Saturday, March 17, 2012
The Jane Eyre Challenge
Welcome to the Jane Eyre Challenge! While reading Jane Eyre I was inspired to offer this as a challenge. Many of you are probably Jane Eyre fans. Some may have seen only the movie versions and others may have read the book. I do love several of the movie versions, but I first met Jane through the book and I continue to prefer it to the movies, though I'll always imagine Mr. Rochester looking like Orson Welles! (I think he fits the book's description to a T!)
Anyway, as I read Chapter 13 I came across the descriptions of three strange pictures which Jane had painted. Mr. Rochester has just met her and he is examining the paintings and trying to learn more about her. I thought it might be quite a challenge for each of us to choose a painting and paint our interpretation of what it might have looked like.
Now, I can't remember if any of the movies showed what they thought these paintings looked like, but if so, I hope we'll try to come up with our own ideas. If a whole painting is too daunting, then it is perfectly okay to paint some aspect of the whole picture.
Below you will find the descriptions Jane gave of her three paintings. When you complete your painting you can come back here and attach a comment to the Jane Eyre Challenge page (the link is in my right hand column) with a link to the blog page where your painting is posted. I would love it if you would put a link to my blog in your blog post. I do not have a commercial blog; no Etsy shop or anything of that sort. I just love to paint and draw and would like a little more traffic on my blog! :D This is an open ended challenge. No time limit. Maybe it will go on FOREVER! Woo-hoo! Sorry, no prizes! Just the fun of creating something with your own two hands. I'm partial to "real" paintings and drawings made with real materials, but if you prefer digital or other media, give it a try. We'd all love to see your results!
I hope you will enjoy trying this! I look forward to seeing some wonderful paintings!
And now, here's the excerpt from Jane Eyre. (I hope you'll read the book if you haven't already!)
He spread the pictures before him, and again surveyed them
While he is so occupied, I will tell you, reader, what they are:
and first, I must premise that they are nothing wonderful. The
subjects had, indeed, risen vividly on my mind. As I saw them with
the spiritual eye, before I attempted to embody them, they were
striking; but my hand would not second my fancy, and in each case it
had wrought out but a pale portrait of the thing I had conceived. [I know exactly how she feels!] Lisa's note!
These pictures were in water-colours. The first represented clouds
low and livid, rolling over a swollen sea: all the distance was in
eclipse; so, too, was the foreground; or rather, the nearest
billows, for there was no land. One gleam of light lifted into
relief a half-submerged mast, on which sat a cormorant, dark and
large, with wings flecked with foam; its beak held a gold bracelet
set with gems, that I had touched with as brilliant tints as my
palette could yield, and as glittering distinctness as my pencil
could impart. Sinking below the bird and mast, a drowned corpse
glanced through the green water; a fair arm was the only limb
clearly visible, whence the bracelet had been washed or torn.
The second picture contained for foreground only the dim peak of a
hill, with grass and some leaves slanting as if by a breeze. Beyond
and above spread an expanse of sky, dark blue as at twilight:
rising into the sky was a woman's shape to the bust, portrayed in
tints as dusk and soft as I could combine. The dim forehead was
crowned with a star; the lineaments below were seen as through the
suffusion of vapour; the eyes shone dark and wild; the hair streamed
shadowy, like a beamless cloud torn by storm or by electric travail.
On the neck lay a pale reflection like moonlight; the same faint
lustre touched the train of thin clouds from which rose and bowed
this vision of the Evening Star.
The third showed the pinnacle of an iceberg piercing a polar winter
sky: a muster of northern lights reared their dim lances, close
serried, along the horizon. Throwing these into distance, rose, in
the foreground, a head,--a colossal head, inclined towards the
iceberg, and resting against it. Two thin hands, joined under the
forehead, and supporting it, drew up before the lower features a
sable veil, a brow quite bloodless, white as bone, and an eye
hollow and fixed, blank of meaning but for the glassiness of
despair, alone were visible. Above the temples, amidst wreathed
turban folds of black drapery, vague in its character and
consistency as cloud, gleamed a ring of white flame, gemmed with
sparkles of a more lurid tinge. This pale crescent was "the
likeness of a kingly crown;" what it diademed was "the shape which
shape had none."
"Were you happy when you painted these pictures?" asked Mr.
"I was absorbed, sir: yes, and I was happy. To paint them, in
short, was to enjoy one of the keenest pleasures I have ever known."
I will look forward to being surprised by some unexpected entries in this challenge, long after I've forgotten I put it on my blog, lol! I'm going to have to look up images for the Eastern Star and cormorants and such. The one with the iceberg, I'm not sure I understand at all. It will make for some interesting research! :)
Go for it!