poetry and prose about place

heart of darkness

with 8 comments

I love to read.  Certain scenes in the books I read stick in my head.  Sometimes they inspire me to try to capture the author’s words on canvas.


I thought I would share a few of my paintings over my next few posts.  If you have read these books, perhaps my paintings will remind you of the words and scenes they try to portray.  If you have not read them, perhaps the paintings will inspire you to add them to your reading list.



Jane Tims 2002 ‘Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness’ acrylic on canvas, 20 X 16



‘ … Only the barbarous and superb woman did not so much as flinch, and stretched tragically her bare arms after us over the somber and glittering river …’   – Joseph Conrad, 1902, Heart of Darkness


I first read Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ in school.  First published in 1902, the book is set against a background of British colonialism and the ivory trade.  The novella takes us on a dark journey along the Congo River as the narrator travels to meet Kurtz, the chief of the Inner Station of a Belgian Trade Company.  The book is a study of what happens to humans when corruption and greed become the drivers for life, and when they are left to operate outside the norms of society.


The painting tries to capture the moment in the story when the steamboat is about to leave the Inner Station with the gravely ill Kurtz.  The natives he has been living with come to the shore.   Kurtz’ ‘mistress’, a ‘superb woman’, reaches her arms towards the leaving steamer.  A moment later the men on the boat use the people on the shore for target practice.



My battered and dog-eared copy of Heart of Darkness. Leonard F. Dead (ed.) (1960) ‘Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness – Backgrounds and Criticisms’, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc.


Copyright  2015  Jane Tims


Written by jane tims

March 6, 2015 at 8:53 am

8 Responses

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  1. I read ‘Heart of Darkness’ many years ago. In college, I think. I barely remember the story. I remember packing my copy when we moved. If I ever locate it, I will read it again. The superb woman is really superb in your painting. I like the perspective, too.

    Liked by 1 person


    March 26, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    • Hi Robin. I have never been to Africa but love the descriptions in Heart of Darkness. Thanks for commenting on the painting! Jane


      jane tims

      March 27, 2015 at 9:01 am

  2. I haven’t read any of Joseph Conrad’s books – found Heart of Darkness on Kindle for 99 cents. Thanks for suggesting it. So many books to read – how could anyone ever be bored?

    Liked by 1 person

    Barbara Rodgers

    March 9, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    • Hi Barbara. I seem to have renewed energy for reading. I use both Kobo and Kindle, one upstairs and one down! Jane


      jane tims

      March 10, 2015 at 7:14 am

  3. I just added Heart of Darkness to my “to-read” list. I’ve never read it, but this post and your wonderful picture make me feel like this is something I really need to read.

    Liked by 1 person


    March 7, 2015 at 1:52 pm

  4. Thank you, Sigrun. Fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

    KM Huber

    March 6, 2015 at 3:56 pm

  5. Reblogged this on sub rosa and commented:
    Heart of Darkness – as Jane Tims see it

    Liked by 1 person


    March 6, 2015 at 2:35 pm

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