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Picturing a World

Inspired by places

Blog tips for writers: I respond strongly to places and imagining settings is important to me in writing fiction. Recently I began saving photographs from the British Geograph website with first lines for stories I might write some day. In one of life’s weird coincidences, I’ve just run across a couple of posts at the Steamed: Writing Steampunk Fiction blog Read More 
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Duval restaurant

To make a world real, it seems to me you have to know what people ate and where and when. When the Duval restaurants turned up early in my research I knew I could use them; and Renoir's painting of a Duval waitress became a touchstone image for me. Not only the quietly respectable young woman but the figured wallpaper and curtains suggested a feminine air that would be reassuring to Jeanette and Effie.

Pierre Louis Duval, a butcher, began selling servings of a meat cooked in broth to workers ca. 1855. From this venture grew a chain of restaurants. They were clean, well-run places where women on a budget could eat safely.  Read More 
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Three figures

Blog tip: I’m exploring a blog new to me, Poul Webb’s Art & Artists. Its posts on individual artists are illustrated by many images. This one comes from a post on early John Singer Sargent and demonstrates Sargent’s ease and his unconventional cropping. Jeanette notices both when she sees his sketch of Mrs. Renick. It also illustrates the awareness of flesh that she must take for granted in her class for the nude despite the way it upsets Effie and disquiets Edward. Read More 
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Skeleton

When Jeanette and Amy take up the full nude at the Académie Julian in the fall of 1879, they have taken informal anatomy lessons from Wee Willie Winkham, based on the skeleton he owns as a medical student. Know the Skeleton, a recent post at  Read More 
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Camera obscura

Web tip: At her website, artist Jane Morris has a very interesting essay on the Vermeer Project that she conducted with her students. She describes building a camera obscura, investigating its use, and exploring problems that arose. With illustrations. Read More 
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Guest Post from Mary Hamer, author of Kipling & Trix

I’d be surprised if many people on first sight of this drawing thought ‘Oh that must be Rudyard Kipling’. We’re much more used to photographs of him bald and spectacled, taken later in his life. In fact, this pencil drawing is the only image of  Read More 
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Guest Post alert! Coming Monday!

Tomorrow, I am lucky enough to have a guest post from Mary Hamer, author of the prize-winning historical novel, Kipling & Trix. Did you know that Rudyard Kipling had a sister who also wrote fiction? He did. Check here tomorrow to learn more about how Mary used images, including a rare photograph of "Trix" to visualize the two title characters of her fascinating novel.  Read More 
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