My theme for the Sketchbook Project 2011 is "Below the Surface".
I originally thought of doing the entire sketchbook of sea creatures but then thought it more fun to come up with different ways of interpreting "Below the Surface". Of course, this makes the project more challenging but it will be a surprise for the viewer, as each page will be something they aren't expecting.
For pages 2 & 3 I decided to do an image of HELL using some imagery from Dante's Inferno from his Divine Comedy. While perusing through the text, I started to get a lot of ideas and inspiration for future digital art pieces. The guy could paint pictures with his prose. And, I'm so glad I don't believe in his vision of Hell because it's a scary place to be.
For my work, I included the dark woods and the gates of hell along with Charon, the Ferryman on the Acheron river. For the Nine Circles of Hell, I placed in each circle from smallest to largest and from least offensive to most grievous , printed text of the crime associated with that circle. I think I may eventually do a mixed media of this on a large canvas so I can include additional imagery such as the wind blowing the lustful souls around inside the second circle. But, for the Sketchbook Project, I included the Thorny Tree found in the 7th circle of violence and the river of boiling blood below(the scan didn't pick up the contrast as much as it is in the actual work, but you get the gist).
The circles are connected by bridges of words relating to the work such as Carnal, Wickedness and Vuolsi così colà ove si puote, which translates to "So it is wanted there where the power lies", referring to the fact that Dante is on his journey on divine grounds.
I added my favorite quote off to the side about Hell, courtesy of Mark Twain:
"Go to heaven for the climate, Hell for the company".
With such a dark piece, I needed to add in a bit of humor! :)