In one of the first drafts for the storyboard of Meanwhile there is this figure sitting by the beach, looking at the sea, watching this book lying on the sand being washed by the salty waves. While the other protagonists in the story are passing by, walking their own path, this observer is absorbed into contemplating the disintegration of a paper book trapped in the incessant rocking of the waves.
What this book symbolises I guess I'll leave it for you to decide. But I can't resist to think about our stories being washed away by time, our lives disappearing in the rocking motion of our survival.
In this passed blog post I explained my process while making this story come together. To get a better grasp at what I was dealing with, and gather more material so I could tackle a second version of my storyboard, I decided to take photographs of an actual book washed by waves on a sandy beach. I just didn't have the correct book to sacrifice for this. I generally like to keep only the essentials with me. So I don't keep many old books that I don't hold dearly in my heart.
I called my good friend Gosia Kamieniecka, who I have known practically since I arrived in Ireland twelve years ago. She was about to pay us a visit back here in our remote little Connemara cottage, so I asked her if she could bring with her old books that she wouldn't mind to get rid of and sacrifice for a good cause... She said her house in Galway was filled with ancient artefacts from former tenants and she could probably find what I was looking for.
Gosia is an artist. She has many talents. She sings jazz and folk songs. She has a great sense of humour and is a trusty person. But she also paints! She rents her own studio in Galway city where she can do what she wants. She uses oils, acrylics and mixed-media techniques to make delicate and poetical images.
I invite you to pay her a visit on her website at: https://www.gosiakart.com/ and follow her work on Instagram @gosiascolours .
Indeed Gosia brought over three books. One of them was of the appropriate shape and size. Me and my partner Marta (who is a artist too! More on that in a future post...), we took it to Silverstrand beach near Galway city.
It was a sunny day and the beach was busy with people enjoying themselves, playing ball, making sand castles, swimming and working on their Irish tan... And here I was taking picture of this book rocked by the calm waves. That of course intrigued people and kids in particular. I remember one saying: "Whoa that's so cool!" I was pleased to see someone else found this interesting and meaningful.
I was like a kid myself, taking pictures as the waves went over the book again and again. I saw the grasp of time playing with the form of this human artefact, rocking it in and out of the sea, I watched the story I wanted to illustrate in real time. It didn't take long for the book the be completely soaked to the bones...
Once finished with taking the pictures we went back home and I took the wet book back with me. It lay in the garden since then. It is now beginning to decay properly, this old Polish book about gangsters and East-European mafia...
Once home with my reference photos, I began drawing them to get a better feel of such an image.
There is nothing in life like drawing something you have a curiosity for. Something that triggers your imagination. My passion renewed by this whole experience I could take this project further and to its next step. I was making progress and felt grateful for it.
Thank you Gosia for giving me this book. And thank you all for reading this little story of mine. I hope you get something out of it. And don't hesitate to ask me anything, or suggest a theme or a specific subject you would like me to tackle in a future blog post.
Till then, see you Sunday for the next episode of Trail of Colour! Peace.