An illustration of sorts for Jan Struthers poem Freedom, made with charcoal, the gunk at the bottom of a spent jar of white ink, black watercolour, and pen.
Now heaven be thanked, I am out of love again!
I have been long a slave, and now am free;
I have been tortured, and am eased of pain;
I have been blind, and now my eyes can see;
I have been lost, and now my way lies plain;
I have been caged, and now I hold the key;
I have been mad, and now at last am sane;
I am wholly I that was but half of me.
So a free man, my dull proud path I plod,
Who, tortured, blind, mad, caged, was once a God.
The last lines are repeated over and over in the halo of the large figure, and in the smoke rising around it the poem in whole written out several times in the winding path. I tried to make the small figure the free one of the two, look insignificant and both carefree and lost. Youll notice that the small one also has its hair cut short in my experience, before, or sometimes just in lieu of, changing a situation that brings them unhappiness, women often cut their hair. Then theres all the other meanings hair has power (Sampson) , beauty, a place to hide ones face
Ill confess I was put in mind of a friend of mine when I was reading this poem but the painting is not about her, and the poem has to be read slightly differently, too.
In extreme, unhappy cases, one forgets that to love is more than to continually suffer and forgive. One begins to identify with this it becomes a sort of holy sacrifice, the madness spurs one on to great acts, or great art, one prides ones self perversely on ones perseverance
it gives meaning
.but the delusion is unlivable
And when its all over, in the name of self-preservation
Who are we?
How to become human again, after this?
we can, but its a long, long walk.
Hard to really word the rest, but let it suffice to say that I approached the making of this picture more viscerally than technically.
Any and all commentary, technical, visceral, inquisitive, positive and negative is welcome and encouraged as always.