Friday, March 5, 2021

The Evolution of Madame Lutéce

Here we are in 2021 and I thought it was a good time to look back at Madame Lutéce, the headmistress of The One and Only Parisian Charm School for Exceptional Girls and Boys.  This is the original Madame Lutéce.  She arrived in early 2019 when I had just taken up art (after a fifty year sabbatical--yes, seriously) when I was just beginning to paint/draw characters for my novel-in-progress. 

I'm not a trained artist so I just mixed up marker pens, water color, pastel, sharpies...whatever I could get my hands on. I spent 2019 and most of 2020 developing the novel's characters.  In the spring of 2019, my friend, the artist, Karen Martin introduced me to India Ink.  This rocked my world.  I fell in love.  I love rich black and I love line drawings and I've always loved Chinese brush painting.  And so this became my thing.  Also, I have this dream that I will be able to illustrate my novel.   Of course, I will miss the colors, but I know I have a better chance of getting my illustrations included in the novel if they're in black and white.  This is Madame Lutéce in profile, done in India ink.

And then, this past Sunday, I had a lesson with the wonderful artist and writer, Jacqueline Rogers.  She suggested, I make my headmistress older.  And that she would be looking down, because the girls and boys in her school are younger and perhaps very intimated by this haughty French woman.  In fact, we both tossed around the word "haughty" several times.  So, this is what I've come up with:

What's interesting to me is how she looks rather Victorian and a bit sad.  I keep staring at this version of Madame Lutéce and she tells me secrets.  Something happened to her during World War II.  She has seen a lot of history and her school holds many secrets.  Still, she is not going to reveal what she knows right away.  I  will have to earn her trust.  It will take time.

And this leads me to my creativity prompt for the week.  Rather than deciding ahead of time what a character (written or painted or drawn--or anyone you create) has a particular personality--why not just begin and let them reveal themselves to you.  When you do this, you'll find that your subconscious mind reveals itself to you as well and you will discover things about the world you're creating that you never imagined on a conscious level.  There will be surprises.  Sometimes, those surprises will look like mistakes or wrong turns.  But friends, trust the process.  Look at those mistakes (especially those mistakes!) and ask yourself, what is the message?  What are the mistakes trying to tell me?  Where is the beauty?  What are the secrets?

And if you'd like a prompt, how about this image:  

A old wooden desk abandoned on the side of the road. 

And as always, have fun!



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