Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spring and Fall, 2nd art journal page

"Spring and Fall: To a Young Child" 

Márgarét, are you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah!  ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow's spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

--Gerard Manley Hopkins

This is another Victorian favorite of mine. I am sensing a theme here, hmm. . .  I first read this poem as a highschool junior or senior. I think it actually happened to be fall at the time, although maybe my memory has artfully distorted the original event to better honor the poem. . . it could have been summer or winter for all I know. At any rate, I can clearly relive the mulling over it I did then and that never to be forgotten moment when the meaning burst on me, with a shock of recognition and a shiver of appreciation that made me know Gerard Manley Hopkins was a genius. I have been an ardent admirer ever since. He is my favorite poet. 

In this poem, a little girl is wistfully contemplating an autumn scene and lamenting the dying away of the leaves. The poet observes this tenderly, and then notes that it is the intimation of our own mortality that gives the chill and the melancholy to the dying away of the seasons and the decay of nature. 

It's an awesome poem. It is sad, but I do not believe it is depressing, because it's message is simply true. We know this even if we do not choose to think of it very often, but I am existentialist enough to feel that it is the very awareness of our own finitude and mortality that gives life part of it's meaning. So, I genuinely enjoy this poem. I often muse on it when looking out a window at falling leaves, it's a kind of  private autumn ritual

It naturally suggested itself as a starting point for my next art journal page. I was a little bit overwhelmed by the um, excessiveness of my Jane Eyre page, so decided on this one to be a bit more spare. I first copied out the whole poem with a black glitter gel pen directly onto the white page. Then I thought it would be fun to make this a kind of practice paper for pastel techinques. I decided to try and color some leaves with the pastels. I just brought in a handful of colorful ones and attempted to copy them. I kept layering colors and blending with water here and there. Doing this felt very relaxing and meditative. I did not have perfection as my goal (lucky thing, lol) or really anything as my goal other than the act itself and losing myself in it. My approach to this art journaling thing, in case it isn't obvious, is more like art therapy in that the purpose is more about creative therapy and unwinding than about art. (And I suppose part of my purpose in blogging about this, well, aside from my own narcissism, is the idea of encouraging other would be beginners at anything to just jump in. It's fun and nothing is going to hurt you.) However, I did at least attempt to make these look something like the original leaves and I do intend to keep my eyes out for advice and tutorials as I go with all of this-- might as well try to gain some skills while I'm at it. :) After I finished with my leaves, I added a little color to the bottom and top left corners of the page and  pasted in some leaf shaped book paper cut outs to fill things in. I doodled some swirls. . . I think in hindsight the page may have been better off without these. 

There are obviously a few oopsies on this page. I somehow manged to smudge one of the swirls, and my two year old attacked with a gel pen near the top of the page before I could stop her. This was even though I had given her paper of her own and allowed her to use my supplies. All I asked was that she leave my page alone. . . sigh. Here is a close up of her handiwork:

And here are some more pictures of my page. I tried to take better photos this time, hope it makes a difference.   



  1. Leah, this is fantastic!
    I am inspired. I must try this. My Christmas present to myself, perhaps.

  2. Leah, this is fantastic!
    I am inspired. I must try this. My Christmas present to myself, perhaps.

  3. Thanks Brittany! Great idea for a Christmas present to self. Maybe I will add some stamps and stencils to my supplies in honor of the occasion. :)