Dystopia and a Key

Years ago in 1991, someone I knew told me an arresting dream they’d had. I don’t totally remember it, but it was about terrible suffering and catastrophe. Most of the people in the dream were in trance like states with one or two raising the alarm. The dream impressed me as apocalyptic and I made an acrylic painting taking off from the dream. The painting now reminds me of the huge number of migrants fleeing war and persecution and it reminds me of the effects of climate change we’re already seeing and that some are having trouble acknowledging.

For a while now I’ve wanted to make the painting into a card deck, since I love card decks. It’s the opposite of Mirrors of the Heart favourable deck that I made in 1994. Recently, I’ve had the courage to move forward with the idea. I say courage because for a while I told myself that I shouldn’t put out images of the dark parts of life. But I’ve decided otherwise because I believe we can’t deal with trouble unless we first of all face it. So, I’m calling the deck Wake Up–The House is on Fire and the Water’s Rising!

To create the deck, I’ve taken many photos of the work, zeroing in on different groups and faces and cropping the images. The deck will have 25 small square cards, including one title card and all, except one, are scenes of extreme suffering. I also wanted to create one card not in the original painting that could symbolize what it would take to wake up. But since it’s beyond me to know what might allow that in different people, the idea of a key came to mind–a key to awakening that could mean different things to different people. The key image is one of the cards and I’m also putting it on the back of each card. I’ll be sending it off to Moo for printing and will let you know how it turns out.

Here’s the whole painting plus two of the cards, including the key.

 

 


Bowl

We recently had our place painted. It involved packing up all our stuff, giving some of it away and moving it and furniture to the centre of rooms so the painters could get to the walls. During that time I drew boxes and disorder. Now that that’s over, it’s enjoyable to sit down and draw a simple paper/papier maché bowl I made many years ago.


A Few Plants

A few of the house plants we have end up in my drawings regularly. I enjoy succulents and have 2 cacti plus other hardy souls. And, this summer, I branched out and added a colourful croton to the group. Here’s some appearances the various leaves have made over the past few months. The croton is first–imagine deep red, dark and lime greens and yellows. The other drawings show various succulents including jade plants, hoyas and sansevieria with a few long spider plant and African violet leaves in the backgrounds.

 


Line drawings–Interiors

I’ve been drawing what’s around me–both grand and plain. When I’m at home, I enjoy paying attention to some of the things I see everyday that I might otherwise almost ignore. Here’s several felt pen drawings from August and October of objects in the apartment.

 

 

 


Gourd

Here are 3 drawings I made earlier this month of an ornamental gourd I bought in the countryside. I love the wild shapes of the gourds of autumn. This one is yellow-orange and dark green, but I’ve focused on the shape and sketched it in black on white.  I believe that when I was a child my mother lacquered  ornamental gourds to preserve them longer at Halloween time.

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If you’d like to see some of my other artwork, click on the image below to go to my etsy shop:

Observers Linocut by Lily S. May

 


Trip to Prince Edward County

Recently we traveled east of Toronto to Prince Edward County for a relaxed weekend. A highlight of our trip was a visit to the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory where they band birds so their migrations can be monitored. There we were given close instruction by a staff member and were able to release 2 blue jays. A big thrill for 2 city dwelling humans! We saw birds large and small including two male sharp shinned hawks who had flown into nets and been banded. Here’s a photo of the two hawks just before they were released.

Later, on our way back to Toronto, we stopped in at Presqu’ile Provincial Park and saw gorgeous views of the windswept beach being enjoyed by gulls and geese and a handful of humans.


Drawing in Algonquin Park

We recently went to Algonquin Park, a few hours north of Toronto. Because of the very warm and, sometimes, hot autumn, the trees had hardly turned their usual bright colours.  Apparently they began turning late in August when there was a cold spell and then stopped when the warm weather arrived. Nevertheless, we had a beautiful time in bright sun hiking through forests and by lakes. I made some quick sketches, this time with thin felt pens. These sketches continue to surprise me.  As in Newfoundland, I found myself making minimal lines that, even without much detail, still bring back memories of the places I drew in and the feelings of being in nature, during these changes in our climate.

Here’s some photos and sketches from the trip:

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