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