sleepy hollow: the after party.

so in my eagerness to share the original painting with its proud new owner, i also immediately mailed off the book i used to take my story research reference notes in.

so hopefully i compiled enough in my sketchbook and mini*moleskin to remember what all the story icons i included from the original tale are here in this brand-new faerie tale feet mini luxe print!

it’s two-sided, inspired of course by washington irving’s classic american halloween tale “the legend of sleepy hollow.”

as i kid, i was most familiar with the eerie disney classic animation short (included in the double feature “the adventures of ichabod and mr. toad,” circa 1950.) i always thought katrina van tassel was more beautiful than cinderella (girl’s got curves!) and loved the awkward goofy-likeness of our underdog ichabod crane, who is haunted most of all by his own belief in the superstitions of the region where bookworm, singing, hungry for all the ladies’ cooking for skinny him has been brought to teach in the country schoolhouse.

there’s the bully (brom bones and his dreadful steed, daredevil), there’s misbehaving youth, and there’s a very powerful ghost story haunting the woods.

while early american literature isn’t my favourite genre of writing, i am intrigued by the young country finding its own myths and legends and learning how to deal with the supernatural which i’m sure some had hoped they were leaving behind in gothic and ancient europe.

alas, here are my two paintings of the classic tale:

one side featuring a reluctant party-goer dancing with his crush, the other side, “the after-party,” as ichabod flees the headless horseman.

on the happier, dancing side, ichabod and katrina celebrate an innocent evening; i collaged on some coffee-stained (naturally) sheet music in the background, and used gouache and ink for the colourful dance floor and costumes of our characters.

on the flip side, i used ink for our headless horseman and rapidly fleeing schoolteacher, all angles like a scarecrow, having borrowed an old workhorse gunpowder who is hardly a match for the phantom ghostrider. and in the background, i of course included some short story details all alluded to in irving’s original tale:

  • the church graveyard

  • clovers

  • fireflies

  • ghosts

  • shooting stars

  • pears

  • teapots

  • flash of fire

  • tulips (for the tulip tree)

  • pumpkins

  • books (to reference his love of reading & teaching, his singing hymnals, and he’d covered the school windows with old copy book pages)

so i hope you enjoy re-exploring the spooky tale.

and i hope you get to stay home if that’s your halloween preference (just me?), and if you do go out amongst the ghost & ghoulies, i hope it’s just a harmless prank and nothing that causes you to flee town. :)

purchase the mini luxe print on my etsy site here:

makes a great halloween greeting card (you can write on the background imagery!), or a book shelf or mantle decoration, or a frame-able spooky art piece.

they’re just shy of 4x6” each, and printed on a super nice matte board with just a hint of texture so both sides look just like the original paintings! it’s a triple-core board, the centre of which is literally orange! ;D

step into the tale, dance the night away, and may your imagination lead you somewhere safely on the otherside of the bridge. even if you lose your hat, hopefully the adventure was worth it.

click to purchase on my  etsy site ! on sale for the season!

click to purchase on my etsy site! on sale for the season!

hallie bertling