Behind the Cover Art

Featured: Helen Wordsworth

‘The Voice of Your Eyes’


My father gave me a love for poetry, and so I took great inspiration from the e.e. cummings’ poem, ‘Somewhere I have travelled gladly beyond’, in which the line ‘the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses’, predominantly atmospheric within its lapidary language, provoked personal consideration of chosen imagery within poetry. I love poetry for its ability to alleviate everyday stress through connection, amalgamating imagination with the sway of experience. Wanting to delve into this powerful form of expression within my art, I chose to try and visually communicate the line’s overall intensity of feeling. What comes across captivatingly is the fluidity between the layered visuals of ‘roses’, and the stressed sensory language of ‘voice’ and ‘eyes’, so when illustrating this I edited a photograph so as to heighten the seemingly active eyes through the use of piercing, translucent, almost ethereal roses, delicately collaged to complement the piece through slight distortion.


My first attempt at a response was a large-scale pencil drawing, in which I comfortably illustrated the line with less focus on the ominous tone, and rather more on the simplistic beauty. However, although pretty and soft within the blending of pinks, purples and blues amongst white, I wanted to go deeper into the characteristic intimacy, so created a second version, replacing the dream-like vacancy of expression with piercing eye contact. I didn’t want the tone of the piece to lose its vehemence of emotion through more conventional connotations of pleasant colours such as red or pink roses, so instead chose to paint in more stifling blues and greys, embellishing the ambivalence of emotion I wanted to present. I also used metallic silver paint which I thought was quite fun, as it is subtly surprising when the painting shimmers in a certain light. The painting process took two weeks, as adding layers further deepened details suggestive of immersive beauty in a more intense dreamlike surrealism. The focal point of the piece being the eyes, as in the line they are personified when given a ‘voice’, further reiterates the idea of personal connection within poetry, as anyone can take what they want from words, and I feel visual expression is the same way.