Monday, March 15, 2010
Poems of a Beekeeper
My newest painting is a dedication to my great-grandfather.
I grew up around his stories and feel that an interest in his life has been important in my artistic foundation and very inspiring for my creative curiosities.
He was a banker from England who moved to the Jersey shore of the states and ended up settling there with his family. There is a joke that he could have eliminated WWI "spark" which started the war (apparently the Archduke Ferdinand fell from a chair Evie's in his office and bumped his head quite seriously - if he had just bumped his head a little harder, his impending assassination would have not been the first of a string of events that started the war. This is just a joke and funny anecdote...don't really mean it seriously, but it did happen.). He was also responsible for creating an insurance policy which generated the funds for Episcopal priests to have a pension. My mom always likes to tell our priests at church about that.
I grew up hearing about Evie traveling to Egypt. There are remnants of his travels throughout our lives from the beautiful screens my mom keeps in her living room to the some ancient Egyptian figurines (that my mom keeps in an old suitcase). I felt a kindred love and fascination for Edinburgh, where he went to school, and realize that my time there in high school helped ignite my passion for travel.
But what has had the most impact, I'd say, is his book of poems. I first came across the book, which he self-published, in the fourth grade. I memorized one of his cardinal poems for a class about birds. The book is called Poems of a Beekeeper and has some really beautiful poems. Nothing very obtuse, sometimes cute and melodic, and sometimes sweet of thought-provoking.
I like that although he was a successful banker, when it came down to it, he would have rather been remembered as a Beekeeper. I would like to keep that memory going with a painting of a honey bee, as a thankful homage for the ways in which he inspired me. I also intend to communicate the importance of having a passion for preserving nature. The honey bees are in danger. They are such important creatures. I hope to conjure up thoughts and ideas for one of the many thoughts and challenges we are facing these days. I never knew you Evie, but thanks for the inspiration in this piece.
I've been trying to remember some of these poems that I memorized a long time ago, and this one just hit me. I think it's such a pretty poem:
They met in the summer
And loved for a while
Then drifted away
Each with a smile.
Into the hours
Like butterflies over
A garden of flowers.
I also love one about two trees looking innocently in love and it ends with something like be truth be told their roots are commingling in the clay.
I'm enjoying this one. It's a simple idea with a lot of personally sentimental meaning.
Something felt really wrong with this once I had finished. I just didn't like the background where the bee was living. It didn't feel right or natural. It felt too static, which is not really cohesive to the idea of keeping the memory of Evey and his poems alive. I tried a few things and came back to a sort of spinning, buzzing radiation of color spinning around the bee sort of dynamically (I hope). I feel much better about it, but I think I'll have touching up to do once I'm finalizing pieces to put in my portfolio.