the invisibility of the artist

sketch by c. schoenfeld

we stand
one foot on the rim
of being seen

is nothingness,
in front a world
of words & lines & shades

waiting to be brought
to those who listen

“what ya doing?”
(irritated glance)
“psshhh” i say, sitting on my legs
(bad habit)
in the half dark on a chair
way outside the lightbulb’s shape// of reality,
the living room– a tree, orb, boat–

i’m clothed
with just the moment
& apart from this– the artist’s nakedness,

he kneads his forehead
“you’re not drawing me, right–?”
i lean back, smile

sink deeper in the slit between the lamp shine &–

he turns his head back to his laptop

my pen, brush, me
the observer, way out on the waves,
never sure if there’s a way// & how the wind–

i strew bread crumbs on the floor
(for orientation)
lean tenderly on beads of hues&words

&wash up on the shore–
the last straw loosely
in my pocket


invisibility – in any form – is Mary’s theme for poetics at dVerse today… doors will swing open at 3pm EST…


51 responses to “the invisibility of the artist

  1. “I strew bread crumbs on the floor (for orientation)” That is my kind of marker! I’m loving the poem and the painting.

  2. good morning…smiles.
    3 AM and of the 55 kids still 13 awake. i snuck a cat nap during the movie.

    first, the title. its cool. because the artist is invisible, just out of frame, but always there. we just get to look through their eyes.
    i think it interesting that you say to those who listen, when i am thinking visual.
    clothed in just the moment is a cool line.
    and i chuckled a bit…artists and writers…no one is safe around them. smiles.

  3. Wonderful drawing/portrait – and there is the double invisibility here–of the artist and of the subject who is not conscious of himself and exactly what’s around him–great Gretel–I think you washed up with brush in pocket not straw. k.

  4. ‘one foot on the rim’ ~ how easy it is to sway between poet’s/artist world and reality of life/people/surrounding ~ love your way to find the road back -‘i strew bread crumbs on the floor
    (for orientation)’ ~ happy weekend, Claudia ~ the art – stand up story by itself…

  5. O, gosh, I will orient myself by this poem, a foot on the rim, sitting on legs, lean back,slip deeper into the slit between, on the waves, strewing bread crumbs, lean gently, wash up–what a dance naked at the rim for the translator/creator. We make the invisible visible. There exists a solid thereness in the portrait of him and of the artist. So much action!

  6. It is interesting to think about the artist being invisible, Claudia. Also interesting to think that perhaps each of us may become ‘art’ to the painter, sketcher, poet out there without our knowledge. Also a reminder that art is everywhere, and what may be invisible to some is made visible by the artist. I like that in this poem the subject at first questions if he is ‘art’ but then goes back into his routine, letting the artist behind the scenes invisibly do her work.

  7. I now wonder whether your husband remembered asking the question and whether he saw the painting in the end. I suppose the artist’s work is invisible but, eventually, they leave something behind, forever.

  8. Artists are kinda invisible indeed as they watch everyone else and capture them. Unless you are drawing someone who doesn’t want to be, then you might not be so invisible lol

  9. Liking the title and drawing ~ I specially like this part:

    my pen, brush, me
    the observer, way out on the waves,
    never sure if there’s a way// & how the wind–

    Enjoyed the hue & crafting of words on page ~

  10. I love this Claudia, the idea that we can be unseen as an artist and thus not influence the subject of our work … There is a circle of light that you try to stay just out of … I think you have captured the tension of that beautifully.

  11. I feel myself on that precipice often “words & lines & shades” keeping me perfectly balanced…in and out of sight.

    I imagine being invisible helps an artist to capture the truth, but can so absorb them it takes effort to find their way back to being seen.

    I liked this…

  12. The beginning of that poem is so true, so wise – perfectly captures that sort of bewilderment we feel when trying to capture things in word or colour.

  13. I really enjoyed the whole poem…ah but those first two stanzas were just perfect…how they characterizes us as writers and what we do…quite a fine verse to start my day.

  14. Wonderful. The serene imagery of losing yourself into the world of art… particularly towards the end is really beautiful.
    There is that sense of relaxation in your words… and a subtle spiritual tone as well which I found mesmerizing.

  15. I can relate to this Claudia, the invisibility, the breadcrumbs on the floor.
    Long time ago I used to draw and paint – my last effort not to remain invisible is my little smiling spider.
    Love your words and artwork Claudia.
    Anna :o]

  16. LOVE the drawing, and the poem! We are always trying to capture those around us with our pens, whether in sketches or words……….so cool, “you’re not drawing me, are you?” and love “me, the observer, way out on the waves.”

  17. I feel a bit like this when I am making rough notes about my fellow train travellers – to them, I’m just a woman lost in her notebook, but… little do they know! A great description of how artists can hide in this way – and I loved the artwork here too!

  18. An artist or a poet are both sensitive to the surroundings and see ‘things’ others don’t. The beauty of the inborn traits can go a long way that make others see them as invisible. Very true and well crafted Claudia! And great water-color!


  19. A wonderful depiction of the artistic journey into the unknown, into the doing, into the moment … when we lose ourselves, and some time later come out the other side.

  20. we stand
    one foot on the rim
    of being seen

    – the beginning alone is intense and powerful. I like the journey through the poem as you reveal further, Wonderful awakening.

  21. your take on invisibility is amazing – the artist is almost always invisible… behind the lens, out of frame, just their ink on a page… makes me think of street photographers who have to blend in, so the photos are natural and not forced…

  22. Lovely! made me think of photos I often take of street art in our city. It is not valued enough and I always have to hurry to photograph before gangs start adding their signatures over it. I loved all of the poem but these lines, to me, brought it to life:
    he kneads his forehead
    “you’re not drawing me, right–?”
    i lean back, smile

  23. Yes, we observe and interpret..the middle guy who doesn’t always get the kudos or credit or is simply ignored altogether. Fun to sit on your legs though and paint…get lost in your own thoughts for the moment…kind of like the mail delivery man…just take him for granted.

  24. the striking difference between invisible and wanting to be invisible. i love your take on this. the artist’s nakedness… excellent.

  25. Oh my, That was amazing. I could start quoting favorite lines/stanzas etc, but I’d end up copying the whole thing. I love how you weave your husband? into your poems. The love is so obvious I can reach out and touch it. You paint a scene in watercolor and paint it in words and I just get all starry-eyed groupie…can’t form coherent comments except to say wow. Do you have any published books? Because I want one.
    Truly an amazing piece.
    Tina @ Life is Good