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Picturing a World


Harrison’s Wave inspired Charlie Post’s paintings of water, plain and simple. My idea for Charlie’s receding sickle moon, however, came more from Tonalist paintings with their atmospheric suggestions of mystery.
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Charlie Post

I’m not sure which came first, seeing Hovenden’s Self-Portrait or imagining Charlie Post. Like Charlie, Hovenden here seems to me pugnacious, introspective, dissatisfied, brooding, wistful, though his self-confidence is of a different stripe from Charlie’s obsessive belief in his work.

This self-portrait also points to a motif that could have been part of the novel but wasn’t, namely how musically accomplished many of the artists of this period were (including Carolus-Duran and John Singer Sargent). Notice how the scroll above the Hovenden’s violin peg box just touches the edge of the picture on his easel, symbolically joining the two arts. Similarly, in Marie Bashkirtseff’s self-portrait of 1880, the harp behind the painter just touches her palette. Read More 
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Austen in Austin

A TIP from writer Polly Shulman: There is a new interactive website from UT-Austin called What Jane Saw. It recreates a retrospective showing of paintings by Sir Joshua Reynold, which Jane Austen visited in 1813. Polly’s forthcoming YA novel, The Wells Bequest, is about time travel, and clever websites like this one aid the imagination in doing just that. Read More 
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Breton Bed

I made a big Breton bed a focal point in the Gernagans’ farmhouse kitchen partly because they were characteristic of Brittany and were depicted frequently in regional paintings. This painting by Mosler of a son returning to his father’s deathbed illustrates also the wider 19th C genre of an ill, dying, or dead person in bed. Later in Where the Light Falls, Amy and Jeanette both paint La Grecque posed as une maladeRead More 
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My Novel, The Movie

NEWS AGAIN from Marshal Zeringue's super Campaign for the American Reader. Today he features my daydreams on casting a movie version of Where the Light Falls. You can also read the post at My Novel, The Movie. Many thanks to Marshal for his imaginative blogs that encourage more readers to read more books.

If you have ideas for casting, please comment here or at Marshal's site—or both! Read More 
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In her 1930 autobiography, Background with Figures, Cecilia Beaux says that every artist in Paris had read Blanche Willis Howard’s novel Guenn: A Wave on the Breton Coast. Its main characters are artists who summer on the Breton coast and the local girl, Guenn, who poses for one of them.  Read More 
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Pont Aven

This is a view of Pont Aven from the estuary looking back inland to the town. Ragland and Nagg have their studio near here, where Charlie Post is working on his huge painting of an oncoming wave.
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The Page 69 Test

MORE BREAKING NEWS: Marshal Zeringue of the Campaign for the American Reader website has posted another guest blogspot of mine. Marshal asks authors to hold a mirror up to p. 69 of their book and comment on what they see. The premise is simple; the experience is startling—right through the looking glass! Read More 
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Sitting in a bustle

As Adeline Vann tells Jeanette, bustles were out of fashion in Paris in 1878 (they came back in the 1880’s). After seeing a wonderful video, however, I simply must help spread the word on How to Sit in a Victorian Bustle Dress.

With thanks to Two Nerdy History Girls Read More 
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After reaching the train station in Quimperlé on their way to the Breton seaside town of Pont Aven, Jeanette and her friends continue their journey in a French diligence or stagecoach. For van Gogh’s vivid painting of a southern example, click hereRead More 
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