12" x 16" acrylic painted papers on wc paper
The above piece was completed this week and is based on my reading in Colossus by Michael Hiltzik. The book describes the planning and building of Hoover Dam. If you aren't familiar with the dam or the history surrounding it this book is a great introduction. One of the ideas that really stuck with me was the issue of safety. It's really impossible to imagine what these men were asked to do in the desert, in the heat, and under some of the worst working conditions imaginable. The descriptions of the various accidents was horrific. And while my piece may seem playful or not too serious, I am not slighting the gravity of the subject.
I chose some imagery that I thought could represent some of those ideas that were more factual in nature: the four tunnels, the cliffs and the pulleys installed between them to carry loads of cement, the workers themselves, the sun and the water. I saw several photos showing the scaffolding and other building structures required to work on the project. And I chose colors that to me represent water and desert and heat.
OK, I had a hell of a time with this piece. The drawing was pretty good but going to color presented me with a complete balled up mess. I really lost my way and finally just chose colors that I thought would be pretty together and representative. Once I got out of that mess I was good. The piece went very smoothly thereafter.
When I was in high school I had a teacher for US History who was a little kooky. She might be described as a Berkeley hippie; a real free spirit. We had an assignment to write an essay on a topic of our choosing. No subject was given and we were to pull together whatever thesis we wanted and support it with whatever reading and research we wanted. Being a literal and unimaginative person, I had a very hard time at first not having a subject given to me. It was the first time I had encountered this type of writing but interestingly enough, not the last. In college (the second time around) I had yet another history teacher who gave us all the same type of assignment. Six papers to be exact and all with a free form thesis. (Honestly, as if I had no other classes.) My point is that this way of writing has served me well. Creativity is nothing if not pulling loose and disparate ends together to come up with some kind of a whole. And that is how I am viewing these pieces that I have been doing. I seem to be pulling bits of information together from different sources and coming up with one finished piece of art. Does anyone else see their creative process like this?
OK, I sure hope everyone has had a good week. Thanks for reading and for maybe even answering that last question.