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Picturing a World

"New Pages "website

Website tip: I'm pleased to announce that this blog has been added to the Blogs by Poets & Writers" listings of the extremely informative website New Pages, which lives up to its motto, Engage Readers • Creative Writers • Start Here. Special thanks to Elaine Fowler Palencia for introducing me to the site. Read More 
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Stereoscopic Salle des Maréchaux

Blog tip: For a slightly disconcerting view of the Salle des Maréchaux in the Tuileries Palace made from stereoscopic images taken in 1865, click here. Meissonier painted the ruins of this room in 1871, after the palace was burned. Read More 
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Van Gogh’s hospital

While I was working on Where the Light Falls, my husband and I visited this mental hospital in Arles. The courtyard has been restored to look much as it did when van Gogh was a patient. The  Read More 
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Clothes and the historical fiction writer

Blog tip: It's hard to know for sure what ordinary people wore for everyday work in the past because only fine clothes tend to be saved. For a thoughtful post on the problem by a writer of historical romance, click here.
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Block that illustration!

Last week, I had the privilege of privately visiting the library at Edith Wharton’s house in Lenox, Massachusetts, The Mount, where Nynke Dorhout, the librarian, showed me (among many other treasures) Wharton’s own first-edition copies of The House of Mirth (1905).  Read More 
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Les Collettes

Working from the photographs, paintings, and—best of all for my purposes—elevation plans, plant lists, and a bird’s-eye layout in Derek Fell’s book Renoir’s Garden, I used Renoir’s estate, Les Collettes, near Cagnes to invent Dr. Aubanel’s  Read More 
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Noli me tangere

In the Bible, it is Mary Magdalene who first witnesses the Risen Christ (John 20:14–17). She mistakes for him a gardener until he reveals his true identity, whereupon he tells her not to touch him yet (“Noli me tangere” in the Vulgate Latin).  Read More 
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Blog tip: In my fiction, I stay away from religion except for the externals, e.g., glances at my characters’ church attendance and Christmas. In recognition of the solemnity of Good Friday, however, I’m posting these studies as a reminder that artists have been drawn to religious topics throughout the ages. I first ran across the image in the archives of the Inspirational Artwork blog, which are worth exploring. Read More 
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Sea at L’Estaque

Edward is discouraged by his first view outside the L’Estaque train station, but then Winkie turns him around to look out over the bay of Marseille. For another version of this painting, click here. For another view from higher up, click here. For others, click here, here, here, and here.  Read More 
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View from a train station

Originally, I had intended to give the Renicks’ a house in Aix-en-Provence, where I spent a semester my sophomore year in college, and place Dr. Aubanel’s sanatorium near its thermal springs. Jeanette and Effie were to stay for a longish visit and encounter Edward swimming in the river Arc, where Paul Cézanne and Êmile Zola swam as boys. Read More 
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