Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Hey Diddle Diddle”

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:

Hey Diddle Diddle by Frances Gapper. Read it here at Fictive Dream.

Here are the artworks on their own:

and here they are with the banner.


This story uses a familiar nursery rhyme motif to explore the idea that lightness and darkness exist in the same space – which one is uppermost depends on perspective. In two of the three pictures I did not use the cow/moon images from the nursery rhyme, focusing instead on the line “Grass vibrant green, sky-blue sky, fluffy white clouds” fading and darkening to contrast the opening with the images brought up by the items in the bargain box and shop annex. In the third image I depicted a more literal interpretation of the nursery rhyme.

Image 43 – I used a horizontal landscape layout with the middle representing the happy scenic pasture for the idealized life. This area is enclosed by a darker sky at the top and a jagged dark field at the bottom, representing the contrasting view of life that is a step removed from the surface.

Image 44 – I used similar colors and theme as for Image 43, but this time I represented it as a progression across the page, with the happy everyday scene fading into the dark, more hidden aspect.

Image 63 – In this picture I showed the cow jumping over the moon as described in the text: “Here I am, jumping over a golden full moon in a navy sky”. This image reflects the tone of the opening section of the story, when the cute, playful aspects of the rhyme are emphasized.

Read the story at Fictive Dream.

16 thoughts on “Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Hey Diddle Diddle”

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      You’re very welcome. Your story had so much depth to it and the colors it suggested to me through the text were wonderful to work with. Glad you liked it and thank you for such good material to work from. I enjoyed it.

  1. agnesashe

    Love this palette. I realise that you’re working with the text, but was wondering whether you think your work was particularly influenced by creating during the winter. February is a tough month, lowlight, miserable weather in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, however you’ve still produced lively images, colourful although with a hint of chilliness. Weather and text in alignment perhaps?

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I had to think about this, and I don’t think the time of year influenced me – I really examine the texts for visual clues and images which of course includes color. And there were bright stories and dull ones (color-wise). I do think my color sense tends to the brighter and more intense side of whatever color I choose to work with and I think (and have thought for some time) that is maybe more because of my poor eyesight and how I perceive things – bold is just easier for me to see and work with? I will say that having this project to work on during the winter, though, is psychologically just a perfect time. It gives a lift to me thinking about a sustained effort like this.

      1. agnesashe

        Ah well working with challenged vision and painting with strong colour you are in good company when you remember Turner and Monet and no doubt many other artists over the centuries. I suppose I was thinking more of the psychological effect of the weather. I certainly agree with you it is often easier to work on a fixed project with a clear brief. And with this Flash Fiction series you can dive into your imagination and see where the text leads you.

        1. Claudia McGill Post author

          I’ve been thinking more about this, and to me, I don’t think the weather or the outdoors environment influences me much for art purposes, although I do do more clay in the summer (the basement is nice and cool vs clammy right now!). And you are right, with an assignment, it becomes the environment you work within, I think.

        2. agnesashe

          I didn’t think the weather made much difference to me until I came to having to paint scarves for an autumn collection and it was early summer. It just didn’t feel right. I guess work that is going to be worn and worn during specific seasons is different. I have found other projects less affected and probably colour choices more dependent on mood than weather.

        3. Claudia McGill Post author

          I can certainly see it in the case of your scarves. I do think when I do landscapy images I tend to work with whatever season I’m in, but then sometimes I am hoping for summer in winter or vice versa and go into that . But I think we are conditioned with clothing to associate it very strongly with the season, with reason, so your scarf story makes a lot of sense to me.

Comments are closed.