Open to writers, musicians, and visual artists of all kinds, SPARK takes place four times each year.This was my third time participating, and my randomly assigned partner was Amy Ludwig VanDerwater from The Poem Farm! How lucky was that?
During each 10-day project round, participants create a new piece of work using someone else’s art, writing, or music as inspiration.
The first time I participated, I did so as an "artist." I hardly consider myself an artist in the normal painter sense of the word, but I have been working for a few years with photographs and combining my haiku and other poems with manipulated images. Since there was an over abundance of writers who wanted to participate in that round, I volunteered to be an artist. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to continue as an artist for Spark challenges.
I sent Amy a photo for inspiration and she sent me a poem. Amy has written about our partnership here and here. I thought I would share my process in creating my response piece to this poem that Amy sent:
Isn't it great? And I love the strong visual images. Here are things that came to mind after reading it: dreams, horses = dreams, nightMARES, flames = heat. And then, this thought came unbidden, "The heat of our dreams is not the same as night sweats." At that point I started to think about putting together images.
I found this image from an out-of-copyright book at Project Gutenberg. I liked it immediately because it showed a sleeping girl surrounded by books.
I cropped the illustration so that the girl was central. Then I thought about adding a horse, but decided that it would be too overpowering. I definitely wanted to include the flames from the poem and the heat of one's dreams. I layered a photo of a fire over the girl and made the flames fade so that they're not-in-your-face (disclaimer: I don't know anything about the jargon that graphic designers use, so I hope you understand what I'm talking about. Maybe one day I'll take a class.)
I discovered that Amy likes birds, and I like birds, so I wanted to add a bird to the image. Again, I used an illustration I found in an out-of-copyright book. I like the way it illustrates how dreams can be both beautiful and fleeting.
Since I didn't use a horse, I decided to use a line from Amy's poem that included horses, and made it gallop across the page in red. I finished up with the "heat of our dreams" line that I mentioned above.
As I said, I'm not an artist, but, I think artists and writers probably approach projects similiarly. All this explanation was to get you to consider signing up for Spark #18 when it comes around in December. You can challenge yourself to move out of your comfort zone and become an ARTIST in another medium. Just be creative!
Head over to see Laura Salas for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Laura is one who is not afraid to take on new challenges--if I remember correctly, she recently did a stint in a marching band as one of the people who waves big sticks!