If the Earth Were Only

Here is a recent entry in my art journal – this one took about four days of work to get to ‘finished!’ status.  The main problem was that in my enthusiasm to get started I forgot to gesso the pages so was working on raw water colour paper.  It was inspired by a double whammy, picking up a verse I know well and seeing an artist at her work on You Tube.

If the Earth Were Only ..... Art Journal August 2016

If the Earth Were Only …..
Art Journal August 2016

Do you agree with me that the big-eyed girl is a bit of a worry?  I had seen videos on You Tube from an artist named Megan Saurez and am quite fascinated with her style – I have always tended to big eyes in my work, partly because I think the eyes are the window to the soul and are the most important part of the face – Megan takes it a step further and paints delightfully impish faces and I wondered what would happen if I made my eyes even bigger ………  I don’t have her talent or technique to make it work though – suffice to say I won’t go quite that big again…………

I’ve had the verse in my possession since sometime in the mid 80’s.  An older student gave it to me, thinking I would like it.  She was right!.  I’ve since used it several times when working with middle teens and even some adults.  I just found out the author’s name via Mr Google – don’t you love the internet!!  I couldn’t find out anything else however, just his name, Joe Miller, and the fact that he wrote this piece in a little book which got slated for being neither scientific or spiritual, just a woolly mix of both. Which says more about the reviewer than the work in my opinion.

It speaks strongly to young teens who are beginning to stand firmly in their ‘scientific facts’ and yet still have their hearts touched by something a little more intangible, resting in the realm of feeling.

Personally I think everyone should come in contact with this verse at some time in their lives.  And think about it.

Thanks to the kindly input of Derrick Knight after my last post, the issue with the biggifying feature has been resolved.  You can click twice to get a really good look at my appalling penmanship!

Here’s the text only:

If the Earth were only- text

And here’s a close-up of the face.  I like the hair – on the actual double page spread it looks like fields and hedgerows and forests…….

If the Earth were only - detail

What do you think?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

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72 thoughts on “If the Earth Were Only

  1. For me the big eye makes the girl a little alien-esque, which when you read the words kind of works – as in looking at the earth from an outsiders point of view. I am definitely a fan of the big eyes, you can read a lot into them. It’s beautiful.

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  2. Pauline, such a poignant quote and thanks for introducing it to all of us!
    I have always liked the gentle, gorgeous eyes in your paintings! I want to see the movie where Amy Adams plays the artist of Big Eyes. It is a sad story of a control freak husband who claims the ary as “his.” Your eyes and lovely girls are quite different and unmistakably “your” artwork! 🙂 You incorporate details like sparkles, rain drops, glistening eyes where they make me wish to hug the women. I liked the idea of the bubble or world where people would show respect and love towards. ❤

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    • I have a copy of that movie Robin and still haven’t gotten around to watching it. I really like Amy Adams acting work, so I don’t know why. Thank you for your lovely, supportive comment. I am always so grateful to hear what people like in my work. ❤

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  3. Hi Pailine, I love the pairing of your art and Miller’s text. I also think that everyone should come in contact with this verse sometime in their lives. Your penmanship is simply beautiful! Don’t be hard on yourself😄
    About the big eye, I like it. Your art got me thinking about this question: how would a close up photograph of my eye look? I’ll have to ask one of my children to take a pic.
    Glad to know that you got some expert help in biggifying your photos.
    Have a warm and toasty indoor day with Sid and Orlando!
    Xoxoxo, Elaine

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    • I should love to see a close up of your eye Elaine! I wonder how difficult it is to take photos of eyes ……. Thank you for your kind words about my writing – fitting it all in the space was a challenge! I’m pleased to report that the weather has warmed up considerably this past week – I think Spring is on her way! Hurrah!!

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  4. Pauline, I like the big eye watching the earth. It’s like she’s in awe and it reflects the text of the poem. By the way, I think your penmanship is pretty and I’m impressed that you didn’t make a single mistake. As soon as I sit down to copy something, sure as hell I screw it up.

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    • Ah, you make me chuckle! I had copied out the words twice to make sure I could fit everything onto the drawn Earth – I would have been really mad at myself if I’d screwed it up on the third occasion! 🙂

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  5. Good Morning dear Mama P. I’m not that surprised that you’ve chosen to work in greens again while painting through the winter months. It feels quite optimistic. Maybe you’re subconsciously wishing for summer garden days?

    It’s really hard to be an impartial reviewer because when I see her, I see you painting her and I enjoy that so much. I know Siddy and O are near by watching it all adoringly. What I noticed more than her eye is the tendrils of beads and charms flowing in her hair and I can hear you telling the tale of each light catcher in Virginia and I smile again. For me, your art helps shorten the miles between us and it becomes more about how I feel than what I see. Does that make any sense? I’m missing you. Thanks for sharing this verse too. Sending lots of love. xo K

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    • How lovely ❤ to have this be the first message I read while waiting for the morning coffee to brew 🙂 Ah lovely memories – it all seems so very long ago and far away – like a delightful dream really. You always leave such lovely words and they always leave me smiling and quite happy – you too are such a special person in my life. We were all very fortunate to have that time together! I thought you might like the verse, I thought of you while writing it out. 🙂 xoxo

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  6. Pauline, I love this, both the verse and your painting. I think she’s beautiful, and I love her supernatural quality. She could stand for so many things…nature, the green movement, and yes, I can feel the worry in her eyes. I think you have amazing talent, and you put this together so well. Xoxo

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  7. I’m a little late to the party, I see, and can only add that I love the verse and the colours you use. I’m a water sign…maybe that’s got something to do with it?
    Have to say, the eye’s a little large for me but I think your style is very marketable. Please keep going in similar vein, I think art with verse works well xx

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    • Jenny, so sorry to be late responding to your comment. I appreciate you popping into the party late or not! The eye doesn’t do it for me either, so we are in agreement – still I won’t die not knowing if it works or not will I 🙂 Yes, my colour choices are heavily influenced by my love of water even when I’m painting the Earth – and I’m an earth sign!!

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  8. I’ve not heard that verse before but it’s very thought provoking. There’s no right or wrong in art – if big eyes are your thing, then go with it:)

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  9. What a wonderful piece of art. I love the quote and your lovely handwriting. I also love the big eye of the girl. It captures the wonder and awe such an earth would inspire while at the same time is reflective of being part of that earth. She is part of the earth and the earth is part of her. I love your art.

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    • I am so glad to hear your thoughts after looking at the painting SS – that is wonderful – and spot on my intention when painting her. [I am always so relieved when someone picks up on that somewhere!] Thank you! ❤

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  10. I have to agree, the big eye really draws you into the painting. Lovely! What wise words from Mr. Miller and how cleaver of you to Incorporate this into the heart of your painting. I also love the use of your danglers in her hair and around her face! ( at least that’s what it reminded me of) I love your style, Pauline.

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    • Thank you Jan – they are wise words aren’t they! I feel his words have not been spread wide enough around the globe – I’m doing my bit! I love that you see the doodles in her hair as my danglers – how cool is that!! And thank you for those final supportive words – they are so much appreciated! xo

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  11. You are on such a creative roll! I don’t know what happened but you seem to be loving painting again and so inspired. I agree that your style is so distinctive and completely your own–unmistakable, really. I guess I would agree with what some others have said–the very big eye spooks me a little but maybe the intensity of it is what is necessary to take the poem really seriously.

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    • It spooks me too Kerry – I would make it a little smaller next time – it really is too big for me! My list of ideas for paintings is growing much faster than I could possibly make them – perhaps taking a prolonged break wasn’t so bad after all 🙂

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  12. I’m so pleased you cracked the biggification, and thank you for the acknowledgement. I think the big eye performs two useful functions. It points us directly to the verse; and the circular highlight reflects the form of the poem

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    • Thank you for your help Derrick – The missing ingredient was to work out that there is a box that needs ticking linking wp media into the mix – from then on it’s a doddle!! 🙂 You picked up two intentions in the painting – I’m always pleased to hear when an intention has made its mark even when the technique needs work 🙂

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  13. That big eye totally pulled me into the whole journal page, Pauline. Second was the color of her hair, green…the color of life… of Mother Earth. She seems to be guarding the small ball of earth beside her, looking at it with her big lovely eyes, eyes that cam see through anyone, eyes that can understand how everyone feels, eyes that can bring hope, love and more life.

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  14. Lovely journal work Pauline. I quite like the big eye….all the better to see you with, my dear:)….and feel it reflects the lovely round earth next to it…or the other way round.

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    • Hello Netty! [I love this shortened version of your name!] Some people like a big eye, some don’t – it is very personal isn’t it. Lovely to see you come by, thank you for the feedback. ❤

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  15. I love the text. And the green woman or perhaps mother earth is really lovely. I like her green braids and the little jeweled vines in her hair. The eye does not bother me. I would like to see the whole painting full size. Wow. I love all the green and the beautiful blue earth. It brought to mind Jonathan Eberhart’s Lament for a Red Planet. It’s about Mars, (he was an editor for Science) but I always think it could be earth, if we don’t pull up ours socks soon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCgg9xe1QOE

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    • Lisa, I think you have just introduced me to a new singer….. I had not heard of him before and what I listened to was very good! Pulling socks UP!! I looked online and found a recent picture taken of the earth from a million miles out – it is quite astonishing! I tried to emulate that. I like the way her hair turned out too 🙂 The whole thing looks better in the flesh so to speak – but as it is just a double page spread done across two A4 size papers, it’s not that big really. I’m tempted to try it out on a big canvas – but not yet, not until I feel a bit more in control of technique….. Hope the rest of your week is easy! xo

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  16. Pauline, I’m happy to see your creativity flowing once again. I’m always entranced by the texture and color and the whimsy in each piece. When I see the picture split into two parts, the eye seems perfect. Side by side with the planet and wonderful quote, it seems a bit out of scale. So perhaps it’s not that the eye is too big, but that the planet might work better floating below her chin or even above, instead of on the same plane. Does that make sense? They both look lovely on their own, and I understand the need for the planet to be small based on the quote.

    Beautiful piece. And that hair! Oh my goodness.

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    • Alys thank you for the very thoughtful feedback – you made me go take a look at the separated pages and see another way forward. The planet of course has to fit around the lettering as the original piece I have was written as a circle, which is part of its own whimsy. A larger canvas will solve this issue. This is starting to become community art, yes? 🙂 Where would I be without my community? ❤

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  17. Your big eye reminds me of an artist who made a sensation here in the US in the 1960’s with big-eye paintings, which sold like hotcakes. Her name was Margaret Keane. She was a timid soul and worked at her painting 16 hours a day, and…..they were exhibited and sold under her husband’s name—Walter Keane. She worked 16 hours a day producing her paintings, and he took not only the credit but the considerable profits as well. Obviously, the guano hit the fan at some point, and she divorced and sued Walter for her own name as the painter. The judge in the suit decided that Margaret and Walter should actually produce a painting in court to prove who the true artist was. Walter never showed up, but Margaret produced a painting in her own signature style in less than an hour. The judge ruled for her. I think she lives in California, now, and is in her eighties.

    The Anime and Manga art of Japan also comes to mind, when I see big eye paintings. There seems to be a universal love of the genre.

    It’s so good that your creativity is flowing fast and strong now, Pauline…so much so that your journal itself—where there’s no thought of gesso, of course— is providing beautiful gems toward even more artwork. I am loving it, and looking forward to more!

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    • I know Margaret Keane’s work – I think she inspired the whole anime thing – but know nothing about her. I have a copy of the movie they made of her life and haven’t watched it yet…….. Maybe I will tonight. Thank you for stopping by and all these thoughts. My journal is filling up with ideas for proper paintings, but I’m so in the process of learning [and there’s so much to learn!] I can’t stop to see if anything translates further just yet……

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  18. I love that I came by here today too. I’m in love with this piece! I would have big eyes too looking at what’s going on in the world now. It did not feel out of proportion to me given what she was looking at. I was going to comment on the eyebrows and eyelashes but you did that for me. They are wonderful! I like the hearts in her hair and love the poem. I’m going to copy it for personal use. Thank you for sharing it. My education was and is still so lacking that I’m always grateful to be introduce to another beautiful piece of work. Keep at it. So I can keep enjoying. :))) BTW, had my windows cleaned so I could take good pictures of the danglers. :))

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    • I should love to see your dangler in situ Marlene – yay for clean windows! 🙂 I’m very happy to introduce this little piece to you. As I mentioned elsewhere it is not that well known and I think it should be. It is even more relevant today than when it was penned. Thank yuo Marlene, I so appreciate hearing your thoughts ❤ ❤ ❤

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  19. Ach, Pauline, this is a gorgeous post and a perfect one to follow your last. I love the verse. Thank you for sharing it. I love it’s sense of wonder and can see that it would be appropriate for the age group you describe, moving fluidly between facts and wonder. I hope the suggestion that we would protect it would be so. Sadly we do not always protect the precious marvels.
    For me, the large eye demonstrates proximity to the small earth in the field and represents all the eyes held with the one sense of wonder, so is quite appropriate, as is the colour, especially with the blue of the earth reflected in it. I am drawn to the eye first, then the earth, and the beautiful hair. Not so much the face. It is of lesser importance and should remain so, I think. I love the hair. I thought braids of leaves, but the thought of fields and hedgerows is amazing. The brilliance of the love beads in decoration is a wonderful touch, like dewdrops on the early morning leaves.
    What a beautiful post (and postcard?) to inspire love, and compassion, for our world. Reading it first thing this morning fills my heart with joy and anticipation.

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    • Well Norah! You have understood exactly what my intention was when producing the eye – seeing, wondering and also reflecting a universal understanding of the bigger picture. One day, I’m hoping, my technique will catch up with my intention 🙂 The hair is really successful — I loved the process and seeing it develop. Maybe one day another version will make it to canvas – then a postcard …….

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      • I’m so pleased I read your message clearly. 🙂 I think your technique is there – I got it! The hair is gorgeous. I can imagine this design in some form of needlework or possibly tapestry? I’m sensing the ups and downs of the hills and fields – in relief? is that what it’s called. Beautiful whichever way it’s presented.

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  20. Something to ponder on Pauline thank you. Your little fairy/girl is quite sweet but perhaps the eye is a little large this time or maybe the face just needs filling out a little.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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  21. I really like the scale of the eye! It was what really drew me into the artwork overall,what grabbed me. I think since big eyes have some significance for you then it is something you should keep experimenting with and why not go even bigger?

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  22. I too like the “over-sized” eyes look on certain drawings, but there is an issue here. I am not sure whether the eye is just too “over-sized”, or whether its closeness to the edge of the face is over dramatized by the hollow cheeks? One man’s perspective is that you have achieved a rather alien look, at the expense of a cute “fairy” look!
    The text really is quite thought provoking. It is a shame that the reviewer could not see that!
    Well you did ask!!!! 🙂

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    • I love constructive feedback Colin – so thank you! You made me realise the cheeks had hollowed out in the process of making her hair – and I hadn’t noticed it at all – see, this is the kind of feedback that I need before declaring something ‘finished!’ 🙂 I do think the eye is too big and that makes me think of aliens too.
      I appreciate all you have to say and thank you for it! 🙂

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