I was asked to illustrate the scene from Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre where Helen has just been flogged on the neck, yet she can still teach Jane about the power of forgiveness. I had never read Jane Eyre, so this was another learning opportunity for me.
I wanted this to be an impressive and moving piece, especially since it would have many more viewers than usual--it was shown before the October LDS General Conference. But the scene was a very undramatic one by nature. The girls lived in a boarding school, and everything there was very plain by design--the walls, their clothes, even their hair. I decided the only thing I truly had to work with was the lighting. So I chose to pose Helen in front of the fireplace so she and Jane would be backlit, and play with a bit of chiaroscuro. Unfortunately, watercolor is very hard to darken, so once I did my best with the paint on paper, I had to employ a digital darkening and contrast as well. Therefore, the original painting is not as impressive as this version.
Thank you to sisters Katrina and Rachel for modeling. You've become some of my good friends since you moved in, and I've been hoping for a painting in which I could use both of you, so here it is! Hope you like it!