The novel begins with a visit. Giordana and her mother and brother, Ben have turned up at their aunt and uncle's house. Giordana's mum is going to divorce her dad and the family is about to change forever. Nothing special about that, you might say, but Alex, Giordana's little cousin in his Superhero suit starts by asking Giordana what she would wish for if she could choose and then things just 'take off'. The novel spans thirty years with each member of the family discovering they can do something extraordinary courtesy of Alex, although they don't know this. We are shown the effect this has on them and surprisingly this provides some quite profound insights into human nature. How it feels to be invisible; to be able to hear other's thoughts or to swim faster and further than you ever dreamed or to make people fall in love are explored with wit and tenderness. Poignantly Alex, who has this amazing gift to grant wishes develops from quirky little boy into troubled teenager then lonely adult and finally returns to the warmth of his family . Ben's discovery that he can fly, taking his baby son on flights, along with Alex's dad who discovers that he can change anything that has happened except the death of his beloved wife are the most memorable and moving moments in this very original and enjoyable novel. I really wanted to find out how each family member used his or her gift. However, the flaw in the novel was that, in the way of fairy tales, no explanation was ever given of how or why Alex had this amazing gift to bestow on his family even though they never truly understood him; or maybe this was the novel's message, that we can easily overlook family members' hidden talents.
I really wanted to illustrate this novel in 3D again. There is a bar in the novel called 'The Lion and the Witch' and customers enter it through a wardrobe. I wanted to create an enchanted wardrobe featuring some of the characters. If you click on the images you can see in a little more detail.
The starting point was just a flat doodle of all the interconnected stories. I then scanned this into my computer and reduced it so that it would fit into one of Retro Cafe Art's box shrines, designed to hold ATCS. I hand-coloured the background using Paper Artsy Fresco paints. Up above the enchanted 'wardrobe' is a tiny mini-shrine from RCA which represents home and family, the heart of the novel.
Here is a closer view of the 'wardrobe'. I tried to make the interior seem like a garden opening into a world of possibilities for the characters. The sun and the moon represent the passing of time as the novel progresses. The house stands on tiny 'ivory' dice legs on a chipboard base painted with Treasure Gold to suggest the playfulness of the novel.
Although Ben doesn't literally have wings, I felt they were needed to show he could fly. I showed him at the point in the novel when he wants to show his incredulous young wife that he does have the power of flight and leaps out of their apartment window; I thought the little figure again from RCA did look like he was poised for flight if you placed him on the edge. The house is on a little chipboard island I made painted with Treasure Gold.
I painted the sides of the house with Treasure Gold, after I had used the marvellous Paper Artsy Grunge Paste through a stencil to give the impression the 'wardrobe' had carved sides. The little figures at the top are swimmers resting after a strenuous few circuits of the lake, as Natalie, an ordinary wife and mother receives the gift of extraordinary swimming ability and the sense of control and freedom this gives her is exhilarating.
Here is a view of the back, Grunge pasted through a 'Crafters' Workshop' stencil with a stamp by Sandra Evertson from her 'Petite Whimsies' collection. He is a little clockman juggling with stars and this reminded me of Alex granting wishes for the family as they lived out their lives.
I just loved exploring the ideas of this novel through art. Thanks Darcy for giving us this opportunity to create and share. Now I'm off to have a peek at what other readers and creative artists have been interpreting.