A Month of Artwork Coming Up. A Month of Stories Coming Up.

It’s almost February. And what is so special about that, you may say?

Well, it’s time for Flash Fiction February 2021, that’s what!

For me, this February marks the third year that I have done illustrations for Flash Fiction February at Fictive Dream, an online magazine focusing on the short story. FFF21, as I call this year’s event, is just what it sounds like: a whole month of flash fiction, one story a day, throughout the month of February.

In the past, I’ve created illustrations specifically for each story. This year, for a lot of reasons, I was able to continue that approach. There is a tight timeframe and a lot of work to do in a short period, and it was just not possible this year.

But – I love working with editor Laura Black and I love the event itself. I did not want to leave this experience. In thinking about it, I came up with the idea of creating a body of artwork from which Laura could then select appropriate illustrations.

To my happiness, Laura agreed, and I set to work. Eventually I made 102 small abstract paintings, far more than I usually would do for a project needing 28 final images, but because the work process was different, it fit my schedule and abilities, and it was a pleasure to do. For all of this I am so grateful to Laura for making it possible.

To create the illustrations, without a story reference, I reflected on a variety of themes, emotions, and moods. I think that all writing, however specific it is within its own framework, touches on universally true and recurring ideas, feelings, and behaviors. Fiction examines and reveals these elements through word selection, sentence structure, choice of subject, and in many other ways. I wanted to use color, line, shape, and form to do the same.

My hope was that Laura could “read” my visual stories and match them to the written stories. This did turn out to be the case – each story found its picture.

In this time of upheaval, chaos, and disorder, making art is for me a chance to bring meaning to what is ocurring in my life or in the world, to make a statement, to define things, or to agree that some things remain undefined. I think writers do the same thing with words. Communication and connection.

Each day, I will post the artwork for the story and provide a link to Fictive Dream. It is my hope that you will look at the art, think about what impression it makes on you, what its story might be. And then that you will read the story and see the artwork in that context.

About the artwork:

Each image is approximately 7″ x 10″, a size dictated by the requirements of the magazine’s layout online. I worked in acrylic paints and inks on watercolor paper or Bristol board.

In composing the pictures, I needed to be aware of how the art would look in the thumbnail image, meaning no essential elements could be set close to the bottom and top edges. I also had to leave room for the “Flash Fiction February 2021 “banner”, which was inserted digitally on the scanned artwork, and which needed to be visible in both thumbnail and full-size views.

Once I finished an artwork, I scanned it, added the banner, and sent the image to Laura in the correct size for her to use.

All 102 artworks:

If you do the math, there are a LOT of artworks that didn’t get used: 102-28=74, to be specific. I will post them on the blog as time goes on. Some of them illustrate this post, in fact.

I think all of them would be happy to pose for a story idea…go ahead! Why not?