea being, having written The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow around past designs I would work on a novel that linked to this year’s image. Hmmm, great idea, but… well, I don’t have the same control over my writing as some authors do and although the novel contains characters from the last card, it ended in a very different place from where I thought it was going. Still working on that one. It was supposed to end at a carousel….
But then the card went in its own direction too.
Unsure of where this had come from I thought it best to follow, stretched paper, began work. A big piece like this takes a long time. I worked on it, went away, came back, continued. The novel still waits, needs editing, reshaping, and I think this piece may have become an answer to a question….. but, sorry, back to this….
I use watercolour, Arches hot pressed paper. Over weeks I have painted.
Some years ago, I think on twitter, someone commented that the Song of the Angel Cat design reminded them of Eighteen Songs of the Nomad Flute. I looked it up, bought the book, and yes.
I can see why. This book was propped up on the floor, by my drawing boards, and i think it has crept into my subconscious to rise again in this year’s card. At some point I would love to retell this story in novel form with images, and this will lead me on to my next blog post, about ‘cultural appropriation’. For now, I love the echoes and ripples….
Also, stuck to my ceiling above my desk:
‘The woods are lovely dark and deep,
but I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep’
this beautiful card by Mary Fedden. I love her word. I love woods. And though the card began by being called the Running of the deer it’s now called Out of the Woods.
These things ripple through the image, and I would blog about the difference between plagiarism and influence, but that subject is so dull, and those who copy other people’s work and ideas know the truth of it in their souls.
For anyone interested enough I will put up images of this work in progress on another page. It’s almost done now. Just letting it settle and doodling with areas to pull all together. The cards will be available from Help Musicians soon and I will try and let people know when. The painting is for sale at The House of Golden Dreams
Prints will also be available.
So, still working on the novel, wondering whether to write a short story about this card, but I think it will work its way into the novel after all, but meanwhile if you want more The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow is a picture book for grown ups published by Graffeg. Signed copies available from Solva Woollen Mill, along with a smaller, blank notebook for Quiet Thoughts.