I am writing this in Spain where our internet connection has been intermittent for the last few days. We live in such a rural place that our telephone and internet are by satellite not land line and both are unpredictable. So, unable to blog, there should be no feasible distractions from the process of writing. The weather here is foul – cold and wet, yes in Andalucía! – so I hunker down in front of the fire with a book that’s been sitting on my bookshelf here for a while. I’m reading about art and artists, as on-going research for my current novel, Connectedness. Having read last summer The Yellow House by Martin Gayford, the story of Van Gogh’s stay at Arles in the South of France when he painted the Sunflowers series, I would read anything he writes.
Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud is a diary kept by Gayford as he sat for a portrait in Freud’s studio from 2003-2005. The book made headlines when published in 2010 because Freud was initially dissatisfied with the portrait. He couldn’t get the blue of the scarf right. Gayford finally admitted there were two scarves he wore alternately to the sittings, each a slightly different shade of blue.
Freud is painting a portrait. My character Justine Tree is a collagist, but that doesn’t matter. I want to get inside the artist’s head.
‘Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud’ by Martin Gayford [UK: Thames and Hudson]
If you like art, try these other books I also read as part of my research for ‘Connectedness’:-
‘Breakfast at Sotheby’s’ by Philip Hook
‘Lucky Kunst’ by Gregor Muir
‘My Life in a Column’ by Tracey Emin
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Researching #art MAN WITH A BLUE SCARF by Martin Gayford http://wp.me/p5gEM4-6X via @SandraDanby