A 100 Day Illustration of a poem by my son Samuel Crawford
On April 7, 2020, I began a 100-day project of illustrating my son's poem, "Persona, Reverend." I divided the poem into 100 days with some sections being one word and others consisting of a small phrase. I cut 100 6'' square sheets of watercolor paper and taped off the edges to prepare for each day's challenge. I gathered collage materials, scissors, matte medium, acrylic paint, and watercolor to have on hand. Day one's "mechanical" brought an abstracted composition. Some days the compositions were literal, some were deeply emotional. Repetition and ritual soon brought the realization that Samuel's words are meant to be read in a horizontal narrative, but my investigations took each word or group of words on a deep vertical dive exploring their own non-contextual meanings and visual interpretations. Especially satisfying was to collage found imagery giving new purpose to magazine photos and text further highlighting the life-giving process of this creative challenge.
(To read the poem, follow the numbers 1 to 100.)
Size: 4 framed 40” x 40” sections
A Free Man
A 100 Day Illustration of a poem by my dad Dudley DeLone Compton
This a collage project based on my father’s poem about growing up in a small West Virginia coal mining town. Dad passed away January 3, 2021 at 90 years of age. On January 31 I began to traverse my way through his words and persisted for 100 days straight. The journey through Dad's insightful biographical poetry provided healing in the midst of my sorrow and grief. I divided his poem into 100 words or phrases, and each day I pondered the section and treated it as its own unique artwork. The consistencies for each piece were the size, the small white border, the stamped number on the lower left corner, and the pencil initials on the lower right. Other than those boundaries, the compositions exploded with collaged found imagery, painting, mark making, and textural experimentations. The content of each piece is where an unexpected deep dive happened. Although the words Dad used were plain and direct reflecting the subject matter of the poem, the daily prompt and blank square of white paper were welcome creative partners. Repetition and ritual soon brought the realization that while Dad’s words were meant to be read in in a horizontal narrative, my investigations took each word on a vertical exploration their own non-contextual meanings. Especially satisfying was to collage with found imagery from early 1950’s and 60’s publications giving them new purpose with a new story to tell. Using existing materials further highlighted the life-giving process of the creative challenge.