Illustration Friday: Search

My current art warm-up exercise is painting this year’s calendar – free-handed ink and gouache with a liberal dash of gold acrylic – and the stories for these four months all involve searching: sisters for brothers, brave lassies for lovers, mothers for daughters…

The girl on the bear is generally from the story “East of the Sun, West of the Moon“, which I had in mind because of Terri Windling’s winter poetry challenge, and yesterday’s topic, which was bears. The post is full of fairytale art, and the comments of poetry.

Australia is bearless, but my mother is more-or-less from Colorado and we were raised  in Western Queensland on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, as well as fairytales (and my father telling us to run outside because bears had come in the night, we could still see bare footprints around the house), so this is my poem:

Bears My Mother Brought With Her

The bears that haunted
Nights and sleep,
The bears that spread
Their skins for warmth
In covered-wagon dreams,
The bears
That kept the dark
Soft-furred and deep,
That left their mark
On trackless dust,
The bears that must
Have haunted trees
And granite hills,
Have spilled
From northern lips
And filled
The bare and bearless
Eucalypts,
And fallen on this thin divide,
Have ranged like cattle in the dusk,
Left stories like a trace of musk,
Carried the frost off like a bride
On broad translucent labouring shoulders,
Lichened like boulders -

And we, who never saw a bear,
We never doubted they were there.

And here is another digital sketch, of the end of a search:

 

 

Illustration Friday: Search

 

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