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Friday, 22 April 2011

Fragments of the Artist's Life...

Many moons ago, some of you were very kind as to comment on a little piece of my creative writing - I play with words.   I dream (occasionally...) of being a writer and yet am probably too lazy to actually get on with it.   Although I do become frustrated when I see some very bad writing, (in my humble opinion), achieving success out there in the publishing world.

Do you, mes bloggy buds?   Go on, whisper in my shell-like...   That's what comments are for.

With this post today, I'm not fishing for compliments, but it would be enormously helpful to me if you could offer up some critique of this meagre snippet of writing.

I'm curious whether these few sentences would make you want to read on, if it were a historic chick-lit kind of story, for example?   Please tell me if you think I need to give up, and step back from the pen now!
I was inspired to shape this fragment after seeing an image of the artist involved in a bound copy of Victorian newspapers from a private collection of books that are in the hands of the City Library in the centre of Newcastle.   I looked down upon a black and white engraving that showed those artists who had been recently admitted as Fellows to the Royal Academy of Arts, and my finger fell on F. B. Dicksee.

I wasn't familiar with his name, as such, but after some research, I found I do know some of his paintings - His art to me appears very romantic and his talent is exacting.   He was said to have frowned upon those artists whose shoddier, more modern work, came after him.   I note he was classed among the Pre-Raphaelites, but I imagine he may have been lesser-known.   He was a prolific artist.   Perhaps that's why he never married.   Maybe not.   In later life, just after the turn of the Twentieth Century, he became the Academy's President.  

CLICKIE here for more of his paintings.   He was to remain a bachelor all his life.

I'm embroidering a past here...   I'm imagining a thwarted, frustrated, slightly mad mistress - younger than he, and very lovely, 'though not quite of the same social or educational standing, (as appeared to be somewhat customary in certain artistic circles, see Jane Morris and Fanny Cornforth).

Forgive me, Frank.

"Oh, he's handsome all right, is Frank.   Sleek, shiny brown hair, like that of a bear I saw once in a museum at South Kensington; falling down across his sweet face and parting to reveal a brooding, high intellectual brow that lets you know he is your better.   Hazel eyes bear down into your soul, leaving open wounds.   A piercing gaze, always looking off somewhere else.   Dreaming of another painting, further high society commissions.   Another grand dame perhaps, who'll harken to his every command.   'Turn this way, Mrs Foster.   That's it!   Up towards the light.   Allow the air to cool your cheek.   Let me see that passion in your eyes, chere Madame...'   That was our problem, really, when I think back on it.   When I'm not in my cups, of course.   My jealousy of all those others.  

I'd be thinking of him, longing for him really, while he was staring at another woman's tender form, half-naked, swathed in lengths of flimsy cloth and quivering slightly in the strong northern light from those great tall windows in his garret at the top of that draughty house of his.   Long hours spent capturing another woman's beauty, when I should have been enough for him.   He told me once that I was all he'd ever wanted.   With flames of red for my hair and my blue Scottish skin, I was his enchanted Yseult, his sylvan maiden, Sylvia... Miranda...   His alone.   I never was with anyone else.   Even though I was asked out by other men who'd spied me behind the high counter of the haberdasher's shop before he did.

Captivating, he was.   All broad shoulders and strong arms, just like the bear.   Warm and loving, for a time.   Perched high above in his artist's eyrie, Greville House, 3 Greville Place, St. John's Wood, he wraps himself in a blue cotton, paint-speckled apron, and could watch the world go by without ever having to take any part in it, if such was his desire.

All those fine men with their dark secrets and pale mistresses, passing in the soot and rain-blackened street.

I wish from my heart that I'd never set eyes on him".

5 comments:

slommler said...

Beautiful writing! I love all your descriptors!! It paints such a beautiful yet slightly sad story!!
Hugs
SueAnn

kapgaf said...

Hello dollink,
I hev been avay for a verrrry loooong time but now I'm beck. Did you miss me ?
Your blog as always is divine and you look no older than when I left.
The writing is delightful and the only criticism I would have is that she doesn't really sound like someone of inferior education.
Historic chick lit, indeed!
Many kisses, mwah, mwah,
Kapgaf

Expat mum said...

It is a great opening, although I agree that it's slightly too educated-sounding in parts. For example, wouldn't she say "like a bear I once saw" instead of "like that of a bear", and would she make references to sylvan maidens, (unless she was still quoting him there).
Just keep writing and get the story down and once you have a first draft you can go back and make all the changes you want.
A great start and would keep me reading.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Ladies, you have been enormously helpful and bless you for sharing your undoubted gifts and time! kapgaf - Whatttttttttttt! You are back - I thought you were just a fragment of my memory, sweetie, dahling! Lovely to see you once more xxx

Expat Mum, you are a treasure, thank you - Changes now implemented (I hope - I am trying to find her voice, I guess - She's Minnie, by the way... x)

SueAnn - Thank you so for your artful touches - Merci mille! xxx

Jarmara Falconer said...

Such beautiful paintings how I love these works of art.

Just as I loved your words a work of art in themselves.

I could hear her voice calling her love to him, but all he see and hears is the sound and sight of the brush and paint against canvas, creating her image of his lover. For one brief moment before he move on to his next work of art and lover.

Something I wrote earlier...

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