The Girl : IMAGE 43 : Engagement Ring
I43 rhymes I35, forcing readers to consider the subtle visual contrasts that articulate the compatible yet profoundly different emotional context of each moment. For example, Ward draws the perspective in I43 over the Girl’s shoulder, and veils her features, expressing her feelings only through a demure silhouette. The Boy gazes intently here, no longer dissembling his love through play-acting: The Girl's response is all that matters to him. In accepting the engagement ring, The Girl opens her hand rather than merely extending her finger. Radiant lines emanate from the engagement ring; they do not from the brass ring. In I35, her hair is black. In I43 her hair seems luminous, an effect achieved by using the spitzsticker tool to cut swirls of varying depths. Ward's handling of details shows a masterful control of the emotional nuances of his love story and a refined gift for lyric invention, which also comes through in the image’s richly textured surface.
For example, the Girl’s blouse possesses a range of shades, enhanced by Cribblé and the engraved lines across her back that have been gently sanded, which suggest the barest breeze of light. And Ward has cleared away the block beneath The Boy’s hand, which increases its prominence, even lending it a touch of 3-dimensionality. Throughout Vertigo, Ward's choreography derives maximal emotional force from the expressive configuration of hands. The delicacy with which The Boy holds the ring signifies the delicacy as well as the power of the moment.
(Note also that decorative motifs, such as the white tint lines notched into the tall black triangle above The Boy’s crooked finger, instance Ward’s imaginative appropriation of the Art Deco style, and his descriptive use of pure pattern.)