Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Black Dog”

I continue with my illustrations for Flash Fiction February 2020, twenty-nine days of flash fiction stories at Fictive Dream,  an online fiction magazine featuring short stories.

For the event I created a small abstract painting for each selection – in fact, I did more than one painting per story. I am showing you all the images, day by day, throughout February. I’m also including a short write-up as to how I went about turning the authors’ words into pictorial representations.

I hope you’ll take a look at my art, then go to Fictive Dream, see which image editor Laura Black chose for the magazine, and read the story!

Thank you to Laura for her faith in my work and to the authors for such wonderful material to work with.

Today’s story is:

Black Dog by Ian C. Smith. Read it here at Fictive Dream.

Here are the artworks on their own:

and here they are with the banner.


This story is an impressionistic narration that focuses on a vigorous youthful past in the context of a diminished present. It’s not certain what the characters’ relationship is or was but instead it is the memories that define them. There are a number of visual images but their connections are somewhat left to the reader to define. In this vein I made impressionistic images for this story, using colors mentioned and the motif of the dog (past and present), the colors of the past, and the darker present.

Image 12 – This image incorporates the bright colors of the past (“glorious color lit by the sun’s warmth”) as well as a nod to today’s colors filtered through glass (“As light through coloured glass falls on her hair…”) enclosed by the indigo evening of the present. I also included indistinct dark stripes to reflect the present day dog’s threatening presence as well as the black dog of the memory.

Image 13 – In this image the past is larger than the present in terms of color, representing the strength of the memory and its connotations of a vigor, with the black corner representing the menace of the dog and the changes that have led to the present.

Image 14 – I envisioned the story as a landscape and portrayed the story elements in that framework – the evening sky pressing in on the bright memories of strength and youth of the past day(s).

Read the story at Fictive Dream.

4 thoughts on “Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Black Dog”

  1. Laura (PA Pict)

    I love the use of the contrasting cold and warm colours in all three pieces and the suggestion of day and night, contrasts between time frames, the passage of time.

  2. Laura Black

    For this marvellous story, Black Dog by Ian C Smith, I had some difficulty in deciding which image to choose – each one could have supported the story. In the end, I chose Image 12 because it best of all encompassed the ideas in the story, and its tone. There’s a sense of loss which for me is reflected in the indigo and I found the black lines appealing. Thank you, Claudia.

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