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Art of the Day: Monday March 23, 2015

I Heard a Fly Buzz....: Emily Dickinson Tribute

- by Patience

This week's theme: Pink Is More Than Little Girls and Barbie

We think that we have pink all figured out, but we don't. Pink has a history that spans centuries. It has meant and been used to represent many things. Before the late 30's or early 40's pink wasn't automatically assigned to girls. It's popularity has waxed and waned. Currently - and surprisingly, younger people like pink less that older people. Before the chemical dyes of the 20th century nature had a lock on bright and bold pinks. The iconic "shocking pink" was created in the 1930's by designer Elsa Schiaparelli - who was rather shocking in her own right. The past 100 years has seen an explosion of pink and if you look at it's past and it's present, you will find that pink has a dynamic and interesting history.

Art: I Heard a Fly Buzz....: Emily Dickinson Tribute by Artist Patience

When reflecting upon this month's EBSQ exhibit theme, "Celebrating Fan Art", I thought about all the innumerable and diverse popular cultural, social and artistic influences, present and past, that have impacted me in one way or another throughout the course of my life.  Narrowing such a number down to one posed a big challenge -- however, being as that it so happens that the last several consecutive painting projects of mine lately have depicted male figures, I decided to at least concentrate on a woman, if only for a refreshing change of pace (no offense to men).  There are any number of amazing female cultural icons of whom I am a fan and believe deserving of tributes....but finally, the familiar first lines of an old poem, by a certain enigmatic classic American writer, came to mind....:

".....I heard a Fly buzz - when I died -
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air -
Between the Heaves of Storm...."

And so begins one of Emily Dickinson's most notable pieces, "I Heard a Fly Buzz...."..... 

I recall my first taste of Dickinson, coming across this particular poem in English class all the way back to middle school or so.  I remember the struggle at the time to understand the meaning that might lie behind those few short lines of carefully chosen words.   What did the author mean...?  A Fly.  Somebody's death.  Buzzing.  ???   But I was intrigued, and my interest piqued enough in that classroom all those years ago, that I, as have so many others, went on to become a fan of her unique, unconventional writing style.....

An expressive composer of over 1700 poems, Emily Dickinson never actually received wide recognition within her lifetime.  She was undoubtedly an introvert -- something I can surely relate to.  An intensely private person, she instead became known more for her near reclusiveness in her later years and her penchant for wearing all white than she ever did for her writing. It was only after her death, when her secret stash of writings was discovered by a relative, that the astonishing scope of her work was finally revealed.

Emily Dickinson never married nor had children, but we can all agree she gave birth to a legacy of another kind: an incredible body of poetic verse, that continues to speak to us today nearly two centuries later. Thus I portray Miss Dickinson in this, my tribute portrait, in a dress of white, along with a friendly fly to keep her company....

(This is my 2nd in a series of tribute paintings to the great American poet, Emily Dickinson.  The first is here)

Detail Images

Detail Image for art I Heard a Fly Buzz....: Emily Dickinson Tribute

"I Heard a Fly Buzz....": Side View

Detail Image for art I Heard a Fly Buzz....: Emily Dickinson Tribute

"I Heard a Fly Buzz": Emily Dickinson Tribute


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