Artist’s Inspiration: Deborah Dryden
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.
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.