“Then a strange thing happened.
The house whirled around two or three times and rose slowly through the air. Dorothy felt as if she were going up in a balloon.
The north and south wind met where the house stood, and made it the exact center of the cyclone. In the middle of a cyclone the air is generally still, but the great pressure of the wind on every side of the house raised it up higher and higher, until it was at the very top of the cyclone; and there it remained and was carried miles and miles away as easily as you could carry a feather.
It was very dark and the wind howled horribly around her, but Dorothy fond she was riding quite easily. After the first few whirls around, and one other time when the house tipped badly, she felt as if she were being rocked gently, like a baby in a cradle.
Toto did not like it. He ran about the room, now here, now there barking loudly, but Dorothy sat quite still on the floor and waited to see what would happen.
Once Toto got too near the open trap door, and fell in; and at first the little girl thought she had lost him. But soon she saw one of his ears sticking up through the hole, for the strong pressure of the air was keeping him up so that he could not fall. She crept to the hole, caught Toto by the ear, and dragged him into the room again, afterward closing the trap door so that no more accidents could happen.”
It was from this text in the Wizard of Oz, that the initial spark of inspiration flew for this piece. I was particularly struck by a few things here. One, that there is so much emphasis placed on the ‘centered-ness’ of not only the cyclone but Dorothy as well. Here her reaction is quite relaxed, what a Taoist might call the Wu Wei, or going with the flow. Secondly, there’s the strangeness of the floating dog in the center of the room, that just sounded fun.
I owe a great big Thanks to everyone who helped me through out the completion of this piece; Zelda Devon, Rebecca Guay,Randy Chavez, Paris Raupach, and to my friends and family who helped keep my spirits up, thank you. The amount of learning that happened during the course of this illustration would be hard to quantify, certainly at each turn there was someone there to lend a helping hand.
Process wise, this piece was done in an effort to create a well composed, dramatic image, with a strong underling value structure. Consequently, it has seen numerous revisions along the way. This idea was germinated from the assignment options for the Illustration Master Class held earlier this year, due to personal reasons I was unable to attend and from there I realized that there was no need to hurry this piece along. In hindsight, that certainly allowed time and space for many small details to mature.
There will be another post later on reviewing some of the process tips I picked up and the journey from blank page to painting, but for now I hope you enjoy the image.
PS: to see the previous post about this image go to Post #3: Dorothy, as she is
to see the original post about this image go to Post #1: Steampunk Wizard of Oz