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Peyton Farquhar's Wife

Peyton Farquhar's Wife

This image is from a piece of work which I created and developed into a book cover for the short story, 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge' by Ambrose Bierce. This work was created and completed for our Project exploring Aspects of Narrative: Illustration for Publishing. And our brief was to choose one short story from a selection given to us - to design a book cover and four interior illustrations.
My intentions behind this piece was to develope an image that would evoke the mind of the viewer. From reading the brief and choosing the story that I wanted to work with, I decided that I wanted to create a serious of work that would not respond literally to the text. As the text already describes so many vivid and rich scenes. Instead, I felt it would be important for my illustrations to add to the text, to give a sense of depth and awareness of the themes flowing within the story.
I wanted to explore the theme of death which becomes very apparent within the text as the story unfolds. And so I experimented with layers and black and white, letting the image itself emerge through the methods I was using; collage, creating forms from old photocopies of black and white pages, photography and so on. And soon through the process of experimenting, I found that this image of a ghostly woman that I had created - was becoming symbolic. A transition into death. The ghostly figure is the wife of the main character, Peyton Farquhar (whom is about to be hung). She represents his passing into death even though she is not deceased. She is there in his mind, in his final moments of life.
Within the 'Red' illustration I wanted to show a sense of movement within the image, this is the fourth illustration out of the four interior illustrations for the story. The red is very strong, representing the death, passion and danger within the stroy. The image itself is quite abstract, of a strange landscape that cannot quite be placed.