August 25, 2017

Night and Day

        Here’s a fun surreal scene by Douglas Smith.  It’s scratchboard, which makes it easier to get fine details (and correct mistakes), and still have that wonderful black and white carved look.  The lighting is really great as the girl lifts the veil of night.  I like that she’s holding a stack of books.  I think it’s a nod to the power of books to spread light, reveal new worlds, and open our eyes.
        It’s clearly related to some of René Magritte’s surrealist paintings in which curtains or other surfaces become intertwined with “the real world” such that it becomes impossible to know which is which.  Magritte said, “We are surrounded by curtains.  We only perceive the world behind a curtain of semblance.  At the same time, an object needs to be covered in order to be recognized at all.”  An interesting way to think about art and fiction altogether.
        I can’t help thinking also of a fantasy twist in which we are discovering an entirely new, magical world.  This piece reminds me of some of the descriptions in The King of Elfland’s Daughter, in which Lord Dunsany imagined the border of Fairyland as a sort of invisible curtain across the world we know.

[Picture: Night & Day, scratchboard by Douglas Smith (Image from]

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