I live near Richmond, where Poe spent some time - and I think the ravens around here are HUMONGOUS - now I know why one plays a very spooky role in a major work of his. They make their presence KNOWN. We have a couple that sit on the peak of our roof and caw loudly when you go outside. Geeez. Creepy. Birds. Whaddya gonna do?
Last October, I visited the Poe Museum and the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond as part of my birthday celebration (my birthday is October 6 and I love all things Halloween!). I was inspired by the various items from Poe's life, as well as the photos of him from various resources, to create several journal pages - this one was started and finished today.
I used a popular photo image of Poe (the 1848 William S. Hartshorn daguerrotype of Poe) to get the basic likeness, and then started coloring the background with water soluble crayon and pencil. On top of that, I wrote excerpts from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," in pen-and-ink for the darker background and hair, and white pen for the lighter background. After I had put in the high contrast areas with the water soluble crayons and pencils, I scribbled in the background areas and then smeared water all over with a brush to slightly distress the look and to soften the graphic quality of the image.
I wanted this piece to feel a little bit "haunted," by Lenore and The Raven, so I used the nib form of pen-and-ink for more character in the linework, and then the white pen on the grey background for a wispy ghosty feel. I love the irregularity a pen-and-ink lettering style gives . . . I love the blotches and the spots and personal feel it gives a piece of artwork.
I'm planning to start another Poe piece tomorrow!
I'm including some photos of the phases of this piece.
BTW, are you looking forward to seeing the movie The Raven? John Cusack as a badass Poe? I am.