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Artist displays 30-foot-long watercolor

March 14, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The meeting room at the Pine Island library was barely large enough to roll out the 30-foot-long watercolor creation of artist Zan Lombardo at her show last Wednesday afternoon.

The painting entitled "Everything is Indeed Reaching Out to Everything Else" is an interwoven watercolor that translates in artistic form "anger, anxiety and frustration into something beautiful," Lombardo said.

The original inspiration for the painting came from a magazine article that had a Chinese scroll painting across the top of every page of 10 pages.

Article Photos

Artist Zan Lombardo’s 30-foot-long
'Everything is Indeed Reaching Out to Everything Else” painting.


"I said, 'I could do that,'" Lombardo said. "I went looking for the longest paper I could find which was a 4 foot tall, 30 foot long 140 pound. Arches cold press paper."

Like most artists, Lombardo wasn't prepared to work on such a large piece.

"In fact, the table I used was only 4 feet wide," Lombardo said. "So my 30-foot paper could only be worked on in 4-foot lengths."

"The first rule I made was 'unconditional love,'" Lombardo said. "Whatever I decided to draw on any given day I would draw with no erasing and no changing. The second rule was everything had to touch I didn't want it to look like a lot of 4-foot sections."

Lombardo connected everything with lines and color. It took two years to draw and two years to paint.

"Ten minutes while the pasta boiled, 20 minutes when the washer ran," Lombardo said. "I was teaching full time and I had a life."

Lombardo purchased the paper in 2006 and began drawing the following year. The painting is an interwoven and connected painting of places and images of Lombardo's life - from a piece of sycamore from Pennsylvania that reminded her of where she grew up in Sycamore, Illinois, to a wooden bowl purchased at a gift ship to the William Penn Oak in Pennsylvania.

"I even used my daughter and her friends' arms and legs in one section of the painting," Lombardo said.

Lombardo finished the painting with seven faces. One face representing each of the seven continents of the earth. Once the painting was finished, Lombardo decided to write a poem that would tell the story and the meaning of the work. The poem that narrates this painting has been hand lettered directly on the bottom of the painting by Sheila Waters, one of the world's best calligraphers.

Lombardo's poem

An arc of arms are reaching out from distant

Suns whose gestures stir the life of seeds.

To be here, now, requires our hearts to listen,

Watch, and know that Light fulfills our needs.

When gripped by stagnant vines of fear, relief

Springs from the pulsing center of our chests.

False boundaries dissolve in prayer; peace weaves

The seeming chaos into something blessed.

Stay rooted. Stand witness. Be upholding.

Guidance from great Mother Oak whose limbs will

Move us to join the sacred dance, singing

Aloud that work is love made visible.

Roused by poetic muse of rainbow voice,

What stirs us also presses us against

The tide of thick embranglement of choice

In which our spirits rise and fall, unfenced.

One truth: that drawn by gravity and awe

The world is in relationship with all.



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