The Speed of Darkness is a mixed media surrealist painting I created by adding various materials to a monoprint. A monoprint is a one-off print made by putting printing ink on a smooth surface and then transferring it onto heavy-weight 100% cotton printmaking paper, using a hand-turned etching press. I build up many layers of transparent ink to achieve a rich, brilliant image. There is no permanent plate, so the image cannot be repeated. After the ink dried, I drew and painted the figure and other details with acrylic ink and watercolor pencils. Sometimes the print is more planned out than others. I this case I knew what I wanted the landscape to look like, and what I wanted to add to it. Often the process might be a little more intuitive.
Growing up, I loved the work of fairytale and storybook illustrators such as Arthur Rackham and Edmun Dulac. It’s no wonder, then, that my attention was caught by surrealist artists like Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and Leonora Carrington. I was fascinated by the dream-like images and mysterious symbolism or meaning that I sensed in their paintings. This mixed media surrealist painting has a similar dream-like mood and sense of mystery. The composition consists of an imaginary landscape with the figure of a small child in the foreground, close to the edge of what appears to be a cliff. Next to the figure is a magical crow holding a crystal. This could be interpreted in any number of ways. People have asked if the child will fall as darkness approaches. Some suggest that the crow is a guardian or spirit helper for the child, and is bringing aid in the form of a magic crystal. Others wonder if the bird is giving the crystal, or taking it away. I think it’s more fun for viewers to find their own meaning in the painting than to have it dictated by me. The piece may tell different stories to different people.
However you interpret it, I hope you will want to give this piece a place in your home or office, where you can always enjoy its story.