Color, Seeds, Thread, Buttons & Music by Debussy, Jalbert & Shaw

Postcards of Matisse’s Blue Window (1913) and Bonnard’s Table in Front of the Window (1934-35) called out for construction paper cut-outs. As if that weren’t enough, I scouted among our shelves, where I spotted an ancient packet of watermelon seeds and put them to use.

Postcards of David Hockney paintings bedeck silhouettes of a two-handled Etruscan globular cup (6th C BC). The collage doesn’t feel finished, but I’m leaving it sit for now.

I’ve been tempted for a while by a postcard of Krishna Riding a Composite Elephant (ca. 1790-1800), but I was avoiding the irretrievable act of cutting it up. That elephant, along with a post card of Pears and Grapes on a Table by Juan Gris (1913) kept beckoning, so finally I gave in.

Listening List

Debussy’s L’Isle joyeuse (1904), performed by Marc-André Hamelin.

L’îsle joyeuse was inspired by Watteau’s painting Embarkation for Cythere. Read more about L’Isle joyeuse here.

Pierre Jalbert’s Secret Alchemy (2012), performed by Vicennium Void.

Jalbert writes: “Though this piece is not programmatic, imagining the air of secrecy and mysticism surrounding a medieval alchemist at work provided a starting point for the piece.” The complete program note is here.

Caroline Shaw’s Blueprint (2016), performed by the Aizuri Quartet, for whom it was written.

Shaw writes: “Blueprint, composed for the incredible Aizuri Quartet, takes its title from this beautiful blue woodblock printing tradition as well as from that familiar standard architectural representation of a proposed structure: the blueprint.” Read her complete program note here.


Credits: Sources for the quotations may be found at the links in the text.






10 thoughts on “Color, Seeds, Thread, Buttons & Music by Debussy, Jalbert & Shaw

  1. George Mattingly

    This is great, Sue. Love what you did with the postcards (and seeds!), and music to start this thunderstormy day.

    Particularly like Shaw’s “Blueprint.” Her music is high on my list. Last year we were lucky enough to hear Roomful of Teeth perform Partita for 8 Voices in San Francisco: truly a mind-altering experience. The best vocal music ever.

    Thanks for sending this.



    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      George: Great to “see” you. Fantastic that you were able to hear Roomful of Teeth perform the Partita live. I haven’t as yet, always in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I do remember hearing Roomful of Teeth perform in a Judd Greenstein piece many moons ago and was bowled over by the ensemble.

  2. Mark Kerstetter

    Your elephant collage is the big prize here–really great work. It has a wonderful up and down motion interrupted by those horizontal blue lines and green arcs. The result is, the eye plays endlessly all around it. I love those dotted blue lines, the meandering, the question marks. This is one of your best.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Mark: I love the way you describe the motion in the elephant collage. It’s with your eyes, more than my own, by far, that I “see” what may have worked (or not). While in the process, I just stumble along until the composition sort of lands where it will.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      David: Ah, the seeds! While I think they are so far past sell-by date there’d be no hope were we to put them in the ground, Josie conjures up images of them sprouting right there on the page. Wouldn’t that be an interesting effect!

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