When we decided to run a contest for the cover of Issue 11 we were nervous. What if there were no entries? Or worse, what if the entries we received were not up to the standards of our usual beautiful covers? I have to admit to a little nail biting in the week leading up to our contest closing date.
When they did start to come in I let out a huge sigh of relief, and then I got excited. Not only had artists been reading the chapters of Allaigna’s Song to date, they got it. It was clear from the choices of character and scene that these artists understood and cared for Allaigna, her family, and her world almost as much as I do. For a writer there is no bigger compliment, and I am truly grateful to all the entrants.
As always, it is hard to choose a winner, but choose we must. The winner of the Songbird Cover Painting Contest is Kris Sayer, for her untitled piece depicting Allaigna’s epiphanic moment as she unlocks the magic of turning sound into light. The painting is beautifully composed and skillfully drawn in dark tones and eery lighting. In addition to the technical qualities of the work, Kris has also come closest to reading my mind and capturing Allaigna’s appearance. Brava!
We’re not going to show you the whole painting here — that reveal will have to wait until it shows up on the back cover of Issue 10. But in the meantime here’s a close-up detail to tease you.
Elizabeth Stricker‘s painting ‘Angeley’s Secret’ was chosen as the runner-up. Though the composition technical execution is not as expert as that of winning painting, there is a beautiful tenderness in this quiet but key scene from Issue 4 that won my heart. The Madonna-blue of Angeley’s dress and the pink glow emanating from her hands are simply lovely. Here is the artist’s statement. (Caution: spoilers!)
‘Angeley’s Secret’ … depicts the scene in the story which I felt most poignantly shows the overall theme. Allaigna’s Song follows three generations of the women of a family, their loves, lives, and magic. In this scene, Allaigna is singing to her wounded grandfather. Her nurse Angeley joins her and begins singing also. A pink glow shines from her hands and she moves them up and down his body, healing him. What the reader doesn’t know at the time, is that Angeley is really Allaigna’s grandmother, Irdaign. Chanist, her grandfather, is Irdaign’s great love. In his delirium, it is her, and not his new wife that he calls for.
Circumstances robbed her of the life she could have had with him, raising their daughter — Allaigna’s mother Lauresa — together. Irdaign never got the chance to teach her daughter magic, and had to disguise herself as a nursemaid to find a place back in her life. Now, she has the opportunity to pass her knowledge of magic on to her granddaughter. The love of this family crosses the barriers of circumstances. Missing from this tableaux is Lauresa. Her absence is also significant, as she has missed the opportunity to share in the magical lineage that is being passed (unknown to her) from her mother to her daughter. Angeley (Irdaign) is the only one who knows all of this. In her face, I meant to capture the secret pain that she carries with this knowledge, along with her joy in her granddaughter.
Congratulations to both Kris and Elizabeth, and a huge thank you to all the entrants!