Monday, October 13, 2014

Mary E. Martin Presents Startling, Dramatic Mystery, The Drawing Lesson...

When I saw the cover of this book on Wattpad, I immediately was drawn into the scene. Don't you love book covers that attract you enough to demand to know more!?! I immediately left a comment to ask whether the book was completed... And, as internet interactions sometimes go, it was much later that I finally connected with the author! You're right I don't often go out seeking to know about a book, but with all the trouble I've been having with computer "stuff," I just went out and bought it, only to start reading it at the same time I was finishing The Figures of Beauty, another novel taking me into the life of an artist...

There is little comparison in relation to the stories, but there is that demonstration of passion that you can not miss when you find it, whether by the author who writes the story, or by the artist about whom the story is written.

Martin does not really get into the true mystery of the book until the second half of the story. Still the early story in intriguing as you sink into the deep emotions revealed...

First, I should point out this is a trilogy, with this being the debut novel... I'm providing both the book trailer and a short author interview at this point mainly because of the pictures of the main character and his work, as well as, of course, a general overview...

I was losing any semblance of composure. “Pretty scenes? Good God, Alex, look at them. You’ve captured something no one else ever has in landscape.” 
“And what might that be?” 
I stared at him and then at the four or five canvases arranged around the room. I remembered what the docent at the Tate had said. Numinosity did shine through. She was right! In that moment, I had a tiny glimpse of what lay beyond or behind the phenomenal world. Until that moment, I had not really experienced that quality in his work. Somehow, Alex had captured the essence of the world. Was I too caught up in the details of the business—the mounting of shows, the advertising and caterers—to see how truly wonderful his work was? With a broad grin, I embraced my friend. Then holding him at arm’s length, I said, “Alex, God is in your work, just as the docent said.” 
My friend simply shrugged. “Yes, but the light has gone out, Jamie.” 
“What on earth do you mean?”
 “My muse has gone … left me in the lurch.”
“But that happens with all artists,” I began. “Inspiration always returns. Listen! Let me choose the paintings for the show. I’ll have them crated up this afternoon. All you need to do is show up on Saturday night.” 
Alex seemed to hesitate, but then he said softly, “All right. Do that for me, dear boy.” He turned and smiled bravely. “I must do my best to find her again.” 
As if dealing with the loss of a child’s imaginary friend, I said cheerfully, “I know you will find her soon. Muses always return.” 
But the sadness in his expression touched me, and I realized my glibness. “Oh dear! Alex, do you mean the mother of this child you mentioned?” 
He nodded sorrowfully. “I used to call her Maggie. I think she’s probably dead.”

But this author is a woman after my own heart, she has also provided, through her blog, a short introduction, including the interesting pic of the narrator of the story, James Helmsworth.  He promptly tells about meeting Britain's Finest Landscape Painter and immediately shares one of his early paintings...

Notice the light is this feature which began his career...
More of this prequel can be found on the author's site...

“Jamie, about the retrospective of my work …” 
I sat down across from him. “Yes?”
“I can’t do it.” 
“What on earth do you mean?” 
He reached across the desk and touched my sleeve. His eyes gleamed intently. “I’m afraid I’m losing my vision!” 
Because I have heard many artists speak of their vision, I assumed that Alex was referring to his source of inspiration. I was astounded when he described his plight. “Just yesterday, I was walking along the Embankment to my studio and clouds seemed to roll in along the periphery of my vision until everything was almost entirely black. Of course, I was frightened, so I sat down on a bench a waited for it to pass, which it did within about five minutes.” 
“Has it happened again?” He shook his head. “But it did several weeks ago.”

I was intrigued with the inclusion of issues with Wainwright's vision because I never quite was sure whether it was a psychological symptom of what Alex was going through... Perhaps the author will have to explain it to me... But I found I kept dwelling on whether his insecurity of losing his eyesight and how traumatic that would be for an artist was what led to what happened... Of course, that was around the same time that he'd heard of the daughter of a former student...and a woman he came to love very much...and  his muse... Was it his child? He knew that during his time with Maggie, it had been the best period in his drawing...

Because Wainwright certainly went through a period of turmoil that only served to entice readers to discover what was happening. At a showing, another short-listed conceptual artist, Rinaldo, began to criticize that Alex's work was outdated.  That was the first moment of doubt for Wainwright, sown by an enemy that he never really recognized...

The major event, however, was just after it was announced that he'd won the prestigious award... for his painting, The Hay Wagon. I picked an illustrative painting by Sharon Hodges...because Wainwright's picture was painted over by this man! Rinaldo had entered the contest also. He proclaimed that Wainwright was old-fashioned, painting what no longer existed in the world... Rinaldo did not use canvases for his work...

But for some reason, known only to Alex, he followed Rinaldo out of that event and went on to establish some semblance of a relationship... It was not very long that Alex changed his work...
From the man who had been named the finest landscape artist in Britain, additions were added now...under a bush, beside a tree...wherever they might be somewhat hidden... ugly little trolls!

The influence of a muse is explored quite often. Having lost Maggie, Alex had both served as a muse and found one in characters Peter and Daphne. The intimacy and intellectual stimulation of such an individual had never been more clearly illustrated for me than in this novel... It seems to be much more than what we call a mentor, but can or cannot involve a sexual connection. With Maggie he had also fallen in love... His relationship with Peter and Daphne are significantly different... These interactions make for a hidden depth to the role Alex had previously played and what was happening to him at this point.

The intense drama soon begins as Alex's friends are reacting to the addition of trolls. The breaks with Peter and Daphne haunts him but not having a muse is the worst part... For some reason, it appears Rinaldo is fulfilling some part of that need as Alex is both repelled and enticed to interact with him more...

And then the worst happened... he had gone to an area where he could paint and stay for a short time... And he meets both an old couple who are very much in love even through a strange tragedy, and a young girl who is so enclosed within herself, that he feels a great sympathy for all of them... Alex is realizing, for  perhaps the first time in his life, that his work has separated him from others... But when he reaches out...

Readers will indeed be committed to trying to solve where this story will end. I don't think of it as the routine mystery, however. There is no crime to be solved... Except by one jealous artist of another... Jealousy is not normally a crime, thankfully, but Rinaldo is behaving more and more strangely as he tries to entice Alex to collaborate with him...

A truly mesmerizing psychological drama that, at one point, made me so fearful I didn't want to read on...  Kudos to the author! It was not the intent of the author to dwell on the actual artistic activities, but rather on the effect of that passion on the personal life of those artists. A very successful endeavor in my opinion... Highly recommended...


MARY E. MARTIN is the award-winning author of The Osgoode Trilogy--Conduct in Question, Final Paradox and A Trial of One--about murder and fraud, love and forgiveness in the world of the law. Meet attorney Harry Jenkins.
The Trilogy of Remembrance about artists and revelations in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Meet Britain's finest landscape artist, Alexander Wainwright.

The books in The Osgoode Trilogy are legal suspense novels, inspired by her many years of law practice in Toronto, Canada. The protagonist lawyer, Harry Jenkins, while unraveling murder and fraud, finds along the way, love, compassion and understanding. She writes with the sure knowledge of an insider and creates a rich tapestry of characters and fast paced plots.

Upon completion of The Osgoode Trilogy, she began The Trilogy of Remembrance and created an entirely different world--of art and artists. The Drawing Lesson, which won Honorable Mention in the New York Festival of Books, is the first novel and The Fate of Pryde is the second. Alexander Wainwright, the protagonist of the trilogy, is a painter whose magical light enchants viewers with visions of the beyond. He travels throughout the world in constant search of his muse seeking answers to the big questions. But It's the journey that counts.

In September 2014 the third in The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing, will be published. In that story, Alexander will be faced with the question: must a creative spirit choose between his art and true love.

After writing, art and photography are her greatest passions. Currently, she is exploring the world of cyberspace as a place to tell story. "Why," she asks, "should a character be confined to the pages of a novel?" Alexander Wainwright is blogging, interviewing other artists and combining the written word and visual image on the web.

This means lots of blog-sized stories are coming free to you and some are already there. The Devil of Chateau Noir

Sign up for her blog at
...which she frequently shares with Alexander Wainwright

AND visit Alexander on his Facebook page Alexander Wainwright-A Character of The Trilogy of Remembrance. Please consider liking his page as it would mean ever so much to him.
AND visit the Facebook page for The Trilogy of Remembrance. It loves "likes" too!

MARY E. MARTIN graduated in Honours History at the University of Toronto and in law at Queens University, Kingston. She practised law for thirty years in Toronto. She and her husband live in Toronto and have three adult children, one grandson and one granddaughter.

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