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A Good Read - The Painted Girls

 
Featured Book:

The Painted Girls


by Cathy Marie Buchanan


  The Painted Girls: A Novel by Cathy Marie Buchanan is a fictional study of the underbelly of Parisian society in the early 1880’s. Drawing inspiration from Edgar Degas’ famous statue, Little Dancer of Fourteen Years (1881), the author creates an intimate portrait of three lower-class sisters seeking salvation from a life as laundresses by attempting to work their way through the hierarchy of the Paris Opera's newly famous ballet school.


   All knobbly knees and jutted out chin, the real life Degas statuette’s depiction of a young ballerina is given a tender background in this novel. Growing up at a time when even the very shape of your skull could send you to prison for showing aspects of criminal physiognomy, fictional heroine Marie van Goethem is given more chances than most to rise out of destitution. As “petits rats" (literally, little rats, describing the lowest level of young dancers who flock to the Opera to try their chances at fame and fortune), Marie and her sisters, Antoinette and Charlotte, are afforded the opportunity (to varying degrees of success) not only to try to make a living by dancing, but also to try to fill their pockets with gifts and gain the affections of the venue's wealthy and frequently lecherous male patrons. Hand-picked by Edgar Degas to become his model and muse, Marie comes to understand too late that she is chosen not for her beauty and grace but for her poverty-stricken awkwardness.

   This novel incorporates important and historically accurate themes from 1880's Paris society, including an intriguing murder mystery and references to the incendiary book turned play, L'Assommoir , by Emile Zola, and its message of social immobility. Set in a time period when Baron Haussmann's beautiful wide boulevards were just completed, razing through the old streets of Paris, the opulence and luxury of the new city and its new Opera is in stark contrast to the every day lives of struggling Parisians like the van Goethem family. Appearances by the famous art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, Zola and Degas, mixed with actual newspaper clippings from Le Figaro during this period, lend credence to the book's historically-based plot while still providing an entertaining fictional story that keeps the reader turning pages.

Little Dancer of Fourteen Years Sculpture by Degas
La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans     Edgar Degas

Photograph of Sara Trucksess


Sara Trucksess is former curatorial and registration assistant employed over the years by The Corcoran Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Art and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. With a degree in Art History and French from Harvard University, she now calls Kansas City home with her husband and 3 young sons.

 

 



Copyright Hulsey Trusty Designs, L.L.C. (except where noted). All rights reserved.
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A Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes

Nocturnes - A Primer on Night Painting

Filled with inspirational examples by the masters of nightime painting, this little book is sure to fire up your creative energies. Never tried painting at night? We show you how it's done with a step-by-step-oil demo and a tale of night painting in the wilds of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes is a 7 x 7" PDF download with 40 pages of text and images. It includes a gallery of paintings by masters of the nocturne, information to inspire and encourage you in your plein air nocturne painting, an illustrated step-by-step demo and tips for working in pastel and oil. Also available in a softcover edition. Check out the tools and other products that we use in our own art and travels in The Artist's Road Store. We only offer things for sale that we enthusiastically believe in.

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About Us

Photograph of John Hulsey and Ann Trusty in Glacier National Park
We are artists, authors and teachers with over 40 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. We created The Artist's Road in order to share our knowledge and experiences with you, and create a community of like-minded individuals.  You can learn more about us and see our original paintings by clicking on the links below.
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We are also regular contributors to the Plein Air blog at Artist Daily.

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