poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Conrad

heart of darkness

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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

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