Monday, March 1, 2010

Roads, Rodin and Romance

There are lots of songs that tell about people's journeys. The Long and Winding Road comes to mind when I think of how to describe my life since Januaray 20. Not meant to solicit pity-no, hindsight is always much clearer than when you are walking through the valleys, eh? The experience has taught me a great deal.

For those who may not know , my mom suffered a stroke which left her fine physically, but unable to speak clearly.She is home now, and in the days ahead will be receiving much therapy. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, they have helped. And while the road ahead no doubt has a few potholes in it, she is getting better. Getting rid of all this snow and warmer temps will certainly help the overall disposition around here I'm sure!

Meantime, I am preparing for the RT Convention in April , my twins musical, "Into the Woods, " here next weekend, and snatching some writing time in between all else. And so it goes....


I awaken everyday to a poster of Thomas Rodin staring down at me with encouraging (albeit smoldering eyes) and I am inspired  with the utter joy I had in writing this book. I love art anyway. Museums are some of my favorite places to replenish and nurture my spirit. Looking at a painting and imagining what that artist was looking at, what they were thinking as they painted it.

I took my inspiration for The Master & the Muses, from the real life artwork of the PreRaphaelite Brotherhood. Somewhat medieval (perhaps another draw for me;) I began to delve further into the real life women that sat for these young and rebellious artists for their time.

Many refused to be "taught" what the Royal Academy was teaching at the time, and went back to the methods /colors and style of painting before the famous Raphael. They developed their own techniques, textured canvas and revered nature in everything they did. Some were more eccentric than others-Dante Gabriel Rosetti, for one was a brash , but brilliant artist, who exemplified the term "defying gravity." He went his own way in a very straight-laced time in Victorian England. And though his intentions were noble, he had a hunger , a restlessness that he never fully was able to control and yet IMO, it is what became the very aspect of his creative genius.

He was charismatic, handsome, bold. He had an arrogance that many either admired or detested--there was never very much *in-between* for this man. And yet, he  had a vulnerable side that few understood. So is the case for many creative types when you look closer;) He was a poet, a lover, a dreamer for his day--he had a way of making women feel they were beautiful, no matter what their social standing. When others were saying, "You can't!" Rosetti would responde, "Why not?"
As was the case in most instances, it was is this idea of "rescuing the damsel in distress" that fueled the type of women they sought to model for them, feeling they were offering them a better life--and for some that weas true, for others they became shunned for prostituting themselves for money, and for others , it sparked a freedom with a finacial independance that allowed them an education and marriage in circles they would nver have known otherwise.

"Respectable" women did not sit for artists and be compensated, unless it was for a personal portrait and only then if accompanied by a guardian. As such, the women that the brotherhood  artists often sought ought were those who worked the public social gardens at the time--the Cremhorne and the pubs and burlesque theaters.

Regardless, of the many women that over the years posed for the Brotherhood artists, the experience undoubtedly changed their lives forever. They became what we would consider the "Sports Illustrated" cover models in celebrity status. But inside of being looked upon with admiration, they were often considered whores for what they did. It must have been  very complicated for those who wanted to break out of their poverty and yet could still not overcome the social stigmas of the day.

(* shown here Rosetti's Ghirlandata)

I chose aspects of a variety of  *real-life* PRB models as essence to creating my characters for The Master & the Muses, and infused a healthy dose of Victorian protocol to the mix.

Passionate, sensual, complex--three women, each told from her POV of the  story of her experience, being "discovered," falling under the enchantment of Thomas Rodin and discovering life after modeling for this brilliant artist.

And what about the rakishThomas???
Well, you'll have to read the book to see how that turns out;)

Have a wonderful day!