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Art Show: Bodice Ripper

the Jack of Hearts

by john christopher borrero

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BACK COVER:

When Jacqueline Miller arrived on the rugged coast of northern California carrying nothing but her paint box and supplies, the only thing on her mind was capturing the raw beauty of the terrain. She was fully prepared to face alone the risks of dealing with wild, hungry animals, but this wild man posed dangers she could never have anticipated.

EXCERPT:

He appeared on the bluff from nowhere, as if he'd climbed straight up the sheer cliff from the sea. His rough clothes clung to his long and muscular body, and his long dark hair whipped in the cold coastal winds. He moved toward her with a silent catlike grace, until his face was only a foot from hers. His head tilted sideways as his eyes burned into hers. Was this man mute? Why did he not speak?

With a devilish glint in his eye, he leaned forward until she could feel his hot breath on her neck, and felt the tickle of his windblown hair on her breast. She was sure she was going to die right here on this spot, that he would bite her, then devour her like a lion devours a lamb. Yet like a lamb, she was frozen in fear, helpless and unable to move. She became his willing prey as he leaned ever closer. Then, to her utter astonishment, he stuck out his tongue and lightly flicked her skin above her breasts.

She watched in fascination as the mist from the sea gathered into a single droplet on her skin, merging with his serpent-like tongue. Other droplets followed like pearls, then flowed into a rivulet that disappeared under her bodice. She shivered as the cold hit her, sliding between her breasts and down her belly, awakening her fully.

He straightened, grinned, and whispered one word: "Spraydrift." Then, in one quick move, he disappeared back over the edge of the cliff from which he came.

HOW THIS PAINTING WAS MADE:

My main reference source was a photo I took of my handsome husband a few years ago lounging on a rock somewhere in New Mexico. My background scene came from further west, a place called Duncan's Cove on the California coast. It's a special place to my husband and I, and I just completed a couple of paintings of it. It was so fresh in my mind that I could paint it blindfolded, so it was the logical choice. I arranged the foreground and background elements in Photoshop first, so I could get a good idea in advance where the type would go. Then I roughed in my composition with waterproof ink, and started to paint in acrylics.

I kept my color palette simple, using warm, pleasing colors in an almost monochromatic way. I didn't want too much detail, especially in the areas where the text would be. I kept all my detail on the figure. The costume was pure ad-lib - my husband was wearing a white T-shirt and cutoffs in my reference, so I had to imagine him in more historical dress. After the painting was complete, I scanned it and added the text in Photoshop.

ABOUT DUNCAN'S COVE:

Few places in California are as rich in history as Duncan's Cove, also called Duncan's Landing. Once a haven for the coastal Pomo indians, in 1860 it became a landing site for lumber ships transporting lumber up and down the coast from Samuel and Alexander Duncan's Sonoma country sawmill. Ships moored in the cove recieved lumber via steel cables bolted to the steep cliffs. I once read that products and people were offloaded at that site as well, and even "fine ladies" would ride the cable to shore. That little tidbit of information was the inspiration for this cover.

"Spraydrift" is the name of the cottage on the cliff overlooking the Cove where we spent our honeymoon and several romantic vacations.


Detail Image


Detail Image for art Duncan's Cove - A Romance Novel

Work In Progress

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