Experiments with Words

I appreciated all of your positive comments on my giant script poem canvas, but I still wanted to see if there was some way of changing or adding elements that I would like better. So I set out with a few small canvas boards from Michaels and created four different versions. That way I could try things on a small scale without messing up my original board (if I decided I still liked it best) and without spending mega bucks on another canvas.

This first version is basically just the first stage of my large canvas. I used black acrylic paint mixed with just a bit of water and painted it on, quick and dirty style. Several people had mentioned that they liked the look of this from the picture I had on the original post. It's harder to get the full effect on the small canvas, but I do like the lack of uniformity.


This version is pretty straightforward - I attempted to remove any indications of words and just write the letters as the order they appear. It's harder than you think. Our brains really want to think in words and not letters. So it comes across more as really close words. I think the appeal of this one for me is that I think of the poem sort of as a mantra, as words that run through my head over and over almost until the point of non-recognition. But I think that's the point where they've seeped out of your mind and into your soul.

Here I tried to capitalize on my friend Sai's suggestion in the comments, which was to rough up the canvas a bit. I had a lot of different ideas, but I ended up going with some texture created with a grain striping tool. I used gray paint mixed slightly with water and just scratched the paint across the canvas, going back and forth a few times in random places. It's more difficult to see in the picture. I feel mixed about this one - in some ways I think it gives the piece dimension, in other ways I think it might take away from the drama of the black and white, and in other ways I wonder if it just looks dirty.


And this final version was my first idea to use the canvas that I've already made but cover it with a layer of tissue paper using mod podge to give it some depth. Again, the real texture is hard to discern here on the computer, but this one has grown on me a bit as it has dried.


After all that, I'm still not totally sure what I like the best, but I'm leaning toward the version where I've smooshed all the words very close together. It appeals to me on both an aesthetic and a symbolic level. But the tissue paper one is battling a very close second. Of course, the one that's already finished in it's full size has that going for it!

So what do you think?