Wednesday, September 7, 2016

"A Dream within a Dream" - My Poe Piece Show At the Poe Museum

Back in March '16, I was invited to create a piece of artwork for a group show at the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. The organizer, A. Nancy Cintron, saw my recent piece, "The Seeker" online, and was excited by this piece because she just organized a Vincent Price show at her gallery. She asked me if I would submit a piece for the upcoming show, "a POE-etic Tribute", which opens September, 22, 2016. Of course I said, Yes! 

I was thrilled to participate in this show because I've always wanted to do a portrait of Edgar Allan Poe.

Here's a link to the Opening Event, (on Facebook) ---> here.

Each artist in the show was asked to choose one of Poe's lesser-known poems, and use it as their starting point. After reading many of his poems, I chose "A Dream Within a Dream". Here it is....

"A Dream within a Dream"
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?  
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp 
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Originally, I wanted to do a kinetic piece using sand, but decided it would be out of the price range of most of the other works. 

Here is my piece - I imaged his feeling after the last bits of sand left is hand, and as he says, "Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep — while I weep!".

The piece measures 8" x 16" x 5", and is currently available from me for $595. The piece is signed and dated.

I really tried to focus on his body position. As I always do, I stood up and used my own body as my model, and imagined his position slumped forward - as in a defeated stance.

A view from the back.

The making of......

His hand-carved basswood hands.
His shoes; the design of which is mostly pulled from my imagination. I don't use a lot of reference photos when designing and creating my pieces. I like my memory and imagination to guide me.

For sculpting his polymer clay head, I did however use a photo reference. I used that one iconic image of him, but try to add some sadness to his eyes.

Here is his fully carved basswood body, all ready to be painted. His arms and legs etc. are assembled as he's dressed.

After painting, and right before he's dressed in his handmade clothes.

Here are his painted - and aged - hands - right before he was dressed. I really like how this shot came out.

A close-up of his head, showing his mournful expression.

A detail shot of his shoes. I had this "treasure box" in my collection of found boxes, and it turned out a perfect match for this figure. I thought, "the poem mentions standing on a surf-tormented shore - this could be an old sea chest!". The only thing I added was the lock on front.
It doesn't happen often, but I love when things come together like this. And I really love this piece!

Thanks for looking.



  1. Nice Tom ! Would like to see the mechanism, which I think is as much the piece as the character.

    1. Hi Gys, There is no mechanism in this piece; it's static.