Portal: Fall Equinox Recovery Gals Art Exchange

The theme for this round of the Recovery Gal’s Art Exchange was “Portal”.  I was paired with a good friend of mine and was so excited to create something for her.

Since Frances and I are common spirits, I knew that she would be into something that went a bit on the dark side.  In thinking about a portal, I thought of many things. 

One thing I thought of was how books in themselves are a portal.  They bring us to different places, times, and we can travel to anywhere we would like.  Books are sacred. 

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

Stephen King

I love Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son’s writings, and I thought Frances would like a book of his short stories, so I wrapped them up as a “Blind Date with a Book”, and wrote a description of the book inside, and drew a ghost to indicate that there were ghost stories inside.

I had to include some tea with the book, of course!

Speaking of books, I recently saw that Frances had purchased a Shining mask, and it was then I knew I wanted to use that pattern in my art for her.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do yet, but it would involve that pattern, which is based on the carpeting that was in the hallway of the Shining, which is a bit of a portal itself. 

The hotel in the Shining is a portal.  The layout of the hotel is physically impossible, and many rooms don’t make sense geographically or change in odd ways.  Also, there are ghosts that live here, and it’s a portal where they come to life for those that want to see it, or that it wants to control.

When I saw a set of pots meant to be painted, I knew that was it!  I loved that the pots are actual portals for plants to grow, and Frances loves plants, flowers, mushrooms, etc. so I thought it was meant to be, and she can fill it with whatever she would like, they already had pre-drilled holes, and twine to hang. 

The bottom pot I based on the carpeting of The Shining.  As I said before, I knew I wanted to use this pattern.  From being a Stephen King super fan, and watching the documentary film Room 237, I knew that the carpet in the movie appears to move, indicating the negative energy in Room 237, and that there were male and female energy that was moved.  When the Hexagon is open, it represents female energy, and when it’s closed, it’s male.

In one scene, a ball rolls to Danny along a line on the carpet, and then later the pattern of the carpet has changed, making the hexagon now appear closed. “Symbolically this may mean how, like the cars within the hexagon, the ball is trapped and cannot go back the way it came. This could be a reference to historical tragedy, or about the confining nature of the Overlook itself.” (article referenced below).

I looked into the history of the carpet in the shining, and it was created by David Hicks (1929-1998) who is considered one of the most outstanding interior designers of all time. His fusion of pattern, color, antique and contemporary has influenced many designers of both home and fashion. His early clients mixed aristocracy, media and fashion (Vidal Sassoon, Helena Rubinstein, the Duchess of Rutland and Mrs. Conde Nast). He made carpets for Windsor Castle and decorated the Prince of Wales’ first apartment at Buckingham Palace.

As it says in this article cited below, the carpeting was chosen for these reasons:

  1. Firstly, because of its unnerving, mesmerizing and vivid presence which adds a sense of foreboding.
  2. Secondly, because the graphic pattern lends itself to working particularly well in Kubrick’s symmetrical, ‘one point perspective’ framing and adds a more dramatic sense of perspective and a lengthening effect of the corridor.
  3. Thirdly, because the definition of Hex is ‘a curse or malicious wish’ and thus perfectly symbolising the evil contained within the hotel.
  4. Fourthly, we can link the hexagonal carpet to Kubrick’s fascination of both chess and war strategy. Hex maps, hex boards and hex grids are often used in strategy game board designs and commonly used in war games of all scales. The map is subdivided into a hexagonal tiling, small regular hexagons of identical size.
  5. Lastly, a hexagon has six sides. As Hallorann explains to Danny, ‘the Shine’ is a psychic or clairvoyant ability – one might say a sixth sense.

The full article on the history of the carpeting for anyone wanting to get lost down this portal is here:  https://filmandfurniture.com/2017/11/kubricks-carpet-in-the-shining/

I took a few days off work, we were supposed to meet up in Austin to exchange and meet fellow Unruffleds, but because of Covid our plans changed, so we had to cancel, but I still took the days off, I needed them. Life has been hard lately. I went for a massage, and after seeing the carpeting for days while creating this, I had carpet on the brain, and I felt like this was a more modern version of the carpeting.

The hard part was recreating the pattern of the carpet onto a pot.  I don’t know how to transfer an image (if it’s even possible to do this), so I had to redraw a very symmetrical pattern, over and over again.  I printed out what it was meant to look like and used that as reference.  I had to go one hexagon or two at a time as my challenged eyes got easily confused by the design. 

I started to paint with Posca pens (another love that Frances and I share), as I drew to help me with the design; it was helpful to see it coming along. 

I had no problem with the black or red Posca pens (although I found out through research that the actual carpeting is a very dark brown, but at this point I couldn’t go back).  However, the orange Posca pen proved to be an elusive mystery.  Orange isn’t in my set of pens, so I had to order one special, and I didn’t want to wait for it to come in the mail as I was already behind.  I found one at a local art store, and ordered it for curbside service.  However, once I got home and started painting, I noticed that it was fluorescent orange!  You can’t tell in this picture, but it was very bright, and wouldn’t do for what I wanted.

So I went back and looked in person and found orange!  I got home to realize it is “glitter” orange – you would think I would have carefully looked at this point, but no!  And they didn’t have regular orange, so I went with the glitter orange, which actually looks more gold, but I do like how it turned out.

After painting the bottom pot, I was conflicted on how to do the other two.  One idea I had was to do various portals, one from the Ring, and I wasn’t sure on the other.  Another idea was to do the pattern throughout all of them, but then I thought – this needs blood! And I thought of another portal in The Shining – the elevator. 

Even if you haven’t seen the Shining, you know the blood in the elevator.  The blood gushing from the elevator is said to represent life pouring out, leaving the body, draining life. This was not in the book, same as the carpeting, but was brilliance by Kubrick.  (Although please note – I love the book more than the movie)

I painted the elevators on both the top and middle pots, and then had the blood coming out in the middle pot. 

On the sides I painted two symbols, 1408, which equals 13 added up, as well as “Redrum”, which is “Murder” spelled backwards, a main symbol in the book and movie, that Danny sees in his visions.

I also found a blank hamsa hand incense burner that I painted with the Posca pens. Hamsa hands are thought to provide protection, and I thought it went well with the theme. The Portal sign I tried to recreate the scribbling from The Ring that the child circles when he’s seeing The Ring. (Frances will get it) :).

Frances, I hope you love these pots, and I know you will put them to good use.  Love you, my friend.

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