3 Artists I’ve incorporated into my book

Who doesn’t love art?

I for one am in love with all forms of artistic expression, but I just wanted to give a shout out to three that made me want to include them in my writing.

Flaming June 1895

The first is ‘Flaming June’ by Frederic Leighton. Two of my characters are named after him because this painting is my favourite. The way the sunlight captures her as she naps in the warmth and tranquility of the Mediterranean backdrop with the Nerium Oleander top right, a poisonous plant. I love the juxtaposition between the safety of sleeping and the macabre possibility that she could be dead with the plant culprit in view. Mostly though, his talent was undeniable.

An African Woman *oil on canvas *60 x 39 (fragment of a larger painting) *1580s

The second is ‘Portrait of a Woman Holding a Clock’ by Annibale Carracci. Throughout history there is so much whitewashing of non-white figures, and so this painting struck me. Painted between 1582-1586, the figure is dressed well in luxurious clothes, is poised with elegance and stature which to me indicates someone of more discerning cultivated character. The gold clock, along with fine jewellery continue to tell me that this woman had a good place in society. What’s interesting and highlights the re-writing of black history, is that three or four hundred years prior, the woman would have just been a black woman. It was only later that she had to be re-named as “Slave” or “African”. It is for this reason, that I wanted to make her central, regardless of how small an appearance she makes, to my story. She is no longer a “slave” but a powerful witch that curses vampires and changes their history. Just as the impact of black and other non-white people are often overlooked for their impact to our current point of view, I wanted to bring Annibales Carraci’s into the conversation.

I’ve been in love with Niel Gaimon since I used to sneak into my eldest brothers room and steal his comics. I loved Sandman, but it was Delirium who inspired me as I wrote the protagonist of this story. I loved how everything was topsy turvy for her, that she was both coming and going but that regardless of everything, she still had to try and function. To me, her character reflects a lot of life, in that we don’t know what on earth is going on. We have such limited information, and we are expected to create a beautiful life out of it. Rarely do we have all of the pieces, we are easily distracted and so miss key pieces of data that would help what we are doing and just try to wing it. Emily, my protagonist, is doing just that. She’s a messy messy character, but I love her for that. She embodies a very human trait that I rarely find in books, that of trying to guess what’s going on when you weren’t paying attention and still having to forge ahead.

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