This painting incorporates some of my favorite metaphoric symbols, the first and most obvious being chess. I like using chess as a symbol of the daily struggles of our lives. In this painting the figure is in a state of deep contemplation while kneeling in a "dream" environment that is a giant chessboard. Small chess pieces are scattered at her feet while in the distance a giant rook has fallen, and soaring into the sky are a black bishop and a king, whose color is not easily discernible. The figure is dressed in a white sheet and there is a crown on the ground in front of her, marking her as the white queen. The black bishop is a symbol of religion, with all of the ever-present judgment and restriction, but none of the spiritual embrace. The king is a metaphor for her romantic relationship and could be a threat or not. Since she can't tell what his color is, she is unable to tell if this is the king she should protect or the king she should attack. The nearest pieces of her color are two white pawns standing side by side like twins, and offering virtually no assistance or protection. The fallen rook represents a home in upheaval. The small pieces are metaphoric symbols of the constantly collecting little distractions that monopolize our attention.
The second symbol I'm using is time. The broken hourglass states that time does not regenerate, that once lost it is gone forever. The sand falls to the ground, and the hourglass, which is suspended from nowhere tells the "white queen" that her time is nearly up, and her "decision" remains yet unmade. In the distance there is an encroaching field of sunflower-like blossoms with timepieces in their centers. As the shoots break through the ground and move ever closer they symbolize yet again the fact that "time" is "catching up" with this woman. I chose the time, 10:09, because it gives the impression that perhaps this is a place where the sun might cast some eerie light late into the evening, a bizarre sort of illumination. Also, I am a collector of clocks, and I have noticed with some amusement that clocks are depicted in advertisements with the time set at either 10:09 or 8:19 so that the hands are balanced! I jokingly call this "fashion time."
The white sheet, while establishing the woman as the white queen, also implies the idea of sleep. I call this painting "Knight Watch" partly in jest, as if the queen is looking for her "knight" to come to her rescue, and as play on the famous Rembrandt painting, "Night Watch." The title, though, bespeaks the long, late, sleepless hours of the night when all the issues and problems of the day loom in the darkness around us, and torment us with the reminder of so much time past and so little time remaining.