In a Station of the Metro

I was inspired to create a page for the “Postcards” theme over at Try it on Tuesday where the lovely Sabine is Guest Designer, as well as Art Journal Journey’s theme for August which is “Poetry in Motion” where you are asked to create a page inspired by a poem, quote or saying.

As postcards are synonymous with travel, I chose a poem about the Paris Metro (subway/underground) by Ezra Pound. I used a colour palette of pinks, neutrals, brown and black to illustrate the faces, petals and black boughs of these beautiful words from the poem “In the Station of the Metro”:

“The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough”.

This page started by collaging the background using some book pages, three different design papers and a postcard which I situated in the top left-hand corner of the page. Like all of the pieces on this page I used a UHU Stic to glue them into place. Then I added white gesso using my finger over some of the papers to push the colour back. To tie into the postcards theme, I added a Hessian texture stamp and a postage stamp image around the edges of the page and a script stamp over the background using black Archival Ink. I used the same ink to add a foliage stamp to create the black boughs of the poem. Next I used a paper punch to cut out some hearts from the three design papers and arranged them in a garland across the right-hand corner of the page. Once in place I joined the hearts together using a black Uni Posca paint pen. I stamped various images that reminded me of Paris onto a page from a book using the black Archival Ink and then fussy cut them out; these included the words “Paris” and “amour”, also the Eiffel Tower, a key, birdcage, bird in flight, French postage mark, compass and a couple of heart tiles. I arranged these on the page with some brown vintage decorative tape and a trunk image which is a rub-on transfer. I crowded these images to represent the crowd aspect described in the poem. I fussy cut the poem, the title and the Metro filigree image from a book of poems that I bought in a charity/thrift shop. I think the Metro image is the most complicated image that I have ever fussy cut; it took a good hour to cut out all the detail and I needed to use a craft knife and cutting mat as well as scissors. I outlined this image and the poem, title and edges of the stamped papers with Derwent Inktense pencils, black and white Uni Posca paint pens, a black Uni Pin marker and a white Uniball gel pen to add detail and make them stand out from the background more. I coloured the metro sign and the hearts using a red Uni Posca paint pen and added the two vintage embellishments; the Metro signage and the other of a ladies face surrounded by flowers to tie into the poem. To finish, I stuck on some mini white flowers and gemstone flowers to the black boughs and added some dots of Glossy Accents to the leaves so they looked like they were wet.

By pure serendipity when I created this page I added a heart garland, so I’m also pleased to be able to join the “Banners and Garlands” theme over at Moo Mania & More (grin!).

This poem was published in 1913 by Ezra Pound who is an American poet. He founded a poetry movement called Imagism which shared the aim of traditional Japanese art; to paint wonderful pictures with as few brush strokes as possible. The Imagist poetry stresses clarity, precision, economy of language and forgoes traditional rhyme.

Even in 1913 it seems the Paris Metro was a busy place because in the poem he describes seeing a crowd of faces in the subway and suggests they look like flowers on a tree branch.

Of course a poem is always open to interpretation, so you may view it another way (grin!). If you are interested here’s my thinking:

  • The subway is crowded with people, like they often are.
  • Using the word “apparition” suggests that people’s faces are becoming visible then disappearing again as the people come and go. If you’ve travelled on the subway then you have probably experienced this.
  • It is implied that the faces look like flower petals on a branch of a tree, which like the people in the subway usually appear for a moment in time as the tree flowers.
  • The tree branch may represent the train lines which branch off in all directions or it may be symbolic of Japanese flowering trees to link the style of poetry from which Imagism is derived (who knows – grin!).
  • I think the subway may have been darker and wetter back in 1913 than it is today, so he describes the bough as being wet and black.
  • The faces appear out of the darkness just like flowers do from a flowering bud.

We enjoyed travelling on The Metro when we visited Paris and the Metro is famous for its art and décor with each station having its own theme. This is Hector Guimard’s original Art Nouveau entrance in Abbesses station. Other examples include the Bastille station where the walls depict the historic French Revolution and the Arts et Métiers station which is designed to look like a submarine.

Whilst on the Metro a Mariachi Band got onto our carriage and started playing music, it was such a wonderful experience and after all these years it still fills me with joy and makes me smile (grin!). I’ve since found out that since 1997, the Espace Metro Accords (EMA) started holding auditions to decide which musicians could showcase their music in the Metro. 100 lucky candidates are selected each year to play their music – how amazing is that!

 If you are interested, here are some more Paris Metro facts:

  • The Paris Metro is the second busiest metro system in Europe.
  • Paris has the most comprehensive underground rail system in the world with each station being situated a 550 yards away from another. Although today you can find ghost stations all around Paris, these are stations which haven’t been used for years and are now closed to the public.
  • The Metro runs more than 600,000 miles per day which is equivalent to going round the world 10 times daily!
  • The first Metro line was opened in 1900 and it is the fourth oldest metro in Europe after London, Glasgow and Budapest.

Thanks for joining me today! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of all the materials used to create this art journal page:

  • Pébéo White Gesso
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black)
  • Derwent Inktense Pencils (Baked Earth 1800, Charcoal Grey 2100)
  • Uni Posca Paint Pen (White, Black)
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush Pitt artist pen (Black 199)
  • Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker (Black)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Uniball Signo gel pen (White)
  • Kaisercraft clear stamp (Hessian CS253, Script CS752)
  • Hobbycraft clear stamp (Love Hearts 50402HC)
  • Royal & Langnickel Clear Choice Stamps (Pressed Leaves MIN-CCS102, Journey MIN-CCS104)
  • Hampton Art 7 Gypsies Vintage cling mounted rubber stamps (Birdsong ICO151)
  • Penny Black 2007 wood mounted stamp (City of Love 3800K)
  • Art Impressions wood mounted stamp (B-2414)
  • Hampton Art Graphic 45 cling mounted rubber stamps (Tropical Travelogue ICO134)
  • Lion Brand (White Postcards 11711)
  • Poundland Design Pad (Changing Seasons CR0701/16PL1)
  • Poundworld Design Pad (Pastels & Whites CR0260/PW)
  • Collins Publishers – David Copperfield
  • Miles Kelly Publishing – 100 Great Poems
  • Craft Sensations Design Pad (Soft Sweetness 154897)
  • Tonic Studios Paper Punch (Classic Heart Sider 858E)
  • Crelando Decorative Tapes
  • Royal & Langnickel Rub-on Transfers (Travel Collage #ROY-871)
  • Home Bargains Special Occasion (Mini Decorative Stickers 22740)
  • Poundland (Design Gems 134240)
  • The Works (5 Embellishments)
  • Ranger Glossy Accents
  • UHU Stic

45 thoughts on “In a Station of the Metro

  1. Love your page…so pretty. Your composition and layout are always great. Very interesting about imagism, going to have to look up more about that. Love the art nouveau train station. I learn so much from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, that is very kind of you! The train station was so pretty, I love Art Nouveau! Alphonse Mucha is my favourite Art Nouveau artist and I’m so excited as we are going to see an exhibition of his artwork in Liverpool later this year. Wishing you a Happy Friday and Weekend! J 😊


  2. I always love visiting, because I not only see great art, I see fabulous photos that inspire that art. Additionally, I often learn something new and interesting with each journal page you create. This is a wonderful journal page and learning about the Metro was fun, too. BTW, do you have hessian->burlap? I learned that’s what we call hessian in the states. Again, a great journal entry and a beautiful poem with explanations, too!

    I would love to contribute more to AJJ, but right now I’m fighting time, which is not on my side. I’ll be back Sunday to catch up on everything I’ve missed. You are doing a fantastic job hosting this month, Jo. It’s a joy to see your art and learn a lot more about your adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great piece of artwork Jo and it fits so many challenges as well.

    Thank you for joining us at Try it on Tuesday and also for the memories of the Metro in Paris that I loved.

    Have a great day

    Chrissie xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was fun to use so many materials for this piece and did you notice the sparkly flowers that I mentioned on your blog then other day 😁. Thanks very much dear Jenny! Wishing you a great day and Happy Weekend! J 😊


  4. Oh wow wo wow.. I love all about this fantastic post dear Jo!
    I love all the fantastic work you put on this page – all is composed fantastic and you have such a good hand with colors , layers and composition – it’s stunning! And you really overdid yourself and I take my hat off to you for fussy cutting this complicated metro image!
    So interesting about this special poetry movement called Imagism – never heard about it – shame on me since I was a trained bookseller for over 20 years of my life. O.K. I know Ezra Pound but never heard about all the other major Imagist figures except for James Joyce. So a shame on me once again-lol. You inspire me so much with your ever so interesting and well thought posts!
    Always so very special and with personal memories connected, it makes me very proud to have you as a AJJ member and it is abundantly obvious how much your wonderful theme inspires all the participants ! Thank you ♥♥♥♥. Happy Friday and weekend!
    oxo Susi

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so very much dear Susi, you are too kind! I did use a lot of materials for this piece, it was such fun and after the Metro image I think I can I say that I’m now proficient at fussy cutting too … lol 😉. I came across this style of poetry in a book which also details a little information about the writers which was fascinating and as I love learning I thought it would be nice to share this information 😁. The Metro brings back such happy memories too 😁. Yes, I’m blown away by all the amazing artwork that is being linked to Art Journal Journey and so glad the theme is capturing people’s imaginations 😁. Wishing you much happiness today and have a lovely weekend! J 😊


  5. Oh and in the heat of the moment I totally forgot to say THANK YOU for combining and linking to Try It On Tuesday and to Moo Mania & More – I love this special heart garland you created for the page♥♥♥
    It is much appreciated to see you at all my favourite challenges at once!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a lovely page. And interesting poem. I was interested to learn about that movement inspired by Japanes haiku or similar.
    Thank you so much for all the info about the Metro. Sooo interesting. I have been to Paris a few times but never gave it a thought….
    I wonder why a metro station or a metro train should be wet… underground… that bit bafles me a bit. All your other deductions make perfect sense.
    Have a good week, and keep smiling,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisca! Not really sure about the reference to wet either, I was wondering if The Metro may have been wetter back then and now as I look out of my window at the rain, maybe it was just raining that day … lol 😁 … which probably makes more sense but who knows… lol 😁. Have a good week too and Happy Weekend! J 😊


  7. A huge WOW from me today. Its a fabulous page Jo and all the added information and your take on the poem was so interesting to read tonight. Thank you for sharing your memories as well.
    I loved your fussy cutting I think I may have had to pass on something as detailed as that piece. The cameo pieces look beautiful, in fact every where I looked something caught my eye .
    Thank you for joining us over at TioT’s as well with this fantastic mail art page.
    Yvonne xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much Yvonne! The Metro sign gave me an opportunity to practice my craft knife cutting skills which was fun and much quicker than scissors which I appreciated … lol 😉. I’m glad you found the poem information interesting and of course this type of poetry is always open to interpretation 😁. Have a lovely weekend! J 😊


  8. I adore this page! So many reminders of Paris! The colour choice is perfect and I love all those little details! Hoping to join in soon – battling with my sewing machine today took up all of my crafty time!! Have a great weekend! Hugs, Chrisx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A really fantastic and interesting work, Jo!!! Love the fabulous compositions of images on your amazing page. The combination of colours is super too!
    Thank you for joining us at Try It On Tuesday!
    Mar x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It is just a miracle how you were able to place all these fantastic details into ONE artjournal page! Very intersting information about the Metro! I believe you that this Metro image is the most complicated image that you have ever fussy cut, and it took one hour … I would never be able to do so, although I like to cut out something (and glue on).
    Happy weekend! Rike x

    Liked by 1 person

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