Late 2013, early 2014 I had the privilege of working with poet Alister Englehart on a few projects exploring the relationship between visual and written art. Throughout this process we went back and forth creating original works then using those as a basis to create others. In the first project, The Captain, it was my challenge to paint from an original poem. Next, I completed The Raptor, a painting that Alister used as the basis of his poem. Finally, Grey was turned from written to visual language. Below are these three projects. Click on the picture to see the full image, details, and more.
Waves swell higher and higher as I battle towards the shore in sight.
My hands clasp the wheel tighter and tighter while hills of foam rage and surge around me.
Fear grabs hold and claws pierce as dark clouds threaten to swallow the land before me.
Its green canopy had entered my vision the day before, excitement growing with each hour
Dreamt adventures lay waiting.
Dark shadows devour joy as thoughts of warm sand under feet dash frantically about my mind.
The wooden pegs dig into my hands as I fight to keep the green trees in sight
Body and mind cry out louder and louder as yet another branch vanishes from view.
His hand settles on my shoulder. I dare not turn lest I lose sight, but I know the Captain’s strong grip.
“Let go.” he whispers in my ear, firmly yet gently.
The claws are still deep and my hold eases ever so slightly.
“Let go.” he whispers yet again, patiently. “I know the way.”
As the quiet whispers continue, the grip on my heart begins to lessen
One hand slides slowly off the wheel. A few moments later, the other falls to my side.
The Captain places his weathered hands confidently onto the aged wood, and his hands cross quickly over and over.
Dismay settles as I realize that his way does not lead to the island, but exhaustion silences my protest.
His grip relaxes as the bow turns to face the morning sun.
Rays of warmth fall upon my face as the last tree fades into mist at my back.
There is nothing save the vast blue expanse before us, and the Captain smiles broadly.
“I know the way,” he says. As our ship glides through calm waters, doubts subside into peace.
We sail on into the warmth of the Sun, a smile slowly finds its way across my face.
Promised adventures lay waiting.
Comfort lies below.
A home of ease.
The air is still.
The bars are known.
Beauty lies above.
There is no tree. No nest.
All seems unfamiliar.
Wings raise tentatively.
But the heart deceives.
Captivity is its mother.
Only urging. Never ushering.
The sky beckons.
Light unto light.
A quiet voice, though never gone.
Wings rise and fall.
A breeze swells underneath.
Bars fade far below.
All is familiar.
Grey streets. Rain trickles down dark windows.
No laughter now. No smiles.
Knocks bring only blank eyes.
A depth of solitude greater than silence.
Wind bites at bare skin.
Another door closes.
Tears offer fleeting warmth.
The street has no end.
A coat slides over shoulders.
Strong arms cradle.
In his eyes, are clear skies.
Wilted joy grows new buds.
Arms wrap tightly.
Home lies behind no door.
Her eyelids close.
His smile broadens