Thank you Christelle Raczak for the cover image for Honor’s Shadow
The perfect image for the cover of Honor’s Shadow: two women, face to face, identical in many ways, similar in other aspects, yet fundamentally different to each other. Similar enough to want the same man, Thomas; and for that man to be in love with both of them, and unable to choose.
We began looking for the right cover image for Honor’s Shadow at the beginning of the year, a process that was started by Constance Govindin of Karnac books; in her search she came across a website in France, publicising the work of Christelle Raczak, an artist who had recently dedicated herself to the life of an artist full time. We found a picture “Femmes Rivales” which showed a striking image, but not in the ideal colours for our use. Constance and Christelle worked closely together to produce the image we wanted: based on Femmes Rivales, but simplified and in new colours.
Christelle was brilliant, all helpfulness, no artistic preciousness. She not only responded to our requests, but made suggestions of her own. It was her idea to paint the contrasting bands of colour on the hats: what did I think she asked? It was a master stroke: these two images, of Honor and Madalena, rival women, locked in a fierce emotional battle: each other’s opposites. Christelle’s subtle touch with the hat ribbons captured their shadow wrestling perfectly: “theres a little bit of me in you, and a little bit of you in me, and I hate you for that…..” By what strange magic could Christelle have happened upon a new twist on the picture that so perfectly captured one of the themes of Honor’s Shadow?
The overlapping of their hats is also symbolic: looking up hats in Tom Chetwynd’s Dictionary for Dreamers (my favourite book on dream imagery) I found that the hat is the symbol of the vagina or the penis, depending upon whether the inside or the brim of the hat is emphasised. So here they are, their hats overlapping, locked in a power struggle for sexual supremacy over Thomas.
Last week, Christelle sent me as a gift, the canvas of the book cover painting, so I dedicate this post to her, with heartfelt thanks.