I had the opportunity to create some illustrations for a short story written by Ellen Jewett entitled “Eight Hours in Late December”. The story will be published in an upcoming issue of Loyola University Chicago’s Nexus Journal. The story takes place on a rainy night in San Francisco on Christmas eve… it was so fun to play with themes of light and dark that came up in the illustrations. In the beginning of the story, Ellen writes of her protagonist, Adeline: “Across the street, a neighbor’s tree mirrored the lights of her own, creating a private galaxy of stars and constellations known only to her small segment of the neighborhood.” I love this line, and immediately thought of winter nights living in the city, where I admired the same thing out my own windows.
Softly-lit nighttime scenes like these are called “nocturnes” in art, and I’ve painted a few other nocturnes lately, before illustrating this story. They can be really cozy, even on a train!
In the story, Adeline spends part of Christmas Eve at the historic Most Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco. I was lucky to have some photos taken by the author to use as reference, but I’m not sure how they decorate for Christmas– I had to use my imagination for that one! This was such a fun project that just happened to incorporate all my favorite things to draw– trains, lights and darks, historic churches… Can’t wait to see the journal when it comes out!