BETHEL – There is a black and white print of a young girl with a bird on her head and two windows in the background. The sky is darkened and there is an engraved moon and star. The piece appears upon entering the Cavanagh Ink Studio, owned by local artist, Deirdre Cavanagh, who has put his collection of 50 years of work inside.
Examining detailed sketches from his time at college in the 1960s, alongside landscapes of trees in Portland, to books of his paintings paired with his short poems, Cavanagh has created so much that there must be an answer. to life hidden among the details.
âIt’s not that simple,â says Cavanagh. âAll of this, and that’s how I came to experience life: nothing is but one thing. When you go back to the root and look for the meaning, that’s where I think all of us who are – if you’re a poet, or a writer, or a painter, you want to get to the point, to the reality of the wordsâ¦ but everything changesâ¦ so sometimes you have itâ¦ and then sometimes you become poof! Ha!”
Cavanagh remembers that she always painted her whole life.
âI used to go to art classes when I was little at the art center and I still remember that vivid image in my headâ¦ the guy who was there, a young man, showed me how to do a dry ink brush. It’s always exciting for me to think [about]. My mind is visual, not linear.
Cavanagh always carries a handmade sketchbook with her. She created it from poetry that she wrote and ripped out of notebooks then glued together to become a large sketchbook. Her brother, Charles, looks back on Cavanagh’s birthday dinner last week. They were sitting outside and she had taken out her sketchbook and started drawing.
Cavanagh mainly talks about his two main series. The first series concerns the development of music and the second, the series of Noh masks.
As for the series The Development of Music, âI took the score [Beethoven], which was so beautiful. I am in love with the sheet music before I start to paint the music. I wanted to understand as much as possible about this.
As you walk into the studio, one of the songs from the musical series looks straight up at you.
Noh Masks originated from a classical Japanese dramatic dance. It features iconic masks to represent the roles played. Cavanagh became interested in them when she was dancing in Albany.
“So I did the Noh Masks drawings, because you know that an artist has a terrible tendency to draw her own face, without wanting to do it in the evening, ha ha!” she laughs. “But it’s also because I kind of like the contradiction in masks, sometimes it’s Noh or just No. There’s this thought that I have, that we all wear masks so as not to show your outer skin. “
Whether you’re a fan of Tim Burton’s gothic black and white plaid prints, or Pablo Picasso’s cubism, or just love Maine trees, Cavanagh is able to blend the three genres and give them a meaningful touch, with poetry, hope, and a lot of New England mixed into it.