Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stage Seven, Sarah Emma Edmonds: Departure

I've been studying this piece and debating its merits for long enough now, without a firm conviction that there is more I should do. I keep feeling like I should be adding something more, but in thinking about my goals for it, I don't know that it would help it in any way to do that. There's really very little change that has taken place since the last step; I did even out the color along the right border, and have added some smaller details and refinements that wouldn't show up at this scale online. When I get it professionally photographed and added to my website ( ), hopefully those things will be more evident. This final version photographed darker than it really is; some of the color and detail in the lower section are lost.

When I say that I believe that I've come fairly close to meeting my goals with this, here is what I mean. Each new piece I add to my Beyond the Battlefield series, I strive to make successful on three different levels: 1) my reaction to or interpretation of a factual, historical person or event, 2) relevant and informed by my personal experience, 3) representative of a larger, universal truth. When I write my narratives for my works, I limit myself to only those things which refer to the historical person or event that inspired the piece. In this case, I mentioned earlier that I wanted the water to be present as a backdrop for this piece, because of what I believe would be the influence of Magaguadavic Lake on Sarah Emma's formative years. The image of the book represents an incident that Emma says had a tremendous impact on her when she was about thirteen. A peddler had visited their home, and as it was getting late in the day, Emma's mother invited the man to stay at their home until morning. When he was leaving the next day, as a token of appreciation for the family's kindness, the peddler gave Emma a novel, something that her strict father would never have allowed had he known about it. The novel was a melodramatic account of a young heroine who disguised herself as a man in order to rescue her lover from captivity. Emma recalled her feelings after reading the novel by saying, "I felt as if an angel had touched me with a live coal from off the altar" (reminiscent of an account in the biblical book of Isaiah). "I was emancipated. And I could never again be a slave." In my piece, the birds flying away from the book and the live coals, represent that emancipation. The water, very dark in the lower portion of the composition, brightens as the birds continue upward.
Sarah Emma Edmonds: Departure also has significance for me on a personal level, and I believe represents very well a more universal truth. But those are things I leave up to the viewer to ponder.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Stage Six, Sarah Emma Edmonds: Departure

Worked on toning down the very white pages of the open book, but I wasn't sure it was enough, so I decided to post the image and get a new look at it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Stage Five, Sarah Emma Edmonds: Departure

With the help of my computer scanner and printer and a product called Lazertran (waterslide decal paper), I made and applied a custom "decal" of an open book to the composition. In Stage Four, I had tried to represent an open book through drawing, but I quickly saw that it wasn't having the graphic impact I wanted. On the other hand, as it currently appears, I'm much happier with the book image but I truly believe it's too strong at the moment. I will study it some more but currently plan to use drawing techniques to tone it down, make it flow into the rest of the composition a little more. It is definitely too much of a focal point at this stage.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stage Four, Sarah Emma Edmonds: Departure

I'm finally moving closer to the composition I want. There are things still to be worked out, but I believe the main components are there. I'm really teetering on the edge between literal and symbolic and haven't quite resolved the direction. Rather than comment any further at the moment, I think I'll post this image and see how it impacts me -- hopefully that will provide the answers I need, or at least point me in the right direction.