Tuesday, September 11, 2012


(Flight in Clouds, charcoal, watercolor and paper on canvas by Sarah Mattingly-Benson)

*All images in this post are used with the permission of the artist and are the personal property of Sarah Mattingly-Benson.  Please do not remove or pin these images without express permission.*

 Sitting quietly, with no sound save the methodical ticking of the antique clock marking time and space, her mind was free to roam.  The poke of needle and pull of thread at the flick of hand were the only visible movement in the room.  If you could but see inside her head you would glimpse active racing thoughts as they pinged from one musing to another all the while creating a vast raceway with starts and stops, road blocks and exits to be maneuvered around or through at the thinkers choosing.
(Southern Summer, colored pencil by Sarah Mattingly-Benson)

Hands still.  Work is surveyed.  Eyes widen.  Mind switches itself to the present task at hand, "This is not what I imagined."  Brow furrows.  Head cocks.  Movement ensues as photos are snapped.  Mouth opens.  Words escape, "It looks like a teepee."  At that utterance an idea was born.  The art speaks, "Why not go with it?  Embrace it."  The mind ponders upon this and accepts the challenge.
(Lunar II, mixed media by Sarah Mattingly-Benson)

The idea pulls and tugs at the personal history of the artisan but the connection is vague and more information is needed.  The idea pushes forward as a quick Google search is made that leads to sending a text that leads to a phone call or two that leads back to more googling.  An invisible thread is picked up in cyberspace that begins an incredible weaving of a textile that is known as heritage.  Heritage...something that comes to or belongs to one by reason of birth.  Evidence of the past was linking itself to the present through a simple idea.
(Uncle Toot in Flower Bed, charcoal, watercolor, paper, found objects, by Sarah Mattingly-Benson)

The idea had taken deep root.  Its first vague form was beginning to bud.  The deeper the search the larger it grew.  It was put aside with great reluctance as more pressing tasks were attended to but it hovered at the edges of all activity niggling not to be forgotten.  It was with great impatience that the discoverer moved through her day wishing it away so she could fully embrace and immerse herself in the new found knowledge.
(Miles of Winston County, mixed media, by Sarah Mattingly-Benson)

Necessity took her far away from any hope of touching more upon the idea, or at least that is what she thought as she drove away both physically and mentally.  She was utterly unaware that she was actually driving toward a place that would send a single seed of thought into a full bloomed ready to be executed idea.   
(Sarah Mattingly, Southern Woman, colored pencil, by Sarah Mattingly-Benson)

The doors whooshed open and she stepped across the threshold feeling the competition of the oppressive heat on her back and the tingle of cool on her face.  She was looking down as she moved forward only raising her eyes in greeting until a sound to her left caused her to turn.  She took in her breath at the sight before her.  There stood Uncle Toot in his garden, Luna moths and fireflies darting across painted surfaces, birds winging their away across layered water color paper clouds, and faces, ancestral faces in charcoal on unconventional materials like rippling rusty tin or old wooden boxes.  The exquisite works of Sarah Mattingly-Benson speaking of her rural southern roots was on display.  Her heritage speaking volumes to the quiet observer.
(Reverend, mixed media, by Sarah Mattingly-Benson)

In that moment, walking around the displays of the temporary gallery, her purpose for being there was forgotten.  She dared not but her fingers itched to touch the art.  Her eyes drank in each detail and her heart was filled with longing to make her own work of purpose.  Her own personal heritage was calling her hands to duty.  The idea solidified.  While her own heritage collection would be vastly different from Sarah's, for she does not possess the training, skill, talent, or years of practice, nor do they work in the same mediums, it would still be hers, wrought from the simple idea of heritage.  Her next work is begun...
(Kin, mixed media by Sarah Mattingly-Benson)

Have you ever had an idea that would not leave you alone?
What did you do with it?


P.S.  The photos in this post do not due justice to the intricate beauty of Sarah's work.  Uncle Toot in the flower bed is amazing in person.  Each leaf is created individually and carefully layered to create depth and texture.  The same method is used on the clouds in Flight in Clouds, truly stunning.  If you would like to learn more about Sarah's art you can view her three part presentation as follows: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3


Ruth Kelly said...

Wow! She is a mind blowing talented lady.

Vee said...

Very intriguing...I'll be off to follow the links momentarily. What I love about this post is the prose and so my mind was busy seeing all the things you describe.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful,creative and very unique.

And I must say, that listening to the Edward Scissorhands theme song while reading this post was in perfect harmony with the increasing intensity of your plot's story line:)

Nicely done!

Anne said...

the bird painting is so beautiful!

Marilou Bain said...

Thanks for sharing Sandy, I really enjoyed this post and will be hopping over for a visit. I'm enjoying my new treasures and already created a Prayer Flag with some of the goodies. I hope you got to see my post about my gift and blessings. Will post my flag this week. Prayer Flags are sure a wonderful way to create a bit of Art from the heart, Hugs and love Marilou

Katherine Wolak said...

Wow... these are amazing! I especially liked teh man with teh chair and hat, lovely!


Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I always have at least 2 - 3 ideas that constantly swarm my head until they are executed. :) Drives me a bit batty at times as I never seem to have enough free time to match my ideas.

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin