Friday, June 22, 2012


Title: "Once, I remember, we came upon a man-of-war anchored off the coast. There wasn't even a shed there, and she was shelling the bush. It appears the French had one of their wars going on thereabouts. Her ensign dropped limp like a rag; the muzzles of the long six-inch guns stuck out all over the low hull; the greasy, slimy swell swung her up lazily and let her down, swaying her thin masts. In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent. Pop, would go one of the six-inch guns; a small flame would dart and vanish, a little white smoke would disappear, a tiny projectile would give a feeble screech -- and nothing happened. Nothing could happen."

10.75 inches by 8.25 inches
acrylic paint and ink on watercolor paper
June 17, 2012


  1. I absolutely love what you've done with this page. All your skill at making an image look kinetic is turned to making this one look stagnant, stuck at the center of too many forces.

  2. boy, the guy can write!
    will enter more thoroughly into your work on this now that i've had a lick of a taste... tbc lizzy

  3. Thank you RF. I was for a time very concerned about this piece. Worried it might be too fantastical, or too like a fairy tale. After I began layering in the color, that slowly changed and now I am quite fond of it.

    I probably sketched this one 10 or 15 times, fairly tightly, before settling on this arrangement. Your description of it as stagnant and stuck at the center of too many forces is exactly what I had hoped for, and what I hope to carry through many of these illustrations. There is such a sense of stagnation, futility, immobility and spent force in Heart of Darkness. A terrible stillness, but not the stillness even of death. The stillness of terrible forces deadlocked with one another.

  4. Lizzy, this is indeed one of my favorite passages from the book, and an almost perfect summation of what is at the heart of it. Such a sensation of pointlessness, futility, idiotic malice and greed that leads to nothing. A terrible and chilling book, but an essential one.


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