Monday, 16 July 2012

Lizzie's Dother

   In early May, when I arrived at my mother's house for a long-awaited visit, the first thing I had to do was to awkwardly excuse myself from visiting so I could work on a commission I had accepted before leaving Scotland.  I spent a little over a week holed up in the sun porch drawing and painting with all the windows opened wide.  The commission was for an illustration to accompany the story that won a literary competition that runs annually here, the Toulmin Prize.
   I think that my Doric-reading skills have possibly improved a bit since I illustrated last year's story, but the story was a challenging piece to illustrate nonetheless.  The plot centres on a woman who lives in rural Scotland in a time when women had far fewer options available to them, and one of the main issues raised in this complex story is female infanticide.  So, I did have to think quite a lot about how to present my illustration.  I tried to make an image that was appealing enough for the magazine audience, but which would take on a new meaning for those who looked at it again after having read the story.  The caption at the bottom is a line from the story.  Though it's written in Doric, it's probably not too difficult to figure out.  It means something like: She remembered all the other little girls that she'd held the same way.

   For all the worry this project gave me, I did very much enjoy reading the story and had a great time working on the painting.  I wish I could always paint in a sun porch... it feels just like being outside, but no mosquitoes, black flies, or rain falling on your painting.  But sun porch or no, it will be lovely to get back to work now that we have no more plans for travelling about.  It has been months now since I've even held a pencil or a paint brush!  Oh, and I'll write very soon about our visit back to France.  This trip I made sure to take photos! 



  1. Beautiful - haunting illustration!

  2. Oh, that is just so beautiful, Jodi. A sun porch sounds perfect. <3

  3. Wow, your work always delights me so, Jodi. This is beautiful!
    I hope we get to meet soon, since we're heading north next week!
    xx R

  4. oh! it's so lovely! wonderful illustration, and congratulations!

  5. Very beautiful, very loving image for such a sore theme. She is as big as her grieve, still there are flowers embracing her and the child with love. I'm so happy to read you had a commission :-) And ... can I read this story somewhere online (not reading Doric)?

  6. Heisann!

    This illustration give me warm feelings for the story, you have caught the essence of the mother's care in a beautiful way. So stylish and strong...
    Congratulation, I am happy on your behalf ;:OD)
    Have a nice week!

  7. What an amazing picture. I am so glad I came upon your weblog, it's lovely here.

  8. Barbara,
    Unfortunately the story isn't online at all. Sorry!

    And thank you everyone for the very kind comments!

  9. Wow, that is difficult. A wonderful touching visual solution to a commission I do not know if I could handle. I initially imagined you were depicting a Theotokis with Child; and you are, but one with a very different storyline. Or is it? Kudos to you, it is really lovely, the inscription as you translated it sends one to tears. Poignant, thank you,

  10. Leonard,
    I love that you thought "or is it?" about this! I hoped that comparisons could be drawn, I put the lilies in the background for all their associations too.
    Thank *you* for engaging with this.