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Picturing a World

Time to write

Newcomers, welcome! This is my blog devoted primarily to illustrating the world of Where the Light Falls and thinking about how images can shape stories. Please explore the archives. Beginning in November 2012, the posts follow the novel more or less chronologically. Tags direct you to topics more analytically. I promise earlier posts  Read More 
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Winter in New York

Given the recent snow and ice here in the Northeast, I’ve been thinking about why books set in winter appeal. Even though the action of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is directed toward delivering Narnia from the grip of the White Witch, it’s the snow you remember, the  Read More 
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Thoughts on writing

Blog tip: Writer, artist, and editor Terry Windling posts today on Stories that matter. She quotes other writers who share her philosophy (and mine) that real writing is what you must do because you can't not do it. The post is illustrated with fantasy images by Nadeshda Illarionova, whose pictures could easily inspire a fairy tale of your own. Check'em out! Read More 
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Studio party

This engraving of Gunnar Berndston's depiction of a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper appears in The Illustrated Catalogue of the Paris Salon for 1882. Such an engraved image might seem inadequate to eyes accustomed to photographic reproduction, yet turning the pages of the Salon catalogues in the research library of The Clark was a wonderful way to grasp the scope of the annual exhibitions. To see what I mean, click here for the next year's catalogue

In the 1882 catalogue, a few pictures seemed to leap out illustratively for Where the Light Falls. This one reminded me of Read More 
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Women on an omnibus

It’s hard to know why some topics fascinate us. I ride public transportation whenever I can; maybe that's why depictions of riders in a train or on an omnibus always catch my eye. For my fiction, moreover, it just seems part of world-building to know how my characters get from one place to another and how long it takes them. Mary Cassatt's In the Omnibus" reminds me of crossing the Charles River on the Red Line in Boston during the day when the cars are sometimes uncrowded. For Daumier's more typically crowded omnibus, click here.  Read More 
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Hat for Jeanette?

Blog tip: Click here for one of several recent posts on hats at It’s About Time. Liljelund’s young woman (and her bangs) caught my eye because she reminds me of Jeanette, who loves clothes but needs to develop a fashion sense. Read More 
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Wish I'd seen Bauck in time

It is gratifying to run across paintings (like Vollon’s Mound of Butter) that seem to jump right out of the world of my novel, but here’s one I wish I had seen while I was writing. What an engaging gaze!

The subject of Danish artist Bertha Wegmann’s portrait’—the Swedish-born Jeanna Bauck (1840–1926)—would have been Edward's contemporary Read More 
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Mound of Butter

A couple of days ago, I stumbled across this painting by Antoine Vollon, which brought to mind the night that Jeanette proposes to Amy and Sonja, “You know what we should do? Set up studies from a dairy shop: eggs, those big mounds of butter, and round cheeses—think of all the fat shapes.” Read More 
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Woman reading

Blog tip: I’ve just discovered Bas van Houwelingen’s long-running blog Reading and Art. Each post features a single artist’s images of people reading. For more from Bashkirtseff, click here.
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Like many bloggers, I post a day or two in advance. If I were adept at Photoshop, I might alter this morning’s restaurant image to show blood on the sidewalk. Many cartoonists and other artists, shocked by yesterday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo, have risen to the occasion with new work. Let us all be grateful. Read More 
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