Wake the Day

One of the men in my neighbourhood heard I studied fine arts. He’s in a band that was doing a fundraiser for cancer. He asked, if he provided the supplies, could I create a painting of the album’s title song that could be auctioned off at the CD release party? As he was very persistent, I eventually agreed. Then I tinkered around on Facebook, as one is wont to do when the clock is ticking, while listening to the song, by After Autumn, which is sort of sweet and sad and ultimately about not giving up.

I had no idea what to put on that blank canvas staring at me. I thought of a tree with the lyrics branching out of it. Then I realized that I’d rather do a portrait, which made me imagine a face that was open, strong, determined, and neither smiling nor frowning. Something Mona Lisa-esque. I remembered a profile picture of a Facebook friend, which I downloaded and began replicating. While staring at the tiny digital image on my screen, I gave the wonderfully expansive, egg-shell white canvas some of the broad strokes of my friend Silvia’s distinctive features: her resolute jaw and cheekbones; Jackie O wide eyes; generous, enigmatic mouth; and broad swish of eyebrows. The photo of Silvia I had chosen pleased me greatly as it had high contrasts of light and shadow, just like Silvia’s personality. She’s a tough kitten with a big heart and wicked sense of humour — a feisty, dark, cerebral beauty.

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Please excuse the thumb I rely on it for proportioning.

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Yes, the midcentury glass bowl was full of paint by the end.

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Ah, red.

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I finished the painting on stage with the band at their CD release party, as they played “Wake the Day.” The lyrics are painted in her hair. I hope you like it, dear reader.

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Poetry fettered, fetters the human race. Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry, painting, and music are destroyed or flourish.”

—William Blake, born today in 1757, London (d.  1827.)

William Blake, ‘Jacob’s Ladder,’ 1800, Watercolour. British Museum, London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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