Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Madame Yeti and the Woolly Mammoth”


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:

Madame Yeti and the Woolly Mammoth by Frankie McMillan. Read it here at Fictive Dream.

Here are the artworks on their own:

and here they are with the banner.


“Cold” is the word to describe this story, with all its connotations of distance, detachment, and sadness at the lack of connection. The setting is centered on a cold warehouse from which one of the characters sells refrigerators. I used ice and snow as my visual theme to express the story’s feeling.

Image 21 – I created a cold landscape in grays, blacks, and whites, to express the emotional and physical landscape the characters inhabit. The dark shapes represent the gloomy warehouse and the snowy foreground the coldness of refrigerators and being lonely. I added a tiny touch of red (the text mentions a heater with “glowing red bars”) as the small bit of human interaction each week.

Image 22 – This piece is also a landscape but in a different arrangement of colors. The sky is dark, as is the warehouse environment in the story – the landscape features ice-block-like constructions and wintery blue snow to portray the cold. Once again I have added a tiny touch of red for the human connection.

Read the story at Fictive Dream.

8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Madame Yeti and the Woolly Mammoth”

  1. Laura (PA Pict)

    I love the way you’ve captured the atmosphere of the story, the coldness and distance between the characters as well as the literal chill of the place in which they meet. I like the way the composition of the first image picks up on the rigid sameness of the weekly arrangements, the routine the characters rub along in, and the suggestion of caves as each retreats back into their own space instead of finding more togetherness.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. The whole story is so full of images of cold and darkness, thinking of ways to portray it was not difficult, but getting the idea of an indoor/outdoor coldness in one picture gave me something to think about. I think this is one story definitely served by a more abstract representation, a symbolic viewpoint.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I enjoy the challenge of distilling “reality” into colors or symbols or shapes. And it allows me to use color as a bigger part of the image, too, it having meaning as well.

  2. Sandra McCall

    I love these paintings. Without reading first (doesn’t everybody study pictures before words? 😏) I saw what looked to be icy-snowy water running through and under a bridge. Then ice blocks in the second picture. You have done a great job of telling the story without even words. Plus, I love these abstracts as stand-alone art too. You’ve done it once again.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you, this makes my day. I hope these images can be pleasing to look at even if you never read the story – I evaluate each one for that as well as how it relates to the story. It’s been a challenge to study text and turn it to images, requiring close attention and thinking, but I have really enjoyed it.

  3. Laura Black

    I agree that Madame Yeti and the Woolly Mammoth by Frankie McMillan is all about the lack of human connection. However, much the central character desires a connection it is not going to happen and for me this was best portrayed in image 21. The lines are solid and there’s no hint of change. I love the cavernous warehouse and the falling snow. Image 22 has some movement in it, which for me at least, suggests change. There was no doubt in my mind which was the right illustration. Thank you, Claudia.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I loved the idea of the cold and how it contrasted with the idea of emotions and connections. There were so many repetitions of types of coldness and that gave me several ideas on how to depict it, always keeping in mind there needed to be room for a little bit of the warmth too, with the red.

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