Turner on Wood: Blending Beauty & Ecology & Community
UPDATE - This project was mercifully successfully funded some hours ago. However, if you were still considering donating to this campaign, please do so! The more funds available, the more money we have to work with - insofar as materials, unexpected expenses, etc.
In addition, we were hoping to incorporate more of the general county action in terms of video work, blogging and documenting more thoroughly IE incorporating what we do here with the larger artistic context.
We are still receiving donations here till about 10PM EST. Thanks!
As much as any other painter, J.M.W. Turner inaugurates the modern use of color and composition. He is arguably as influential as Vermeer was earlier. His landscapes and seascapes mix montages of terror and delight, pathos and transcendence into single canvases.
Moreover, he has always stirred my soul and fired my muse. Since relocating to Appalachian North Carolina, the thought of doing something simultaneously to honor and reconfigure Turner’s brilliance has become something of an obsession.
I carried my copy of Turner at the Tate with me everywhere, until finally my mother and my husband ganged up on me. Their challenge: “Do something with this; go to Kickstarter, and plead with the world for help in achieving your vision.” So here I am.
As one of the first Romantics, Turner quite clearly articulated a defense of nature against the depredations of humanity. He showed the power and fury that nature, especially the sea, might unleash at any moment. His canvases also depict the interconnections that bind people to each other and to the natural world.
All of these elements of Turner’s approach, two hundred years old, seem apt today, as society’s mastery of the cosmos seems almost complete at the same time that our lives hang on our ability to balance our own needs and pathways with what the universe permits. Reimaging Turner’s oeuvre thus seemed both aesthetically and philosophically sound.
As well, I had begun to collect beautiful pieces of driftwood, some of which seemed ideal for luscious oils and sweeping compositions. On my own, intrepid if uncertain, I began to reconfigure Turner at the Tate piece by piece.
Three such panels into the breech, however, I ran out of Prussian Blue. I’m nearly out of Liquen Lite, two shades of yellow, and several other tubes of paint. I’m low on paint thinner, and I used my last gesso on the planned fourth Turner panel. I have obtained ten of the ninety three panels necessary for completion, yet each of these came at a cost of ten dollars or more.
While I believe in what I’m doing, and offer the work that I’ve completed as evidence of its validity, I need support—at a minimum what I’ve requested here on KickStarter, to continue with this. I am praying that others see something of the value in this that I do.
Basically, the funds that I seek will pay for all my supplies, all of the ‘canvases’, and then let me hire someone to help with bringing the pieces to market. I am hopeful that such a consultant can also help me to prepare to do a video about the project and a catalog, but that is after the completion of what I propose here.
Basically, what will happen by the middle of February, after this drive for assistance is successful, is that I will have purchased all of my paints and supplies. I will also have ordered all of the remaining wood pieces, sanded, finished, and prepped with gesso on one side. The money to pay for them will be available too, praise be.
Then, beginning on February 15th, each day I will paint exactly one of the remaining ninety images, seven days a week. By May 15th(it’s a leap year!), therefore, that phase of work will have finished.
At least twice a week, on Sunday morning and Wednesday night—and perhaps more frequently—I will blog about the whole project. Partially, this anticipates my desire to create a video and catalog presentation later; in part, though, it also serves to keep my supporters in the loop about my progress, trials and triumphs, and so forth.
I also intend to do at least one brief video while I’m in the thick of things. I can’t promise this, but it is my intention; I’m pretty good about keeping my word to myself. We’ll see.
Finally at the beginning of May, I will tap my Atlanta and WNC networks to find someone appropriate to help me with marketing and presentation. I already have several leads in this regard. For the most part, this will culminate the project.
The exception is that I will only have delivered most of the ‘gifts’ attendant on making a donation here. Benefactors who have made more substantial gifts will receive all they are due by two months after the completion of the final panel.
No society has long survived without an artistic potential, a cultural nexus. My hope is that this program permits me to participate in resuscitating a grassroots capacity for artistry.
As part of my thankfulness at this privilege, I intend to make a video of what I’ve done, as a kind of ‘how-to’ and primer about such a process. I also want to reach out to other creators in the aftermath; the video will help me with this. Artists need to find a way to express their power in ways that go beyond craftiness and beauty, or at least, that’s my sense of things.
Similarly, I will, as a result of my retaining a consultant, have at least the rudiments of a plan for taking the Turner Reproductions to town, so to speak, and to produce a catalog of the work that both presents the images in another medium and acts as an additional outreach and engagement tool for reaching and networking with other artists.
In any event, I vow this much. Anyone who helps me to achieve my vision here will find my door and my heart always open. One of my heroes is the great Paulo Freire. He said that the essence of humanity was being willing to have an equitable and heartfelt conversation with another person. So, to all who respond here, thank you and don’t be strangers. We should be talking about all of this and whatever else suits our purposes.
- (45 days)