Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: The Dreamworld Asks a Very Good Question

You may know that in addition to my poetry I also do art, posted on my blog Claudia McGill and Her Art World. For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

The Dreamworld
Asks a Very Good Question

You who watch us as we approach and pass –
a Jester in green rainboots a Chicken
grinning with all his teeth – and then
there is you
and your sideways glance away –
Who are you with your two minds
and both so disapproving?

Oh foolish creature
with your sub-divided thoughts
who looks askance at our outfits
our strut our prance
our chests-out brass-band confidence
our big smiles. We know who we are.
Can you say the same?

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 26

12 thoughts on “Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: The Dreamworld Asks a Very Good Question

  1. I’m so intrigued by this–art and words. And also, by the scrap of writing the jester holds.
    Was this a real dream? Were you being judged by others or yourself?

    • No, this is all a chain of events that somehow ended up landing at the right place, I think. I did the art first, and it grew out of a random assortment of first the papers and then I added the pen work following what struck me about the paper; then I added the details such as the other portraits and so on (I have often drawn those divided head people and no idea why). Then much later I did the poem based on what the image showed, and it was so surreal as to be dreamlike, I felt, and right away I knew it was a vision and I wrote the poem very quickly. So maybe dreamlike, but not a dream.

  2. I love that the poem is about the power of self-assurance because that is precisely the energy of the illustration. I must admit that, before I read the poem, my brain read the artwork as being about stages of transformation from bird to human. I did not see the figure as a jester but that may well be because of my clown phobia, which includes things like jesters.

    • Since I did the art long before the poem, the art decides what words I put to match it, and I think on different days I would have written very different things. But this time I feel it all fell together in the best way it could with a message I like and I think the image brings off.

    • Thank you. I make these sketchbooks by adding the art to the pages here and there as I feel like it, for various reasons and times. Then later I go back and write poems for some of the books (some books I have done art on both pages and I don’t usually write things for them though I guess someday I could). I prefer to write to the art rather than illustrate words, I feel like it is more intuitive, maybe, or more free?

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