Revisits: Rivalry

I did some illustrations for an event at Fictive Dream, an online fiction magazine specializing in short stories. It’s called “Revisits”. In it, the magazine revisits “the best of the back catalog”, as editor Laura Black says. Every two weeks through August, a different theme will be explored.

Look here for the first post, Love, which also offers an overview of the parameters of the art aspects of this project.

Today, June 12, the theme is Rivalry. Here’s the image:

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By now Fictive Dream Editor Laura Black and I had settled into a good process for working through these pieces. One thing that really helped me – she gave me a short paragraph or two about the remaining themes, describing her vision of the trees and the colors she associated with them. I found this immensely helpful. I think in images or impressions and then translate my thoughts into words, especially when I’m dealing with art topics. I’m not that articulate about something I’ve seen or heard until I have a little time to absorb it.

Laura’s notes allowed me to take her words and translate them into images before I started to work. I could compare them to what my own ideas had been. In many  cases we had a similar vision for the piece; other times, not so much, but in those cases I could make choices with informed knowledge. Very helpful to me, those notes, and I appreciated that Laura articulated the intangible to me!

Here’s what she said about Rivalry:

For the colour I’m thinking along the lines of an emerald/deep green. In all three stories the rivalry is reciprocated (two adult sisters, two children, two young women). For the trees maybe two solid trees that do not touch each other?

I had been thinking this intense subject needed an intense color for the ground. If it had been a standalone project, I would have chosen deep red. But, I had that color in mind for another theme and felt it fit better there. As I thought about it, Laura’s suggestion of green was a wonderful choice – I think of jealousy as being green, its traditional color, and I think of rivalry as incorporating a strong dose of jealousy.

As for her description of the trees, I had been thinking along the same lines. Rivalry is usually an ongoing process; it takes place over time. I wanted to include trees that had been at odds for a long time – so the trees would be old and thick in the trunk. I also felt the trees would be a bit battered and misshapen by the long-term conflict of rivalry, but still very alive and anticipating many more years.

As for the sky, I wanted it to feel oppressive, weighty (remembering that it also had to be a light enough color to set off the theme title). A lavender-blue seemed right for the scene.

I was happy with my first try, and I sent it off to Laura – she felt the same way. So, here you see Rivalry.

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Thanks for reading! And take a look at the stories:  here at Fictive Dream.

6 thoughts on “Revisits: Rivalry

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you, I enjoy writing about it as it helps me reflect on the experience, what I learned from doing this particular image or chapter of the project, and to settle it in my memory. I also hope others will find it interesting and maybe want to try something like this themselves, either illustration, or collage, or trees, whatever might spark an idea.

  1. Laura Black

    I agree with you that at this point we had settled into the process and knew where we were heading. This particular piece of artwork reflects the theme of rivalry beautifully. The strong emerald green couldn’t be better because of the connection between jealousy and rivalry. I must say I had not considered the sky as being oppressive but, now that you mention it, I see that it can read in that way. Most of all, I love the trees, solid and obstinate and ready to battle it out. They remind me of chess pieces. Revisits: Rivalry is the fifth in the series and because the posts appear every two weeks the images are never shown together. That said, the identity of the series is clear on the home page and it’s very easy to skim down the columns and pick the Revisits posts. So five down, and five more to go! Thank you, Claudia.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Hi Laura, I think this one is one of my favorites because all the parts seemed to work together so well – the colors, the relative heaviness of the ground and sky match well, and the trees ended up as I hoped – kind of as if they were settled in and anticipating a good long future together (of this negative kind!) As we are getting more of the Revisits done, I do like seeing them on the Fictive Dream site – I feel one of our goals was to make it easy to find the Revisits series and I feel it is working. And once again your suggestion of the green color was perfect, and one that I enjoyed putting together out of all the strips of green.

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