Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Cask of Amontillado

For the Traveler's Hart Autumn/Halloween deck this year, the assignment was to make something having to do with Edgar Allan Poe, and the size was new for these decks, 4x4". I hemmed and hawed and read a lot of Poe short stories and poems, but came back around to my first thought, one of my faves, The Cask of Amontillado. A delightfully creepy tale of revenge down in the family catacombs and wine cellar. I won't summarize the story because I don't want to spoil the ending for you in case you've never read it.
First step was painting the background, I started with some lightweight cardboard, almost a cardstock weight. For collage I like to use something more substantial than just copy paper, especially if I'm going to be painting. Here I used black and a couple yellows, one mustardy and one more golden. I knew that the combo would be fall/autumny enough looking because of the black+yellow=weird greens effect. I was going for an unsettled look, almost stormy. After it dried I went back over with some metallic copper to warm it up a bit more and give it some shine.

I had found in my stash a playing card with Poe's image on it (recognize this Dara? Thank!), so I fooled around with copying it at different sizes, it is really handy to have a copier at home that reduces and enlarges. I didn't want to have his image dominating the collage, because this is supposed to be about the story not necessarily focusing on him as a personality/author. I definitely wanted him to be more subtle and in the background, see if you can find him in the final image.

For some reason I've been using my stamp collection a lot lately for collage. I remembered there was a Poe commemorative stamp, but it turned out that I didn't have one. Found one for Sleepy Hollow, but that didn't really apply here, no matter how spooky the story. So no stamps used this time, but they make for a colorful heaped up picture.

Starting to arrange some of the major elements. Really glad I found the article about mummified Sicilians in Natty Geo with those great mummy hands and mummy in crypt.

Then after a trip to the copy store I used my Fiskars paper trimmer to trim up all 36 copies of the text and image cards to the right size 3x5". Every time I participate in these decks I am always amazed at people who fail to understand the size requirements 3.5"x5.25" "eh, whatever!" For a deck collection like this that I'm probably going to put into a book to look at, size issues don't matter so much. But when you try to make an actual deck to hold in your hands this variation in the sizes is more than just an annoyance.
The text card said this in an old curly looking font (Blackadder ITC) which Blogger of course does not support:

Inspired by The Cask of Amontillado
By: Edgar Allan Poe
“Fortunato!” No answer. I called again--“Fortunato!”
No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick; it was the dampness of the catacombs that made it so. I hastened to make an end of my labour. I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!
Here's the final image, click for much larger.
Can't wait to see all the other fun and spooky Poe inspired pieces in this collaborative deck.
Guess I'd better work on my Poe Tarot cards too...


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Oh, this is so incredibly COOL! Love that Poe story, and the final image is PERFECT.
Selling prints???? :)


Deirdre said...

Great piece - I really love the way it came out!

:-D eirdre