Some people wrote this challenge off as being “commercial” and not really fine art, but I genuinely tried hard and wanted to do a good job. My idea was to make a silhouette of an image of a woman holding a hat and facing a tree; I was depicting the main protagonist, Elizabeth, holding her lost lover’s hat. There was a tree in the background that symbolizes family lineage, a central theme in the book.
My critique with Simon was actually rather positive; he even remarked in front of the others that he thought I could win. He thought the imagery and choice of symbols was striking and he joked that he would absolutely pick it up in a bookstore. Of course I knew it was written by Jane Austen, and actually was really sad I hadn’t read the book. Simon said he hadn’t either and that it didn’t matter, that the piece still worked.
Regarding Jeannie’s comments, artists use references all the time… we had no access to internet, books, periodicals or our own imagery, so we would have to pose in front of a mirror or take a photo — many of us photographed ourselves. I did not intend to do a tightly rendered academic drawing; I made more of a loose vignette. It was an image of a woman holding a hat and facing a tree.