Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath
Altered 5 x 7 canvas panels
"Conceiving"
"It was True"

I've had a hankering to do a piece on Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath for a while now. It was a memorable high school prerequisite for me - the story of the Joad family who were forced to travel great distances in order to make a better life for themselves in the midst of the great depression - and I've found myself referring to it's message of humanity and survival quite a lot in the last couple of years. I think it's concepts are as timeless today as they were when the American classic was first published in 1939. 

So I started by picking out a few quotes that really spoke to me. I found two that inspired me and based the 5 x 7 canvas panels that you see here around them. . . 

These were created by first adhering a page from the book (which contained the quote I wanted to use) with matte gel to the canvas panel. I wanted a worn, messy look, so I set the page slightly off center and then sealed it with more gel. When dry, I used petroleum jelly on the bits I wanted to highlight and then covered the rest of the panel in a light wash of copper acrylic (to represent the Oklahoma "red country"). When that layer had dried, I wiped off the jelly to reveal the text I was after. Charcoal (both white and black) and sandpaper were then used to further distress the piece before stamping the sides with foliage and swirls meant to represent grape leaves. I then pulled out some period pieces, ephemera and photos in an effort to describe the passage. Final touches included "painting" the leaves with two colors of fine glitter and highlighting the vines with a gold gel pen.

"Conceiving" features a piece of broken tape measure, chunks of mica and wire, a photograph from the 1930's and the following quote: "For man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments."

"It is True" incorporates some of the same elements in addition to a vintage photograph of a man (meant to represent the character who spoke), a piece of a vintage receipt book and several vintage glass tubes tied with wire. The quote here reads: "Maybe,' I figgered, 'maybe it's all men an' all women we love; maybe that's the Holy Sperit - the human sperit - the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of."

Thanks for looking! I'm now on to painting again - I need to get my "girlie" fix . . . 

Kristin xo

12 comments:

Amy said...

this is so wonderful Kristin..I saw it on facebook and had to come and read ..I love the tiny bottle's..I have not read the story..but sounds fascinating..I should read it sometime

Lori Heald said...

Hey girlfriend, so this is what you do when I have the littlest mouse. Fab darlin!!!!! love 'ole mom'

Thespoena McLaughlin said...

Beautiful and a great subject matter. Love it!

Diane said...

So beautiful Kristen--I love when the story behind the piece tells us how to create the art--we just listen.

Jingle said...

These are absolutely wonderful! Beautiful pieces!

Lynn Richards said...

So nice...love your technique. Where do you get your mica??? I am looking for larger sheets of it.
thanks
lynn

scrapwordsmom said...

Kristin...always love seeing your work. You are a marvelous artist!!

Have a wonderful day, dear friend:)

Tammy said...

This is truly wonderful....wow...great little touches with the bottles. My kind of art.
smiles...Tammy

Emakesart said...

How did I miss these? These are fantastic Kristin!! Really wonderful!

xoE

Tahnya Marie said...

This is really awesome Kristin, I love it!

Sanja said...

Love this,Kristin!
Sanja xox

missy k said...

Amazing Kristin.... Great colours and awesome little jars! I enjoyed the book too.... have it on my shelf. I love the quote.

Karenx