The green-eyed monster

Remember how I said I was trying to make a deadline, and that's why I delayed posting for like two weeks? Here's what I was working on.
The painted-over, resized image of my grandfather is the focal point for a piece I've submitted to a local art exhibit. The Lynnwood Arts Commission asked for "green" artwork, in either/both senses of the word. Environmentally green interested me... but it didn't grab me and smack me upside the head like the 'green-eyed monster.'
And my grandfather's love life has just been begging me to re-imagine it. Three marriages in four decades? There must be something interesting going on there. To the divorce deposition, Robin!
My grandfather rarely said more than two words at a time, the way I remember it. But I now have copies of his divorce files, which tell me a lot more than he ever would have. I copied some of them in a loooong sheet...
... and tore up regular-sized copies to create a cave of sorts, inspired by Michael deMeng's "Cave of Pages" class. For my piece, I wired and glued together cigar boxes for two parts of the story.
I altered a painting of grandpa's house that had a deliberate rip running through it, and dripped a little green onto the rip. Then I positioned grandpa and his jealousy-consumed heart beneath the drip.
In order to age the papers as if they were burnt by the Flames of Jealousy, I did a lot of painting the text and its torn edges. A LOT of painting. Oh my God, I was so sick of painting. But the piece just wouldn't leave me alone until I'd done every last page. You know how it is.
Okay, some of them were more fun than others: The shred above is from a policeman's testimony. He and his partner caught grandpa's ex-wife making out with her boyfriend one night on the steps of the public library.
And finally, I painted the caulk/"rock" of the cave's exterior, to make it more rock-like, to marry it with the divorce paper scroll, and to connect the top with the bottom more strongly.

You know, one of the best parts of being DONE! with this piece is realizing some of the choices I made subconsciously. Like the fact that I used cigar boxes -- recycled, of course, but hey, cigars are made of tobacco leaves... and my grandfather was born, lived and died in tobacco country.

Or the doll legs: I just wanted female legs to peep through the cave door, but after a while I realized that's all I really know about her -- what she allegedly did with those legs, not what she said or thought. There was no testimony from her. But it's interesting to think about what hadn't been said about that relationship.

I find out if my piece was accepted for the exhibit on September first.
Posted on August 10, 2010 and filed under "deep thoughts", "genealogy", "personal art".