Author Archives: Claudia McGill

About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

Bird Bird Insect

Today’s theme is winged creatures, not using their wings at the moment.

Low fire clay fired at cone 06, colored with Velvet underglazes.

Clay tile @ 7x7 yellow bird and egg 1-192

yellow bird and egg, 7″ x 7″, 1/19

Clay tile @ 4 x 4 two bird creatures arguing 1-20191

two bird creatures arguing, 4″ x 4″, 1/19

Clay tile @ 4 x 4 blue and black insect creature 1-20192

blue and black insect creature, 4″ x 4″, 1/19


Oops, I Fell Down

Well, let’s not stand here, let’s give this poor guy a hand and get him back on his feet.

Low-fire clay, fired at cone 06, @ 7″ x 7″, January, 2019.

Clay tile @ 7x7 black creature falling on a beach 1-193

Revisits: Rivalry

I did some illustrations for an event at Fictive Dream, an online fiction magazine specializing in short stories. It’s called “Revisits”. In it, the magazine revisits “the best of the back catalog”, as editor Laura Black says. Every two weeks through August, a different theme will be explored.

Look here for the first post, Love, which also offers an overview of the parameters of the art aspects of this project.

Today, June 12, the theme is Rivalry. Here’s the image:

Image 11 blog

By now Fictive Dream Editor Laura Black and I had settled into a good process for working through these pieces. One thing that really helped me – she gave me a short paragraph or two about the remaining themes, describing her vision of the trees and the colors she associated with them. I found this immensely helpful. I think in images or impressions and then translate my thoughts into words, especially when I’m dealing with art topics. I’m not that articulate about something I’ve seen or heard until I have a little time to absorb it.

Laura’s notes allowed me to take her words and translate them into images before I started to work. I could compare them to what my own ideas had been. In many  cases we had a similar vision for the piece; other times, not so much, but in those cases I could make choices with informed knowledge. Very helpful to me, those notes, and I appreciated that Laura articulated the intangible to me!

Here’s what she said about Rivalry:

For the colour I’m thinking along the lines of an emerald/deep green. In all three stories the rivalry is reciprocated (two adult sisters, two children, two young women). For the trees maybe two solid trees that do not touch each other?

I had been thinking this intense subject needed an intense color for the ground. If it had been a standalone project, I would have chosen deep red. But, I had that color in mind for another theme and felt it fit better there. As I thought about it, Laura’s suggestion of green was a wonderful choice – I think of jealousy as being green, its traditional color, and I think of rivalry as incorporating a strong dose of jealousy.

As for her description of the trees, I had been thinking along the same lines. Rivalry is usually an ongoing process; it takes place over time. I wanted to include trees that had been at odds for a long time – so the trees would be old and thick in the trunk. I also felt the trees would be a bit battered and misshapen by the long-term conflict of rivalry, but still very alive and anticipating many more years.

As for the sky, I wanted it to feel oppressive, weighty (remembering that it also had to be a light enough color to set off the theme title). A lavender-blue seemed right for the scene.

I was happy with my first try, and I sent it off to Laura – she felt the same way. So, here you see Rivalry.

Image 11 blog


Thanks for reading! And take a look at the stories:  here at Fictive Dream.

Red Person and Fish in the Air

I created this image using the negative space methods you may remember from recent clay tiles and, further back in the past, figure practice in a sketchbook.

All it means is, I paint around the main figure or motif or whatever. It’s a little tricky – you have to pay attention to the interior shapes you are creating as you build up the outside, rather than working on the inside first and filling in around it later.

A somewhat incoherent explanation. It’s easier to do it than to tell it. Anyway, here is this image, painted in acrylics with some India ink details, 24″ x 18″ on masonite, February, 2019.

Red Person and Fish in the Air 24 x 18 2-193

Blur Spring Photos

I made these blur photos at Montgomery County Community College (where I go to work on poetry on Marathon days) back in April, 2019, when the trees were still bare but the lilacs were blooming.

You’ve seen my blur photos before. To make them, I move the camera around as the picture snaps. Best results come when the light is low and the shutter moves more slowly. I use a point and shoot camera – if you have one in which you set the exposure, a slow speed will work great. Try it, it’s fun to see what you get. Many photos will be worthless, but every so often a really nice one reliably comes along. Just keep pressing that button and waving the camera.

Magazine Collage Postcards

These two items started life as one image sized about 12″ x 7.5″ – I made them as a test idea for the Revisits series of images I did for the online fiction magazine Fictive Dream.

We didn’t go in this direction, but I liked the work, and I decided to cut them, trim a bit, and make two postcards about 5″ x 7″.

To create these collages, I used magazine pages, cut the shapes using an Exacto knife on a cutting mat, and glued them (sloppily, I don’t care about wrinkles, I just mash them flat). Then I swished some paint over the collages and then I was done.

I enjoy the abstraction of half-seen images combined in odd ways and the spareness of image that can result from working in this way.

Heads It Is Today

Sometimes the head is all you need to show. Or all there is room for.

Low-fire clay, fired at cone 06, colored with Velvet underglazes, January, 2019.