Monday, September 18, 2006


This one goes way back, to 1986, two years after my Italy trip. I think it is heavily influenced by Carravaggio. I don't remember the real title for this book, but I was doing a bunch of covers for the well known mystery author, Mary Stewart, so it could have been one of hers.
I love doing mysteries, especially when I can get into the pychological state of mind of the protagonist. In this case a young woman in hard times is married to a rich but disturbed Lord who takes her off to meet the folks, a difunctional family unit, if there ever was one! Just when she is getting used to the icy dislike of the in laws, she begins to think her new husband might be trying to kill her! She is snooping around at night, in my picture, trying to find clues, when she hears someone else skulking around,-maybe her murderous husband? I chose to bring the girl right up front so we can see her expression, while she is turning and directing our look to the shadow of an offstage person at the bottom right. It is much more frightening sometimes to just hint at the "monster in the house" than to actually show him.
The Carravaggio influence is in the strong light and shadow on the girl and the contrast between her and the dark background. In an illustration you have to grab the attention of the viewer and make the important action in the story you're telling very clear. Every element in the picture should help direct the eye to that message. But art works best when there is more to it than just the obvious message. We want to read into the image and in this case, the eye keeps coming back to the girl whose expression is somewhat ambiguous. Is she frightened? Determined? Curious? What does her hand express? These are the stories under the Story and help give the image interest.


Sally said...

Nice tension-packed image. The model reminds me of actress Tracy Scoggins in her youth.

james Griffin said...

Thanks, Sally! I confess I didn't know who Tracy Scoggins is, so I looked her up. I see what you mean! There's a similarity. I forgot who the model was I used for this. Thanks for your comment!