Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sargent's Venetian Days

I was in Venice in September, and spent one precious afternoon walking through the calles (tiny narrow alleys) and the campos (plazas or squares, many of them tiny, just a large intersection of alleys), taking photos of places that reminded me of the many paintings Sargent created during his sojourns in Venice, a city he loved very much. Here's two samples of what I found, compared to one of my favorite Sargent oil paintings (Venetian Street Scene) and another watercolor below:


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been...

My second historical novel--Portraits of an Artist, about John Singer Sargent--is about to be published. It will be available in February 2013, to be specific, both online and in bookstores. My publisher is The Sand Hill Review Press of San Mateo, California. 

It has been a long and interesting journey that started fifteen years ago when I saw a major exhibit of Sargent's works at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. As I start this blog about my novel, the artist and his art, I want to show you the painting that was the beginning of it all for me: Portraits d'Enfants, also known as The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit. I hope you keep coming back for more, as there is a lot more to see.

This portrait was painted in 1883. I stood in front of this painting for a very long time, and came back to it again and again--there was a mystery here, I felt it very deeply--and then I later read a single sentence about the Boit girls attributed to Sister Wendy Beckett of PBS Art fame, “There’s something sad about the picture, and when I discovered that these four pretty, wealthy girls never married, not one of them, one begins to feel that Sargent had intuited something of that….” 

I said to myself, I have to write a novel about them, some day. But what started out as a story about the four daughters became instead a story about the artist and his portraits during a very intense, deeply creative time in his life: Paris, 1882-1884, when he painted not only this unique portrait, but also others whose stories are worth investigating....more to come.