Monday, 16 July 2012
In early May, when I arrived at my mother's house for a long-awaited visit, the first thing I had to do was to awkwardly excuse myself from visiting so I could work on a commission I had accepted before leaving Scotland. I spent a little over a week holed up in the sun porch drawing and painting with all the windows opened wide. The commission was for an illustration to accompany the story that won a literary competition that runs annually here, the Toulmin Prize.
I think that my Doric-reading skills have possibly improved a bit since I illustrated last year's story, but the story was a challenging piece to illustrate nonetheless. The plot centres on a woman who lives in rural Scotland in a time when women had far fewer options available to them, and one of the main issues raised in this complex story is female infanticide. So, I did have to think quite a lot about how to present my illustration. I tried to make an image that was appealing enough for the magazine audience, but which would take on a new meaning for those who looked at it again after having read the story. The caption at the bottom is a line from the story. Though it's written in Doric, it's probably not too difficult to figure out. It means something like: She remembered all the other little girls that she'd held the same way.
For all the worry this project gave me, I did very much enjoy reading the story and had a great time working on the painting. I wish I could always paint in a sun porch... it feels just like being outside, but no mosquitoes, black flies, or rain falling on your painting. But sun porch or no, it will be lovely to get back to work now that we have no more plans for travelling about. It has been months now since I've even held a pencil or a paint brush! Oh, and I'll write very soon about our visit back to France. This trip I made sure to take photos!