Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Mad Aunt Brenda”

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:

Mad Aunt Brenda by Mary Thompson. Read it here at Fictive Dream.

Here are the artworks on their own:

and here they are with the banner.


This story relates the effect an eccentric aunt has on her niece, whose small view of the world and of life is expanded by her aunt’s influence.

Image 47 – I used three elements from the story to create this image. The middle section illustrates the line “the sky seemed limitless and any damn thing seemed possible”, for how the aunt changed the way her niece viewed life. The side sections each represent the colorful and expansive outlook Aunt Brenda displayed. She is said to have appeared “clad head to toe in tartan”, and then later that she “had a penchant for India”, traveling there on occasion, for which I created a pattern reminiscent of Indian fabrics.

Image 48 – For this image I focused on the line “the sky seemed limitless”. I applied this image to the final paragraph, where the narrator is outside in winter when she hears of Aunt Brenda’s death: “ But as I looked up, beyond the trees, beyond the sky, I swore I could see her…” with the trees and the open sky symbolizing Aunt Brenda’s encouragement to open her life and giving her room to do so.

Read the story at Fictive Dream.

3 thoughts on “Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Mad Aunt Brenda”

  1. Laura (PA Pict)

    Your artworks capture colours of my home country, the cool, smokey blues, the lush greens, and the purples of heather, clover and, of course, thistles. The second image is very reminiscent of the view from my former house, down Loch Gilp, the water between the hills. I, therefore, think it captures perfectly that idea of horizons expanding beyond the familiar geography of home, opening up all of the possibilities. The story is a very bittersweet one but I like the way your illustration for it focuses on the positivity of the overall theme.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you, I was using the colors described in this story, and I felt a wistfulness and sadness in them, the feeling of loss and hope mixed together. I really liked this story and wanted to get that feeling across, I am glad you saw it in the pictures.

  2. Sandra McCall

    LOVE the art with the fabric in it. Without reading the story first, the artwork with the patterned fabric looked like exactly that. Curtains with a view to the outside landscape. After reading, it made me want to cry. I love your work to this story and do so hope to be a mad Aunt Sandy to my young niece.

Comments are closed.