Posts Tagged ‘The Girl with Silver Hands’

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“The Girl with Silver Hands” in its latest incarnation.

“The Girl with Silver Hands” (a painting inspired by the “Handless Maiden” tale from the Brothers Grimm) is now appearing in its latest incarnation: gracing the cover of the soon-to-be-released scholarly study, Disability, Deformity, and Disease in the Grimms’ Fairy Tales by Ann Schmiesing. The book is published by Wayne State University Press and will be (more…)

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Uncovered Cover Art‘s Blog Launch Contest has closed, and the votes have been tallied…read the announcement post here http://uncoveredcoverart.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/all-hail-the-artists-2/

Congratulations! to all of the many talented artists who’ve shown their re-imagined book covers…and a huge *Thank You* to all of my fans who made “The Girl With Silver Hands” the first place winner! There will be more happenings at the Uncovered Cover Art blog, so stay tuned here or join Heidi’s followers here.

“The Girl With Silver Hands”   (watercolor, pen & ink, digital type)    Inspired by “The Handless Maiden” tales, found all over the world.

c. Susan Sorrell Hill

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is disguise.

Consciousness is what we are, behind and above all else. But what disguise will I wear today? Will it be the artist, the lover or the friend? Will it be the neighbor, the daughter or the sister…or the writer, the gardener or the dreamer? What role will I play…what face will I wear today?

And will I be able to remember who I really am, all the while…?


“Untitled” (What face will I wear today?)    (pencil, oil paint on gessoed paper)


Only a few more days to enter and/or vote for your favorite(s) at the Uncovered Cover Art‘s new Blog Launch Contest!

Voting and entry closes August 30th!

(stars will look like this)

If you’re in the voting mood, my own entry, “The Girl With Silver Hands,” would really appreciate your vote, as it’s a very close race! Go to Uncovered Cover Art…type in “girl with silver hands” in the Search by Title box….follow the link…vote by clicking a Yellow Star. If you’ve voted successfully, a “Thank You” will appear just to the right of the stars. (Comments are *always* appreciated, but do not count as a vote.)


And my personal big “Thank You!” to all of you who have already voted!

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is influence.

I have a special relationship with a copy machine at my local Staples store. Well, several copy machines, if you must know. Sometimes my attentions go to the black and white machine, and other times I turn my affections toward the full color machine. Full color copies cost about five times more, but they are so worth the pain: to see a smaller version of my newest watercolor painting, or a larger version of a favorite Klee painting from a library book (which I can then, guilt free, cut out and paste into my scrapbook), is a feeling beyond price.

But last week I went in search of copying pleasure on, alas, the first day of High School. The parking lot was packed, and a crazed SUV driver pulled a definitely-illegal full-reverse down the lane I was slowly–lucky for me–moving into. Instead of an almost-empty store with the typical few and elusive employees, I found check-out lines twenty people deep, clerks madly rushing about, loud sales announcements, and aisles crowded with harried mothers and their oh-so-cool, socially correct teenagers. Most striking of all, I found a considerable amount of female teenage flesh on display.

Now…I am not a male of the species and admittedly I’ve been living rather a closeted life lately. I’d forgotten that Life–and Fashion–goes on, as does the News, Government, and Television. I had no idea that the ‘Britney Spears‘ attire was still in strong evidence, and indeed, had accelerated. Perhaps there are even newer, younger Pop Stars out there who’ve taken her approach to further extremes? Whatever the reason, that day at Staples, there were a lot of under-sixteen girls under the influence of this trend, and wearing (as my Grandmother would have put it) “Hardly more than a handkerchief.” And they weren’t looking at all embarrassed…quite the opposite, in fact.

The last time I was wearing scarcely any clothing as a teenager, was the Graduation Pool Party in 1971. It was the first time most of us (of opposite sex) had seen each other with less than shorts and t-shirts, and I can still remember feeling acutely uncomfortable. My beach towel was my closest friend that day, and my hard-earned tan was not nearly enough to hide behind. I was shy by nature, but even so, very few of us back then were strutting in the Britney way.

Don’t get me wrong…I am all in favor of the beauty of the female body. (Although, all things being equal, I would choose Eileen Fisher over shredded jeans, push-up tops and studded belts any day…) But this trend seems to be something else entirely. What is the point, I ask myself? After all, without all of the Display and Parade, I (and my mother, grandmother and her grandmothers before her) managed to attract loving relationships and reasonably fulfilled lives. Most of us females even produced children. All based on having qualities and attributes that were apparently attractive to the opposite sex, and deeper–and more long lasting I might add–than youthful flesh and the mandate to Go Forth And Multiply. It is quite a mystery to me: why has the mating ritual been reduced to such a bare minimum? Perhaps this is the reason that the divorce rate is so high?

Don’t get me started on teenagers with big bellies wearing the Britney Spears look with insouciance. Or middle-aged mothers who dress like their daughters. I’m feeling my age, and better go lie down now…

“Walk This Way”  (detail)     (watercolor, pen & ink)

It’s the last week to enter artwork or vote for your favorite re-imagined book covers at Undercover Cover Art‘s new Blog Launch Contest. If you are in the voting mood, my own entry, “The Girl With Silver Hands,” would really appreciate your vote! Type “Susan Sorrell Hill” in the Search By Artist box, and follow the link to the Yellow Stars. When you’ve clicked on your preferred Star, the words “Thank You” should appear just to the right if you’ve voted successfully. Voting ends August 30th. A heartfelt “Thank You!” to all who’ve voted for my entry already.

This is what the stars will look like!

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is perennial.

What’s this disappearing blogger been up to? Well, lots of art and story-related things: sending out query letters and competition entries, finishing the new manuscript for my second author and illustrator storybook, boning up on the illustration world’s rules and rituals, browsing fairy tales and children’s books, not-nearly-enough painting and… stacking firewood. Stacking firewood? Yes…time away from the studio can be as important as time in the studio, especially when it will keep me warm in my studio this Winter. Gives the eye and the imagination a bit of a rest too.

But I digress…

Ever wonder why fairy tales are such a perennial favorite? Perhaps it’s because, in their essence, fairy tales are talking about the Journey of Life. They are telling stories using ‘archetypes’ (i.e. The Lover, the Hero, the Wise Man) that everyone can relate to, deep down. Some fairy tales are silly, some magical, and some can be a little dark. (But isn’t life that way too sometimes?)

I am a big fan of fairytales and archetypal stories in general. Could it be the amateur psychologist side of my personality? Fairy tales are a satisfying, thought-provoking read, and I suspect that they plant tiny seeds in the psyche about Life on Planet Earth far more frequently than the latest run-of-the-mill story about teeth brushing or new puppies. Fairy tales are much more than entertainment…and they can be read on more than one level. That is precisely why they have endured and are found in every culture. Fairy tales are a slice of life, all dressed up and ready for magic.

Take the fairy tale, “The Handless Maiden,” for example.

I read my first version of “The Handless Maiden” tale in Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ popular book, Women Who Run with the Wolves.  With a story that resonates deeply, it is not surprising that similar tales are found worldwide. “The Girl with Silver Hands,” collected by the Brothers Grimm, “The Armless Maiden” and “The Girl Without Hands” are just a few examples.

With a woman atypically cast in the leading role, all versions of the tale are every bit the archetypal journey of a woman growing into her own strength and autonomy. There are difficult obstacles, a King and his castle, helping fairies/angels vs the Devil/Mystery Stranger (depending upon who’s telling it), several forests, a garden, and eventually, the traditional happy ending.

However, there is, as Midori Snyder writes, “a strange hiccup in the middle.” Rather than going from a bad beginning to happily-ever-after, our heroine is cast out once again and forced to fend for herself for a very long time. We thought that marriage to the King and his magnanimous gift of custom-made silver hands for his handless wife would be enough to make everyone content! But no, the Handless Maiden (now a Handless Queen with a baby) must re-enter the forest and find her own way, patiently and faithfully, to that happy ending. (The King is elsewhere on his own seven-year archetypal healing journey, thank goodness.) Of course, it all works out beautifully in the long run…it is a fairy tale, after all.

This tale is a favorite in Jungian and Women’s Studies circles, and there is a lot to read between the lines and ponder. Besides Women Who Run with the Wolves, Gertrud Mueller Nelson’s Here All Dwell Free: Stories to Heal the Wounded Feminine and Endicott Studio’s own Midori Snyder offer deeper looks (here) at “The Handless Maiden” tale.

“The Girl with Silver Hands”  (watercolor, pen & ink, digital type)     I’ve shown this image before (here), but now it’s been designed into a book cover. Read the News section below and you’ll understand why…


Another enterprising lover of illustrated books has just announced the debut of her new blog project, Uncovered Cover Art: A Sketchbook of Reimagined Children’s BooksIntended to be “…a celebration of creativity, children’s literature, and art,” the site is already a visual feast!

Heidi Kellenberger, the originator, writes that the blog is designed for…

  • Artists who want to show off their passion for illustrating children’s books.
  • Art directors looking for artists, wondering if the work in Hot New Thing’s portfolio will transfer to children’s book illustration.
  • Agents on the lookout for new talent.
  • The children’s book lovers who stay up late, imagining the faces of Harry Potter,  Katniss Everdeen, and Little Red Riding Hood.

To celebrate the site’s launch, Heidi will award the three most voted-for artists with a copy of the book,  Show and Tell: Exploring the Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustration by Dilys Evans.

If you know someone who really should submit to Uncovered Cover Art (You, maybe?), please pass the news! If you’d like to enter the contest…or cast a vote for my own entry, posted July 28th (shown above, and thank you so much!!)…or vote for one of the other book covers, visit http://uncoveredcoverart.wordpress.com/

To vote, click the ‘Leave a Comment’ link below your favorite book cover on the Uncovered Cover Art site, then click one of the stars (from excellent to very poor) above the Comment form.

This is what the voting stars will look like!

Hurry…voting ends August 30th, 2011!

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