Soul Map and The Forgetting Room: Buried Treasure

It's time once again to go on a hunt for buried treasure. Once a year, Seth Apter of The Altered Page invites artists to re-post one (or more) of their favourite blogs. Head on over to Seth's blog for a list of participants and check back often. He will be updating links to each participant as they come in.

Here is my Buried Treasure offering from January 4th, 2011. Enjoy! I'm off to The Altered Page to discover the rest of the treasure :)


Over the holidays I created a painting for my brother in Oz who has family in far flung corners of the globe. As is my wont, I began jotting down ideas and making sketches in my journal. I looked up quotes relevant to "family" and wrote a short, heartfelt piece to include in the painting. I looked to favourite artists and books for inspiration, and it came to me - The Forgetting Room by Nick Bantock. A synchronistic moment, as it turned out.

Nick Bantock has been a lingering source of inspiration for me. His evocative art transports you to strange worlds of mysterious beauty. One of the reasons I love The Forgetting Room is that he shows the unfolding of a work of art and describes the artist's (often difficult) journey.

I set out enthusiastically on my own artful quest. When I finally stepped back from the finished piece, I realized that it was infused with layers of meaning - both intentional and unexpected. "Soul Map" indeed embodies more than one journey. It is my brother's and my own, binding us across space and time, making me feel closer to him than ever.

I was intrigued to read the following on the review this morning, when I looked up the link for The Forgetting Room: "Belonging, or the sense of being connected to one's heritage and, therefore, to the creative force, is Bantock's primary theme, and here, the path to belonging is art."  Synchronicity indeed.

There are more maps under the first layer of paint on the canvas board. Post-it Notes are quite handy for remembering the position of elements.
A unifying layer of paint goes on. Then more collage elements.
More elements, some covered, some moved. Shapes emerging... more paint... pushing back elements, bringing others forward.
Detail shots... love those tree roots.
Beautiful old ship illustration... calligraphed words.
Subtle imagery... mysterious elements.
Soul Map
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Not a book review

This blog is not a book review, however much it might seem like one. In these fresh, early days of the new year I am taking time to explore my creative world. Discovering new sources of inspiration and rediscovering old ones. Well, not exactly rediscovering them, as they weren't ever really lost. Re-acquainting myself might be a better way to describe it.

Neil Gaiman's latest book illustrated by, yes, Dave McKean
I'll start with Neil Gaiman, storyteller extraordinaire, who wrote these moving lines to start off the new year. His books and short stories, even his blog, are written with such wit and imagination. The worlds he creates are, well, extraordinary. He even has his own "Lantern Waste". He really wanted a lamppost for Christmas... I can relate. And he makes me want to be a better writer.

The intriguing art of Dave McKean
I discovered Neil Gaiman by accident. I picked up a copy of Dustcovers: The Collected Sandman Covers 1989-1997 because of the cover, and because of the art inside. I poured through this book many times before it came to my attention that the author of The Sandman was rather important in his own way. I had been totally immersed in Dave McKean's fantastical world; a world rather scary and dark, but mysterious. I was drawn especially to the layers of images and words. His artistic talent and imagination are huge.

An amazing collection of art and insight
I mentioned Nick Bantock in my last post. Another hugely talented artist who can turn his hand to pretty well anything. I have two copies of The Artful Dodger - one of which is highlighted throughout with scribbled notes in the margins.

The work that these three amazingly creative spirits have conjured up continues to inspire me. Have a great weekend everyone!
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