This piece went through many changes. My first idea grew out of a song Anna sings in The King and I – “Toads toads, all your people are toads!” I was remembering it as’ frogs’, but then I remembered that the courtiers were toadies and…never mind! Suffice it to say I’ve had frogs on the brain and toads being such close relations get included in the mix. With a bit of poetic license they can even stand in for their cousins (witness the previous collage).
At first, I envisioned a bunch of toads in a pool of water with their heads sticking out, but I couldn’t find the right kind of water in my picture files and my lily pads had disappeared somewhere. I decided to make water out of strips of patterned paper in blues and greens and purples. I found this great spiral design in the shades I wanted and decided movement was more fun than straight-edged strips. The frogs looked wonderful with their heads sticking out, but then this wonderful leapy-type jumped out at me begging to be used. I placed him above the waves, leaping into the air after a golden ball.
It looked great! All I needed was a background. Day or night? I couldn’t decide. I tried beige to match the previous collage, then a soft mottled dusky paper with mauve and lavender. Rummaging through my calendar collection I came across one featuring moons. What if he were jumping for the Moon instead of a golden ball? The Moon is a ball!
When I put it all together, the other frogs seemed to take away from the drama of the picture. Out they jumped! Leaving me with another pared down simple image – even though my intention was to create a more complicated intricate piece. Perhaps the message is that more and more, I value simplicity. Or maybe, because the tales are structured so austerely, the pictures inspired by them also demand simplicity and a certain starkness, leaving room for the viewer/reader to fill in the planks and turn the caricatures into characters with motivations and emotions reflecting her/his own inner life.
Like the story, this picture raises questions. Is this an expression of exhilaration? Or does it teach me about the foolishness and futility of trying to reach beyond my grasp? Maybe it’s a lesson in lunacy? Or possibly, connection?
All stories hold layers of meaning and all woven with the warp and woof of real experiences, real people’s lives. Pull out just one thread and it will pull you down by-ways you never imagined were there. You may even find yourself leaping for the Moon.