This week, I began draft #5 of Death on the Danube. I finished the 4th draft about a month ago and decided to just let it sit for a while. In the meantime, I let my husband read it. He thinks it’s really good, but he had some helpful suggestions, too. I’ve been mulling things around, and now I’m ready to approach the project with a fresh eye.
The story is done. The mystery is solved. (Hint: Bella Sarver provides the key information, though she has a lot of help from the German and Romanian police.) But now it’s time to really whip this book into shape.
This is my fourth novel, and I’ve learned quite a bit about the writing process. It’s all very well to come up with a basic mystery, but fleshing out the characters, letting them tell the story in their own words, and letting the story go its own way is where the work part comes in. It’s fun, too, though, a new adventure every time. So back to work, and I’ll keep you posted on progress.
Breakfast, Oil, 16 x 20, $425
Abstract (adj.) – to draw from, separate [L. <ab(s)-, from + trahere, to draw]
(Wesbster’s New World Dictionary, 2nd College Edition, Prentice Hall Press, 1986)
Most of my recent paintings explore the notion of abstraction. When does a representation go from being very realistic to being abstract? I think it has to do with the artist removing the context of the objects being depicted. In “Breakfast,” the viewer is required to focus just on the objects, without being able to tell where the breakfast is located or who might be starting to eat it. An abstract painting can certainly consist of shapes and colors, without relating at all to reality. An abstract painting can also adhere to the literal meaning of the word “abstract,” by separating the subject from its surroundings. In that sense, surrealism is also abstraction.
Apple, acrylic, 14 x11 ($125 + $10 shipping)
I just saw a fascinating documentary, “Tim’s Vermeer,” produced by Penn & Teller. It’s the story of Tim, who theorizes that Vermeer used a camera obscura to create his amazingly realistic paintings. This theory is well known, but there are problems with it. Tim set out to overcome the problems. He made and modified a camera obscura, and actually built the entire scene of “The Music Lesson.” He then painted the scene, using his invention. He proved that Vermeer could have similarly used his own camera obscura to achieve the great level of detail in his paintings. At the end of about 130 days, Tim had recreated an exact replica of Vermeer’s painting.
Yet something was still missing from the painting. It lacked the magic that Vermeer brought to his work. Why is that?
An artist must master her craft, surely. More than that, though, the artist uses composition, the effects of light and color, the choice of subject matter, to elevate the craftman-like work to the level of art. It’s seeing ordinary things in a different way. Maybe it’s a sort of magic, after all.