July 9th, 2007


All Underneath the Eildon Tree

I was contacted a sort while ago by Aranea/Drema of If... Journal with the prospect of illustrating the cover image for the July 2007 issue on the potent topic of Spiritual Transformation. She presented me with three visually evocative ideas:
the face of a person, the face appearing worn, slightly off-color or
sickly, peeling away (like an apple peeling, reminiscent of the
Escher sketch?) to reveal the same face beneath, but clean, shining,
healthy and glowing
a face peeling away to reveal the same face beneath, but the face
that is peeling away is all black and white, while the face being
revealed is all full color
a person's face with their hand reaching up to pull away the outer
face as if it were a mask (same with coloration and imagery above,
but pulling away a "mask" instead of peeling it away)."
She also suggested perhaps a background of butterflies. The imagery in all of the options was definitely appealing and I intended to stick to those ideas fairly closely. I was a bit strapped for time, so I had decided to take a straight forward approach and depict exactly what was suggested in my own style. Actually, I chose to accept the commission in the first place due to the tight deadline. It had been too long since I had the luxury to make a piece like this, and I knew the time constraints would prove a great impetus to complete such a work.

Somehow along the way though the image became much more personal. The idea of the removal of a mask or the shedding of a worn skin morphed into the semblance of dry and crackling leaves being torn away by the wind. The leaves necessitated a tree, and that tree became one with thorns (representing the fact that spiritual transformation rarely comes without pain and/or sacrifice). "It should be a hawthorn tree," I thought to myself.

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Media: Prismacolor colored pencils, watercolor, acrylic, sumi-e ink, pen & ink
Size: approximately 8.5" x 11"
copyright Desirée Isphording 2007 - all rights reserved -