The original inspiration for this pachyderm painting was Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oh, What a Beautiful Morning. I would paint the elephant and then collage corn as high as, well you know how high and curl a cornstalk in the elephant’s trunk. But once I had laid down my verson of the bright golden haze (way brighter than hazy), I set aside Curly’s song and went my own way. Bye bye, cornstalks; hello, spiky grass.
Don’t ask me what a hedghog has to do with an elephant but I liked the look of it peering up from its nest. Had the hedgie awakened to blares of trumpeting? Was the elephant frightened of this little creature—a seeming cross between a mouse and a thorn melon? Who was on whose terrain?
More pressing for me was what to place in the elephant’s trunk since I’d shucked the corn cob idea. Easy, a tree trunk. I had some bits and pieces stashed away and clipped a few shapes to use as palm leaves. Now, what about that upper left corner? Leave it blank? Add another incongruity? Why not?
This is the first piece where I’ve been able to say, reality shmeality. Do I care if that rectangle barely resembles a tree top? Or that it’s impossibly suspended in mid-air? No and no. My art, my reality. That’s the lesson of this little elephant collage. Oh, what a beautiful dawning.
Art courtesy of Debra Darvick.