Artist’s Inspiration: Deborah Dryden

Written manuscript of In Flanders Fields

We asked local artists to create works inspired by John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields for a special juried art show commemorating the centenary of the poem. The submissions we received were incredibly varied, as each artist brought a truly unique perspective to the poem. In this blog series, the artists explain in their own words what motivated their work. See more artist inspiration stories here.

When I decided to create a painting for Remembering “In Flanders Fields”, I did a lot of research. We all learned the poem as children and reciting it over and over again gave me a fresh view of the profound message.

When I saw the poem written in John McRae’s handwriting, I decided to imbed his words, in his own handwriting, into the wax giving a very personal connection to this man.   With the inclusion of his face, it seems his look at us reminds us not to forget the sacrifice.   I used the texture of encaustic to indicate the poppies planted between the multitude of white crosses “row on row” titling it “ that mark our place.”

I included “the larks still bravely fly” on a soft blue sky in the upper left corner to give hope and relief from this very gruesome war and all the deep reds depicting loss. Finally, I included a poppy on gold leaf along with new buds about to open to remind us all.

I gave the work the title of “Short Days Ago” because it tells us that it wasn’t long ago that this all happened and makes me wonder what we have learned.

Dryden Short Days Ago (848)

A practicing artist in Guelph for over 30 years, Deborah Dryden graduated from University of Guelph with a B. A. in Fine Art and received her B. Ed. from Dalhousie University.  Deborah worked as Director of the Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Art. Returning to Guelph, she was a full time educator also offering adult art workshops at conferences and universities.

Posted by Sarah Ball on July 9, 2015

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