There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights. 

— spoken by Van Helsing to Mina Harker in the book Dracula by Bram Stoker


February 26th, 2023

Do you know the story of Dracula? The original book by Bram Stoker that is. There are quite a few movie adaptations but they often change the details of the story. The book is one several of my family members have read and enjoyed. I recently listened to it again on Audible. They have an excellent version and it's free if you have an Audible account.

I made this image because I was inspired by an Arantzazu Martínez painting that I saw several years ago and immediately loved. It had been mis-titled (on Pinterest) "The Vampire's Wife" but I knew from the story that the woman was Mina --who is most certainly not the vampire's wife. She is however, in my opinion, the heroine of the story of Dracula. The painting is actually titled "Dracula". My image is titled "Mina".

I won't give the story away but I will say I think it's worth reading --even if you are not "into" vampires and that sort of thing. There is one particularly gruesome scene however so if you are squeamish there's your warning.

Everything in this image was photographed by me. It's a composite but all the composited elements are real though some have been manipulated and enhanced in Photoshop. The background is a photo I took last summer on the Isle of Iona in Scotland. It is a ruin of a 14th century nunnery.

The rats and wolf are toy figurines that I photographed and then worked on in Photoshop to look more realistic. The papers on the ground are from a very old book that I have. The lantern was something I found on Amazon. The round stone behind Mina's head is actually a ceiling medallion that I simply overlaid with a texture to look like stone.

The gown, which is really two pieces --a bodice and a skirt-- was made by me with historically accurate patterns. The book was published in 1887 so, technically speaking, this gown is slightly off the correct time period but then again the book itself doesn't actually give us a year and, well, it was the look I wanted.

The models are my husband and oldest daughter. Dracula was a favorite book of my daughter's when she was in high school and she was thrilled to play the role for this.

I am conflicted as to how much I should explain about the symbolism in the image, such as, why the rats, why the wolf, and even why I didn't include the shadow like in the inspiration painting.  I also didn't have Mina's feet bare although I had originally intended to. Suffice it to say, it just didn't work with what I was doing so I skipped it. I do really like that aspect of the painting though because it is two-fold in its meaning to me. Firstly, the vulnerability of having one's shoes off in such a setting but also there's a part in the book where Mina takes off her shoes and puts them on her friend Lucy who had been sleep walking. There's more to it than that of course but you get the idea.

Let me know what you think of the image and if you have any comments or questions I would love to hear them.


This image will be printed in a large format and framed. It will be exhibited in a gallery along with the dress on a future date as yet TBD.



Lancaster, PA 17603