The Distorted Reflections of a Narcissist’s Wife

…is the name of today’s story on Fictive Dream.

Throughout the month of February 2021 I will be showing you illustrations I did for Flash Fiction February 2021 at Fictive Dream, an online short-story magazine. For more information about FFF21 and my artwork process, look here.

Here’s the image editor Laura Black chose for this story, The Distorted Reflections of a Narcissist’s Wife, by Jan Kaneen.

And here is the artwork with the banner. Take a look at this image. And then…

Read the story at Fictive Dream.

10 thoughts on “The Distorted Reflections of a Narcissist’s Wife

  1. Laura Black

    Today’s flash, The Distorted Reflections of a Narcissist’s Wife by Jan Kaneen, is a very emotional story which refers to a looking glass. This particular illustration complements the story very well. For example, the subdued palette engages with the story’s tone. I love the shades of blue and green, with the purple representing a moment of hope that the narrator experiences. But the deciding factor for me, was the central square that looks like a framed mirror. I think there’s a mild reflective quality in the pale green. The horizontal bars remind me of imprisonment which is where the narrator finds herself. Thank you, Claudia, for another stunning piece of artwork.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. This image is more somber and done in colors I don’t often venture into, and to me feels very enclosed, with the combination of the colors and the boxed area. Kind of a trapped feeling. When I read the story I could see how well it fit. I think you made a great choice here for a bleak story of constraints and hopes that will get murky.

    2. Claudia McGill Post author

      I also meant to say, this image shows how differently color shows up when it is applied over a dark background rather than a light. For this image I gessoed the paper in black all over and then painted – vs the more usual background of the white of the paper.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      This is a more somber piece. I dont’ remember what I was thinking when I made it, but it does reflect a more dark view than many others. Well, there are those emotions, too, and they swirl and mix and consume each other. I think this artwork shows that, and I like how it fits the story.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      You know, this year, I did all the artwork on spec, and then Laura assigned artworks that matched the story, rather than in the past when I did art specific to each story. I requested this change because the usual way meant a lot of work in one short time period (after all the stories were accepted and the event starts is only one month) and I did not have the mental or physical energy to work at that pace. So I did 102 random artworks, in each case trying to have a thought, theme, or emotion in my mind as I worked. Ther eare many moods I can find within me, I have learned! And the art reflects it. Then Laura sees that emotion or thought, and relates it to a story. It reinforces my idea that for every feeling, there is a method of expression, and that others can respond to it in many contexts. I like that idea, we are all more introspective these days, I think.

  2. memadtwo

    Interesting, I don’t find those colors muddy or somber at all. It looks like a forest portal, a rich dream world. What does that say about me I wonder?
    I liked the way the story both compresses and expands time, and I think the image does that too. (K)

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I see it more as you do – the colors to me are mysterious (painting on the dark gesso, very lightly, does that, I think, and I really like how it works). I think people associate light and bright with my colors. Darker tones don’t seem to register with people as much. I don’t know why. Because it is harder to see into them? I htink the image fits well with the story – on several levels – because of the mystery and inscrutability and the depths there are in the layering here.

      1. memadtwo

        I do associate your work with vibrant colors, but these are vibrant to me. Just a deeper vibrancy. And you do know how to create mystery with the way you use color.

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