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Calendar Grid--2000 (Jan 23 to Feb 26)

2000, mixed media , 32 x 25", by Jenny Badger Sultan

The Calendar Grids and Scrolls come from a 3 1/2 year period from January, l999, to June, 2002, where I made an image every day. (I had done a year of calendar grid drawings previously in 1981-82.) It seemed significant to begin this work on New Year's Day of the year before the turn of the century. I was on sabbatical from my teaching job and had more time to devote to my art.

I worked first with the grid, within a 3 1/2 inch format. Each day reflected either an inner or an outer event or a feeling or came out of the work I was doing on a painting. I chose whatever medium appealed to me--watercolor, acrylic, collage, monoprint, colored pencil, caran d'ache, etc. Examples: July and August 1999, January and April 2000.

Painted calendar for Jan. 23 to Feb. 26, 2000, by Jenny Badger Sultan. Click to enlarge
After a while, the grid structure began to feel very constricting, so I moved to the vertical scroll, where the amount of space I used could vary both horizontally and vertically. Images could also begin to overlap. This whole process gave me an opportunity to draw a lot, explore my range, work in many different materials and do a lot of experimentation. It stands as a visual journal of this time period. Examples: August-September 2000, February and September 2001.

Several years after I had ended the scrolls, I found myself embarking on a series of paintings based on different grid structures--such as the hexagon, the eight-pointed star, the ogee [spindle shape], the pentagon. I had designed many repeated patterns years ago when I silk-screened fabrics. This time I felt that working with these different grids put me into relationship with the art of Islam and the Middle East, an area of the world we have become so very involved with in recent years. Each structure has called forth a different way of working, different imagery, a different feeling. I did not preconceive them but let the process unfold as I went along.

Details from painted calendar for Jan. 23 to Feb. 26, 2000, by Jenny Badger Sultan: cradling skeleton, figurine cradling child, toilet swarming with spiders. Click to enlarge
I haven't annotated the daily entries on these calendars, but here are a few samples enlarged and identified.
2000 Feb. 2: The yellow figure cradling a baby
is an early Cypriot mother and child. An archeologist from Malta was staying with us and other folks from Malta were here. I was feeling concern about my daughter.
Feb. 7: the figure in black cradling a skeleton
was an image I had upon waking. The pose slightly echoes that of the Cypriot figure.
Feb. 19: Spiders in the Toilet, a dream from Feb. 17:
I go to the bathroom in the night. As I lift the toilet seat lid I see a group of tiny legs--looks alike a group of mashed spiders. Strange. Then I look into the toilet bowl and see that it is completely filled with brown spiders. I guess they are drowned. This is an incredible sight. I call to Hank to come and see. Then I realize that there are spiders all over ME. I begin to brush them away but itís not doing much good--they keep reappearing. There are spiders on my head, in my hair, on my legs, etc. I am getting panicky and now am calling loudly for Hank to come and help me--help me brush them off.
Woke with a pounding heart.
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