Alice

I’ve been looking back at some old work lately and found a development image from my Wonderland project which featured screen-printed roses and a painted Alice. it based on an earlier in drawing I had drawn earlier in the project, and after I found it, I decided to try an finish painting Alice into the image.

I’ve actually struggled adding Alice into the image by painting her, so in the meantime I decided to digitally add the original drawing of her into the screen-printed image, as you can see above. I’m not a digital artist, and anyone can probably see that the digital alterations aren’t great, however I’m still quite happy with the final result.

I’m still working on the painting though, and will upload it when I have completed it.

Scott Keenan

Check out my recent feature on Soapbox Press!

Soapbox Press

The links and a bit about Scott is already in the post itself, so why don’t you have a read through the following and learn about his crazy concepts…

soapbox-press-a-mad-tea-party-scott-keenan-2015 A Mad Tea Party

My name is Scott and I’m a recent graduate from Cardiff School of Art and Design and currently live in a small village in South Wales.

From a small age I have always loved drawing as well as storytelling and picture books, all of which has had a great impact on my work. I’ve also been fascinated with fantasy, folk and fairy tales from a young age and often find myself exploring similar themes within my work. A more recent visual inspiration, which greatly developed during my time at university, is medieval artwork and paintings.  A visual style that is definitely present within a lot of my own paintings, and something which I am constantly developing and exploring as it…

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Wonderland: The End

“Told that they were being moved downstairs
for their safety from unrest and artillery fire in
the city, they complied without question.”

(Rappaport, H. 2009 p. 376)

“there were no tears, no sobs and no questions”

(Radzinsky, E. 1992 p. 336)

The final image for Wonderland is something that I had in mind for a while and the idea was not only to conclude Alice’s story but also the story of the Romanov family as well. I knew a few things I wanted to include such as the opposing sides of the revolution clashing, Alice in the centre of the image to represent the death of the Romanovs as well as their later sainthood, and finally for it to be set in a religious place in order to emphasise the family’s religious nature as well as their sainthood and martyrdom.

Originally I wanted to base the building on the Church of All Saints or Church on the Blood which was built over the area where the Ipatiev House once stood, however this wasn’t working out very well in terms of composition and so I ended up being a more general looking Russian building with onion dome towers. With the composition however I was very inspired by many of the medieval imagery I had been researching throughout the year and I thought that this worked very well for the images. As with many of these images I screen-printed the red before adding detail with ink, watercolour and pencil. In conclusion this image basically sums up the end of the revolution, shown within the terror of the characters and the chaos of the falling building while Alice, a representation of the Romanov family, is at the centre of all of it and is in a position of prayer to illustration the ideas mentioned earlier.

Rappaport, H. (2014). Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses. London, UK: Macmillan

Radzinsky, E. (1992). The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II. Great Britain: BCA

Wonderland: Court of Hearts

“For a nation reading catastrophe into every unfortunate incident in this ill-fated reign it was further proof that the autocracy was doomed”

(Rappaport, H. 2009 p. 92)

As I was working on this project I found it difficult to come up with compositions that were different from the original Alice illustrations by John Tenniel, however as the project progressed I decided that nods to the original illustrations and the iconic images of Alice may work well as it will create a sense of familiarity for audiences. I also became more confident in doing this as I continued my research and realised that it is not only the story of Alice I’m telling but that of the Romanovs as well and so my interpretation of the story will still be fairly original.

This image was created by once again screen-printing all of the red before working back into it with ink, watercolour and pencil. It is a depiction of the trail scene and I decided to include several references to the Russian Revolution such as the opposing sides of the nobility and peasantry, the power of the imperial family and the Romanov double headed eagle which I modified to create a symbol for Wonderland, a double headed flamingo with a heart.

Rappaport, H. (2014). Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses. London, UK: Macmillan

Wonderland: Quadrille

“For their part the crew, who relished the prestige of serving in the Shtandart, loved the four sisters, and found them enchanting.”

(Rappaport, H. 2009 p. 92)

This image is a continuation of the previous scene, this time focusing on the Lobster Quadrille that the Gryphon and Mock Turtle inform Alice of before taking part in it themselves. This scene also continues the previous ideas behind the imagery, the relationships between the Romanov children and their tutors and the sailors aboard the Shtandart.

Rappaport, H. (2014). Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses. London, UK: Macmillan

Wonderland: Mock Turtle’s Story

“The children loved the Shtandart”

(Rappaport, H. 2009 p. 97)

Illustrating the Mock Turtle and Gryphon proved to be very difficult as I really struggled for a way to approach this without simply copying previous interpretations of the scene. As the two characters are the least hostile to Alice in the story and the scene takes place at the sea, I decided to base the Gryphon and Mock Turtle on the sailors and soldiers of the imperial yacht the Shtandart and also one of the Romanov children’s tutors Pierre Gilliard due to the Mock Turtle giving Alice a lesson. I also wanted these images to be more relaxed and open than the previous ones and so focused on the characters and their pose within the composition of the image in order to make the come alive and by contrast kept the backgrounds and surroundings simple.

Rappaport, H. (2014). Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses. London, UK: Macmillan

Wonderland: The Queen and the Duchess

“I dare say you’re wondering why I don’t put my arm round your waist” the Duchess said, after a pause: “the reason is, that I’m doubtful about the temper of your flamingo. Shall I try the experiment?”

(Carroll, L. 2009 p. 79)

“The Duchess of Saxe-Coburg was totally exasperated with Alexandra’s endless retreats and non-appearances that season and her daughters’ total lack of experience.”

(Rappaport, H. 2009 p. 210)

This illustration continues the idea of the Romanov family being estranged from the Russian court, as stated in the second quote and shown in Alice’s discomfort. The Duchess in this scene of Alice has a surprisingly predatory nature towards Alice which I also decided to incorporate into this illustration with her looming over Alice’s shoulder and grasping her arm. As well as this a big inspiration behind this image was my reading on the possible marriage prospects that were surrounding the Romanov daughters and I thought that this image could represent not only the gossip surrounding the family in court and the dislike many had for Alexandra, but also the nobility clawing at marriage prospects in order to elevate their social standing. I created this image but once again screen-printing the red before applying watercolour and ink for further colour and then pencil for the detailing.

Carroll, L. and Haughton, H. (2009) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. London: Penguin Books Ltd

Rappaport, H. (2014). Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses. London, UK: Macmillan

Wonderland: Croquet

“The Russian aristocracy remained stubbornly oblivious to the visible unrest gathering”

(Rappaport, H. 2009 p. 207)

As I began to introduce the Court of the Queen of Hearts into my work I felt that it was important to continue the idea of the nobility of Russia being unaware of the oncoming danger of the revolution, something which I set up in the illustrations of the Duchess’s house. I decided that the oblivious nature of the nobility would fit in perfectly with the scene of the croquet game from Alice as it shows how relaxed and leisurely these people are despite all of the chaos happening around them. As for Alice, in this image she represents the entire Romanov family who actually did not spend that much time at court and were often very out of place when they did, reflected here in Alice’s confusion to playing croquet with flamingos and hedgehogs.

Rappaport, H. (2014). Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses. London, UK: Macmillan

Wonderland: Three Sisters

“and they lived at the bottom of a well—-“

(Carroll, L. 2009 p. 65)

“those pretty girls whom none of the guards had really wanted to have to kill”

(Rappaport, H. 2009 p. 190)

This image illustrates the story the Dormouse tells during the tea party of three sisters who live in a treacle well and it is another scene I immediately began to picture in my head when I read it. It is also one the first of these images which I just drew without applying colour and I used the sepia/brown coloured pencil to hint at the colour of the treacle well. As well as this, the main idea behind this image was representing the mine shaft in which some of the Romanov family were thrown down after their murder. Two of the children’s bodies were buried somewhere else and weren’t recovered for years later leading to continued speculation of survivors.  I used the three elder Romanov sisters Olga, Tatiana and Maria as inspiration for the treacle well sisters and as a representation of their death and the recovery of their bodies. I achieved this by having darker and more expressive mark making at the bottom of the image creating light and a sense of hope above the characters.

Carroll, L. and Haughton, H. (2009) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. London: Penguin Books Ltd

Rappaport, H. (2009). Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs. London, UK: Windmill Books