In early 2014, I was asked to provide an audition painting to The Folio Society for an illustrated edition of Toni Morrison's Beloved.
I had previously executed a book review piece for Ms. Morrison's book Paradise, for the Washington Post. It remains one of my favourite pieces of art and the opportunity to work with her words and translate them into images again was incredibly exciting. But this is ---Beloved---a true masterwork and a novel that twists a real story, history, poetry, horror, love and ghosts into a narrative thread that spools, winds and ultimately creates the fabric of a book that will never leave you. I read the book 3 times and knew that the image I wanted to first paint was the moment when we see the 'tree' of whip marks and scars that Sethe carries on her back everyday.
Ms. Morrison accepted my work and thus began a full year of work on the cover, binding, frontispiece and 8 interior illustrations.
More on the process later...