Sheila Benedis, “Trees Apparel”

Sheila Benedis,
New York

Trees Apparel
Watercolor and collage

Artist Statement

My life’s work is to make artist books activated by poetry. When I am in tune with my innermost self, I feel more alive, since my energy is faithful to a commitment that nourishes me. I feel grounded in the
world, knowing that I belong here and can offer something important.

I live next to a beautiful park with undulating walls. I enjoy the trees moving in the wind, the rustling leaves, the clouds slowly floating by. The park changes with the seasons. Experiencing nature is a form
of creative meditation for making art. I slow down, revitalize my soul, refresh my mind, relax my body, feel alive. A brisk walk arouses my creative juices. I enter my personal territory, my apartment, a
sacred space for creativity. The discipline of solitary work completely absorbs me. Nature’s organic shapes permeate with their texture and movement. My imagery shows off lively, bright colors and conveys feelings of joy and excitement as well as feelings of injustice.

I show off my inner beauty, my identity as an artist. I become the tree. Nature lives in my art. The tree is a symbol of my life. It is a personal way to work through life’s experiences. My inner voice
speaks. I express important ideas with my poetry. The visual image combined with verbal language gives meaning, a visual diary. Artist books, activated by language, are my medium.

My book Trees Apparel examines the deciduous tree’s apparel in all four seasons. I have written a poem of the same name, copy included. There is a page of the book for each season, which
incorporates a stanza of the poem. I relate the tree’s apparel, its leaves, to the trees feelings. The tree feels power and glory in winter’s nakedness, is still content at start of spring with radiant flower blooming, descends into summer darkness with full cover, revives in the fall for the cycle. There is also a page for the trees communication system.

I copy the lines of each stanza of my poem and paste onto a page to produce a combination of imagery and imbedded text. My meditative labor is intervention with intention. Some of the content may be hidden beneath the surface. The poem submerged moves, floating in the layers, twisting and turning, not necessarily legible. On one side of the page is the stanza of the poem and on the other side is the image of the season. Using watercolor, I create pages, cut organic shapes, and with the ConcertinaCrown binding, I produce an artists book.

My original poetry reflects, examines my life, my sense of the world, and positive social change. I communicate my feelings and ideas through art incorporating language, share my work, connect with
and impact others. Creativity heals me, the world