Friday, May 21, 2010

A Conversation: Art & Poetry

The premise of the painting-half of this feature is that artist Trudy Babchak can essentially do anything she wants--grieving figures, dancing girls, memories of her family and their complex relationships with a painful past--with her themes continuing into the present--then pushing ever onward, toward transformation, transcendence.

And her paintings speak to all of us about loss, sadness, or joy in one way or another, although for her, it is intensely personal and to begin a painting, she has said to me more than once, “There has to be a story.”

September 11 by Trudy Babchak

But for this feature, I chose several large-scale details of ROUND nude female figures. The simplicity and joy of their form spoke to me during the height of Spring—no story—as our natural environment warmed up, sprouted leaves, and forced tight buds to open! So I responded to these paintings with a series of poems, which I am calling a conversation between painter and poet—Trudy Babchak and Kay Weeks. Won’t you join us?

The Green Goddess

As soon as I saw this painting
with its voluptuous green-ness,
I thought of that rich salad dressing we used to

Eat, before we adopted
the New-age-No-fat egg-less
whatever diet that, from my point of view,
sometimes distances us from life…

Green Side by Trudy Babchak

So as I said, when I saw those round green
honey-buns, with that elf-like hue,
I ran right out to my nearest store and bought
the most old-fashioned gooey Mayo I could find;
whipped up the Green Goddess dressing
and spooned it
over a double chunk of Iceberg lettuce--
then devoured it all, summarily,
like some old, forgotten 1950s self.

Original Recipe Yield 6 servings

2 cups mayonnaise
4 anchovy fillets, minced
1 green onion, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon


Lying on her side
a woman reveals twin suns--
not moons because a moon,
we know, is cold!

So, can you feel the radiating heat
as she basks in herself, so calm,
assured, all knowing,
then, as if suddenly
expanding her orb,
turns toward you, to meet?

Kay Weeks

Barbie Pink by Trudy Babchak

Bending Over (a haiku)

Peering into night,
Do you see a sleeping leaf
Opening to light?

Kay Weeks

Bottom UP by Trudy Babchak


Walking Away

In this series of three repeated paintings, the same nude woman is caught walking away from the viewer into a shallow space against three differently colored misty backgrounds. I do not know artist Babchak's intent, but my mood is altered when I look at this “walking woman.” She makes me sad. So, my poem’s mood is changed as well. I wrote this:

Her body is saying:

Will you walk with me?
I walk into gloom.

Will you talk with me?
I walk into gloom.

Her head is turned;
she has not learned
to look outside herself
to see.

The arms and hands
break strangely, angles,
all pointing down.

Voiceless now,
but asking with her action pose--
Will you walk with me?

I hear myself saying,
“Your back is turned.”
But then again you say,
with your body:

"I do not want to walk alone
Into my gloom.”

All quiet now--
truth to tell, I fear gloom.
Your sadness robs me of my voice,
but still, this poet has a choice--
The answer is “Yes.”
I just left my room
to walk with you.


Finally, since I always choose to end on an upbeat note, Babchak has painted many dancing girls, under different titles. Many are in a circular form, which was the theme of this particular feature: ROUND.

Dancing Girls

Alone in blue, or holding hands,
Or in a white line…with red shoes.
Our dance goes on and on,
Round and round! Take my hand now—
You don’t want to miss
a single moment of our dancing bliss
in double time, or half-time:
This is it!

Poem: Kay Weeks 5.11.10

Blog content/poetry: Kay Weeks
Paintings by Trudy Babchak



Anonymous said...

This is fun. Adds a whole new dimension to both the art and the poetry. I need to sit down with this when I have more time. Im off to Lawrence now.....Harve

Anonymous said...

Great collaboration. I love the paintings and the poems to match. Good work!!

from Seattle

Anonymous said...

Very nice intermingling of paint and poetry.


Catonsville, MD

Anonymous said...

For me, each of the paintings acquires an openness after I read its "accompanying" poem... particularly the retreating woman. And "honey buns" makes me grin.

Catonsville, MD

Anonymous said...

Denee Barr Art: Denee says: ...crosses all boundaries and open windows to a wider perspective. There's value and honor in that======.

Trudy Babchak said...

Kay, Your poetry brings the paintings to life in another world. There is my world in the paint and your world in the words--together there is a world of art. Thank you for making the "art."