I May, I Might, I Must

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I May, I Might, I Must

If you will tell me why the fen
appears impassable, I then
will tell you why I think that I
can get across it if I try.

-Marianne Moore

I was up too early today with the dog, so I took the chance to read a little again. I haven’t read much literature recently–instead it’s mostly been research for work–so it was nice to focus on something short. Apart from the short poem above–which is a great motto for any designer–Marianne Moore was not relaxing reading, though, and I was distracted by a small sketch opportunity out the window. I thought the purple flowers hanging from my neighbors porch would look good on cream colored paper, and the shadows were interesting (though I didn’t do them justice). Still, it was nice to work with some structure again.

Thanks for reading.

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Turkey, Marianne Moore, Roland Barthes

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To A Prize Bird
by Marianne Moore

You suit me well, for you can make me laugh,
nor are you blinded by the chaff
that every wind sends spinning from the rick.

You know to think, and what you think you speak
with much of Samson’s pride and bleak
finality, and none dare bid you stop.

Pride sits you well, so strut, colossal bird.
No Barnyard makes you look absurd;
your brazen claws are staunch against defeat.

Last night after a very nice Christmas day with my parents and my in-laws over, my daughters having fun with their dolls and new games (Don’t Break the Ice and Let’s Go Fishin’ are just as awesome now as when we were kids), I spent some time in the studio reading some new books (shown) and returning to work on the turkey. The above poem by Marianne Moore seemed fitting for this bird, his pride starting to come through with each brush stroke.

I read some analysis of Marianne Moore’s poems–it might have been Calvino’s essay “The Bestiary of Marianne Moore” that talked about the difficulty in understanding some of her work. In another essay I read recently–I think it was by Barthes, but now I can’t find it–there was a point about not as much attention being paid to the act of reading and to the reader as there is to the act of writing and the writer, that the reader is as important as the writer. With this in mind, creating is a form of reading, and juxtaposition might be a further way of interpreting work. Thank you Marianne Moore for adding something to this in-process turkey. I’ll be thinking about this painting a little differently now. And thanks Mom and Dad for the new books.

Here’s a close up of progress so far:

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