By M.J. Rose (Guest Contributor)
I was six when I took my first art class. It was at the Metropolian Museum of Art in New York City. And I’ve never stopped studying or wanting to be painter. When I visit a city the first place I go to is the musuem. I am more at home looking at paintings and sculpture than doing anything, including reading. Of every subject I am always drawn first to art and artists.
When I was in Paris, I visited an exhibition of a late sixteen century female painter, Artemisia Gentileschi. She was a rarity and an anomaly. A woman artist who succeeded despite enduring so much. While there was no suggestion she dabbled in the occult, her resilience and determination inspired me to create a woman named, La Lune. A sixteenth century courtesan, the muse of a great artist who becomes a great artist herself.
While she isn’t the main character in The Witch of Painted Sorrows, she is at its heart. It’s her descendent, Sandrine, who three hundred years later, comes to Paris and has to overcome society’s rules and mores in order to live out her passions — as a woman and an artist during one of the most exciting times in Frances’ history.
Belle Epoch Paris was a melange of many different styles of art and poetry and philosophies. The old guard still ran the salons. Impressionsim battled for wall space with symbolism. Cults sprang up around occultism, spiritism and inspired artists and writers.
All that diversity fascinated me. I spent a long time at the Gustav Moreau museum, looking not just at his masterpieces, but examining the hundreds of sketches hidden away. I searched out art nouveau buildings and visited museums to look at the work of the Nabis whose name itself which came from the Hebrew word for “prophet,” evoked both their mysticism and determination to develop a new artistic language.
M.J. Rose, NYT Bestseller (author of more than a dozen books) believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice… books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it. Rose is a founding board member and co-president of International Thriller Writers and founder of AuthorBuzz.com