Week 7: Bedtime Story- The Voyage of the Argo

Detail, Bedtime Story

This week’s collage is inspired by the joys of reading to my son at bedtime.  I wanted to visually capture the experience we share of being swept away by the story, allowing the dim light of the room to blend the real and imagined. We pile into the bed with the cat and the stuffed animals, open the big book and begin our adventure. We have been reading D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, with its heroic deeds and enchanting illustrations. The tale of Jason and the Argonauts was one of our favorite stories.  The great ship Argo, filled with heroes, sets sail on a quest for the Golden Fleece. As the sheets and blankets melt into a vast ocean, we find ourselves heading out to sea, charting a new course.

Detail, Bedtime Story

The sailing ship has been an ongoing motif in my work, a kind of avatar for the Self, forging ahead through rough waters, sailing out to the horizon in search of adventure, or returning home to be anchored in the safe harbor.  My red boat has the capacity to explore many different ways of being in the world, navigating between solitude and community, surrender and ambition, safety and risk.  In both making art and reading books, we allow for the opportunity to explore the world outside our own experience.  The collage I made this week is a strange mix: it seeks to both replicate a very real, intimate experience in my every day life, while folding it into the fantastical unknown. I was intent on capturing the specific details of my son’s favorite toys, grounding the scene in reality, while at the same time juxtaposing these familiar characters with the romance of the book illustrations and the possibility of an imaginary adventure all our own.  As a final addition, I collaged a tiny secret doorway in the upper right hand corner.  Maybe it is simply the bedroom door, the door back to reality. Or maybe it is a door that leads to yet another imaginary world.  I whisper to my son, “Be open to all possibilities.”

Bedtime Story, 12 x 12, acrylic collage

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