Tatiana and Olga 2010

Tatiana and Olga  2010

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Finding peace with one's pace

It's five years since I began writing what has since  become my Brontë novel. If I knew that statement was in my future when this journey started, I would have been shocked. It would seem fantastic.  Back then being but a reader, I some how believed books were written much  like we read them. Well as it turns out  they don't just roll out before one. Even so I'm still amaze that how long this has taken, and how much more work appears to be ahead ...just this week , three new major scenes came though and were added. As I have said, my method ( or rather how it happens ) is I "see"  a scene in my mind , or hear a line of dialogue,  I then write it down.

I use to be in a twist over how long it was taking, but no more. The book is taking  what time  it needs to take and I'm enjoying every bit of the ride. I've been deeply  drawn into Brontë history, Church history, Irish history , English history ; each one of those topics take time can swallow up a researcher whole.

 It's like putting together a vast puzzle and each new piece ( scene) snapped in effects the whole. It's great fun to also link scenes together and  it's wise too because by the time a topic's resolution  happens , each scene  that alluded to that topic along the way adds to the final impact.

This is a novel, so I make some assertions that are not 100% provable. However everything in my novel is 100 % plausible . It could have happened the way I've portrayed it.They could have said what I have them say. I don't outrage the  known facts , indeed there are usually at least one or two facts that support my notion. The fun is making the known history and the timing work.

For example, when  did Arthur Bell Nicholls learned his Parson's daughter,  Charlotte Brontë was in fact a world famous author? Very late 1849 or early 1850 according to  CB's letters. Originally I had Arthur learn of it at the Brown's, when Martha herself heard of it from her father and  then she  came "puffing and blowing " to say so to Charlotte.

Oh that scene at the Browns was lovely; but it had to go. Because I learned Arthur knew of Charlotte's authorship before that and indeed had already  read CB's books by the time John Brown  heard of CB's fame in Halifax and  Martha came gasping into the parsonage  parlor with her news.

If one follows history's  time line, there are gems to be found. Nothing works like the real history, because it throws off sparks that lead to more gems.The actual history is in 3-D, while our own pondering often are not.I had Arthur find out a different way, and its better than the scene I had to omit....more logical.

Another interesting aspect of my book imo is, it's about human beings . Human beings who are sometimes noble, sometime not, however, at bottom , essentially good and usually in an emotional uproar. Characters found in books and movies today seem to be made up of super  heroes or super villains and to add some novelty; flawed super heroes or misunderstood super villains, but heroes and villains none the less...I guess it's to prepare us for the upcoming robotic age ( only slightly a joke) But I maintain humans beings, with their fuss, goodness, failings   and mess,  are more interesting than super heroes, super villains , and certainly , robots.

A few things I've learned along the way.

Don't leave your gems of insights in the comments section of blogs

They crease to be yours then. Before I realized I was writing a book, I could be found on the blogs posting away. I'll never forget the time I felt almost physically stopped from doing so by a feeling inside... so do yourself a favor and save  what you have to say for your book.

Stop talking about your book unless asked

After 5 years I really must thank the intrepid folks who keep asking how my book is going!  Bless them! People are always free to ask! My answer has always been, " Great! " and it's true. But my point is, otherwise one gives time and energy to speaking about the topic , rather than writing the book. I've stopped going to the blogs so much and next to no  social media. I just haven't the time . Things will be different once this book is done.

Realize a book requires just about all you have 

 I wrote  the following  to someone who said they wanted to write a book,but were not sure they were " good enough" of a writer.

 I said :

 Start your book right now

One doesn’t look at cake ingredients and wonder if they can make a cake. One  starts mixing and baking. Writing is ditch digging…get your shovel and start . What writing I have seen here is more than good enough…the real question is; do you want it enough?

That is the question  one must keep asking oneself...how much do you want it? It has to be a great deal.

It's curious  that when she was young, CB asked a good many people if she should write...most said no! lol. But as a successful author when Charlotte herself was asked by young people if they should write, she told them no as well. She said every discouraging thing Papa might have said if he knew what was going on in the Parsonage parlor after evening prayers.  I have Charlotte  explain that  if one has to ask such a question, the answer should be no. That is,  if one can be deterred by another person's opinion,  then the writing life is not for you. CB was slowed, but not stopped by those opinions.You have to want it ...a lot. But I must also add...it's the greatest fun.

 1913  Romanov Diary

 My friend, Helen Azar has just published her latest book of Romanov translations in her series called " In their own words". This new volume is the 1913 Tercentennial Diary of  Tsar Nicholls II third daughter, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna

Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanov 1913
                                  Available from Amazon Here 

                           I made a short video to celebrate the event   Video

  The music is by  the excellent Russian composer, Kai Engel and  the piece is  called  "When the Lights Came On "

1913 was an important year. The Romanovs were celebrating 300 years of rule and it was the last full year of peace before  WW1. I have looked at Romanov photos for 50 years. Thanks to Helen Azar's work, I can now read their thoughts. Thank you Helen!

Okay, back to work!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Back to Haworth

The Parsonage

My husband and I decided to make a return visit to Haworth this May because frankly, we missed it, but also I learned there was Brontë material in near by Leeds University....material  pertaining to Arthur Bell Nicholls, the hero of my Brontë novel . They also have some letters of Charlotte's.

It was great to see these items in person. I had tried to get photo copies made of the items, but that would be difficult as they are bound in books. Since we traveled there,  I was able to photograph the material myself.

Haworth Moor

We wanted to return to Haworth anyway, so a quick trip was planned. We had marvelous weather,  lots of moor walking, wonderful people, the village, our fabulous Haworth B and B, Wilsons  and of course the one and only, Haworth Parsonage.  It was a grand trip.

This time we learned it is now permissible to take photos inside the Parsonage. That was very exciting. Plus on display, were  costumes from the BBC production of " To Walk Invisible" They look even better in real life; beautifully made and very evocative  etc.

Sitting room 2017

I also took part in the Wuthering Heights manuscript project . Everyone is given the chance  to write a line of Emily's book and so the missing MS is made again. It was something to copy a line from Emily's book while sitting at the Parsonage!

 2017 is Branwell's year and the Parsonage made his  room/ studio  look as if he just left it for a ramble to Halifax to meet friends...or down to  the Bull. 

Branwell's Room

The job the Parsonage does in presenting the Brontë story  is remarkable. We went though the museum each day we were in Haworth and  each time we saw something we had missed before.

Brontë Novel

 My husband is now reading Barker's "The Brontës" in order to ready himself to edit the novel. Thank goodness I have an in-house editor! lol He is also helping with the typing from the many notebooks with my handwriting. Thank you, Hon!

I'm sure I have said for many posts,"  I am  now pulling the book together from the scatted scenes" ...but now I really am...and I'm sure I will say in future posts ...oh now I really , really am! Because as  one goes into this, one sees things differently. The work redoubles and one sees earlier efforts as not quite the thing...but every step is necessary, one just keeps at it as it evolves. 

Also I am currently taking the dozens and dozens of word processor documents filled with novel  scenes and putting all the ones occurring in 1845 into a document called 1845...and I do that for each year. So scatted 1850 scenes  go into the 1850 document , the 1853 scenes goes into the 1853 doc... etc and so on for each year. Once that's done, I will pull it together year by year, like pearls on a sting  .That is how it's to be done . Use the time line that  history has given you.

 I say to people it takes so long because I'm not simply writing it, I'm living it.  I'm not a professional writer. It has to come from  my emotions and frankly, the gut; that takes awhile.

On top of that is the research....the grist for the mill!It's amazing how a piece of information can alters things. Plus new  scenes continue to come in, voices within the Brontë world, but  rarely heard, speak up

 My aim is to illustrate the known history with dialog etc. Now, I do purpose certain  interpretations of the facts at times, but that's different than changing history. Anything I go on a limb about is supported  by at least  a fact or two, if not more. The fun is to  fit the Brontë facts as I write, rather than make the facts fit my ideas. The book is for Brontë fans by a Brontë fan. What fun is it if its made up Brontë history? Believe me, in generally  history is better than our fiction  lol. 


An abundant shower of Arthurs .... 

Since posting last I learned there will be two Arthur Bell Nicholls centered novels upcoming  this fall ...eeekkk! One from ABN's  view point, (as mine is ) the other from another person's view. That put me in a sweat. Here I have been writing my ABN  novel since late 2012, and  with more time needed!

 Well, it was too good an aspect of Brontë history to remain unnoticed forever. Most Brontë authors concentrate on M. Héger, like bees to honey. Yes, there is " Romancing Miss Brontë"  from 2010. A well written book, particularly the difficult part of CBN's illness and death. But the it seemed really about Charlotte to me.

 I read on line the first chapter of one of the upcoming publications and was quite revealed to see  the treatment and voice is different than my Arthur novel. 

So now  I say,  the more the merrier! ... as I work on

I've always loved Arthur and taken his part all these years. I think Rev. Nicholls  much maligned and undervalued by history....but it seems, no more! 

Other wise I will  be working on two videos , long in production , plus working daily
on the novel of course.

The writing wasn't / isn't hard...the organizing is.

Okay! Back to work!

Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Morgan Brontë banner

 When my husband and I visited NYC to see the Morgan Library's wonderful Charlotte Brontë exhibit ,( which we did a number of times)  I would always look up  longingly at the show's beautiful street banners hung up and down Madison Ave.

Now I have one!

My husband remembered that after a show closes, the Morgan offers its street banners for sale and  he got me one! It looked smaller while hanging high above the pavement! It's 7 feet of fabulousness , now hanging in my home. It makes saying goodbye to this once in a life time exhibit  a bit easier.  I feel I grasped a few feathers from the fire bird so to speak. The show is not entirely gone

Yup, I'm a lifetime member....since 1978 

Other interesting news, I found my Brontë Society life time member card! I thought it had long ago disappeared ...but a bit of cleaning  and there it was, tucked away into that " some place safe " we put important items... A place  so safe, we often forget where it is ourselves!  It says I was a life time member since Jan 1978, however I was a fan long before that.

Though they kindly looked a couple of years ago as my request, The Brontë Society couldn't find a record of my membership ...really glad I found the proof on this end. It's great to have it back. At that time, the card  was made up as a little book, such as the young Brontës would make. Adorable

Brontë Society Transactions

BST over the years

While writing  and  researching my novel, I love to collect  old Brontë Society Transactions...the booklet the Society publishes ever year with news, new historical findings and focus pieces . It's remarkable what you find. The old ones aren't that costly and are available on eBay or Amazon. Often the articles from BST will be referenced in a book. It's great to see the original article. 

 Contemporary reviews

Lately I have been reading the original reviews of the Brontë sisters books as published in contemporary periodicals . Reviews were very different then. They were long, think pieces and not every book got one. Indeed, instead of bringing  a book to success, a review would come about after the book found favor on its own. Getting one review would be an achievement. This is why when Charlotte told her father, Patrick, her book was printed and had a number of reviews, he was impressed. 

Because reviews were often penned after a book made its own way, the whole plot is often shown. They didn't know the meaning of "spoiler  alert!"  A review was a comment on what you have likely read already.

They are eye openers...particularly those found in  "The Christian Remembrancer" by Ann MozleyHer anonymous reviews seemed to be the ones that stung Charlotte the most.  She actually wrote a letter in response to one.  She had tried to do that before, but her  publisher advised against it. This time Charlotte didn't ask them, she just let fly. Her letter  was written  in July 1853; a low time for Charlotte. Mr. Nicholls had finally left Haworth, and while the situation between Arthur Bell Nicholls and her father was stressful and irksome , having a love sick, would be suitor was  at least some support....now " he's  gone-gone..." as she wrote to Ellen.   

Charlotte's answer to Miss Mozley's  harsh review of " Villette " in a way  trail blazes  the  path  Mrs. Gaskell would later take. In that CB paints herself as a piteous figure( the sole survivor of a family of six). This was how a romantic writer, more suited to the early 19th century,  tries  to make herself understood by mid century Victorians and Mrs. Gaskell would expand upon it

Okay! Back to work!

Tatiana Romanov

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Charlotte Brontë exhibit at the Morgan

In honor of Charlotte Brontë 's 200th birthday , The Morgan Library in New York is having, what can only be called an historic exhibit.  On display , for the first time in American, are both the George Richmond 1850 portrait of Charlotte and the famous" column"  portrait of the three  sister by their brother Branwell.

I  never expected they would leave the UK. Branwell's  portrait of his  three sisters is usually always on display at the National Portrait Galley in London. But because it is subject to fading, the 1850  chalk  portrait of CB  Richmond is not normally on display even in the UK...but here it is in New York!  

Charlotte Brontë by George Richmond 1850

This is the actual picture that hung in the Parsonage from 1850- 61 and then spent 40 years in the Irish  home of Charlotte's husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls. This is the portrait  he asked to have brought up to his bedroom as he laid dying in 1906. It was there as he spoke his last words." Charlotte, Charlotte" over fifty years after her own passing

Arthur Bell Nicholls bequeathed this precious portrait  to the nation  and it has been at the National Portrait Galley since...now until Jan 2nd 2017, it hangs  in New York 

Also in Arthur's home, but unbeknownst to anyone until years after his passing, was the column portrait. Today we have seen these images so many times, it's hard to imagine at time when they were unknown or not housed in museums.

Branwell's column painting of his sisters

The column (so nicknamed because Branwell's ghostly , painted out figure makes a column) was  found folded up on top of a wardrobe. ABN's 2nd wife, Mary Anna , who resided in the home for 40 years as well. She  had never seen it before and did not know of it. It's interesting to ponder on the very  different treatment these two pictures received. I rather think Arthur found the painting of the three teenage Brontë girls painful, knowing their fates, and this is why it was folded away and nearly  forgotten.

The Richmond however shows CB with a happy expression ...it is amazing to see in person. It's unlike any of the dozens of its prints  I have seen in books, postcards  and such. I can understand Arthur's love for it . Charlotte's lovableness is there 

But these two pictures are just the beginning of this marvelous exhibit. Also on display is the manuscript of " Jane Eyre" , from the British Museum,  one of Charlotte's dresses from Haworth Parsonage...actually I simply should just post a list, because it's rather stunning  how much  there is for the Brontë   fan to feast upon.  I was asked to give my impressions of the show, but really it was too overwhelming for me to do so in a sensible manner! 

The Morgan has  its own  impressive collection of Brontë documents ....well let me just post the list. It is not complete  

Branwell's column painting of his sisters

The CB 1850  Richmond portrait

Both in the USA for the first time 

CB 's 1850 London dress/ little blue flower print
close up of CB's dress
CB's boots
a 1856 copy of CB's birth registry

Patrick's copy of of the certificate of registry for CB's marriage
( these are church copies of the documents in their records)

CB and ABN's Marriage license

CBN's will

Letters from CB to William S. William about the passing
of Branwell and Anne's decline

An copy book from Charlotte's Brussels school days

The famous water color portrait of Anne in profile done by CB

The Misses Brontë 's Establishment handout

Funeral cards for Branwell, Emily and Charlotte

A copy Partick Brontë 's cottage poems

A copy of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell  book of  poems
Father and daughter publications

CB's handwritten manuscript of " Jane Eyre"

CB's handwritten manuscript of " The Professor"

CB's earliest known production...1829 " book for Ann"

A manuscript of Anne's poetry

A manuscript of Emily poetry

A story in Branwell's hand

Oldest photo of the Parsonage

CB's Roe Head diary

CB's 1829  list of " what I written so far" "
Tales of the Islanders" etc.

CB's Writing desk
Charlotte Brontë 's writing desk

CB's Paint box

Mary Taylor's personal copy of Jane Eyre, CB sent
to New Zealand and Mary's letter to CB about it

Contemporary published editions of all the sister's books

sermon notes of PB from 1811 based on Mathew 3:11

A good many drawings

little men magazines

CB's Atlas

Photo of Arthur Bell Nicholls

Photo of Rev Brontë

Rev Brontë 's copy of the book of Common Prayer

One of Patrick 's letters where he sent snippets of CB 's
hand writing upon request

We will not see such a collection in one place  perhaps until Charlotte's 300th birthday!

 The exhibit is open until Jan 2nd 2017.  Don't miss it !

Brontë Novel Update

This Dec will be four years since I felt the call to begin my Brontë novel. I have been writing it continually since. I believe my hope was eventually the scenes  would eventually  meet up to create the book! But that's not how it goes. You have to create a whole from the parts and they are different entities altogether. I'm learning all this on the job. Right now I am putting everything I have written in chronological order.

 Scenes still  come in almost daily  and I write them down. I always put a year and a title to whatever thought comes though...otherwise even I would have a difficult time always  placing the scene in its proper  place within the Bronte story!

When I take the " just plunge in "  approach to such an endeavor I tend  to not think too much about the process . It seems like trying to capture a butterfly by chasing it . Wiser to stay still and observe as it lands on one's sleeve. Eventually, however,  you must deal with  the process , but by then one has something to work with. Now I can sense the book is ready to be shaped and I'm looking forward to pulling these scenes together into one piece.

 In my  exploration of both painting and writing, projects advance when the task becomes  fun, and not a job I should do. When it's fun, you have an energy that is absent from a chore . Every chick must leave its shell, but only when ready

I periodically reread Charlotte' s major letters and I find the practice  invaluable. They haven't changed over time , but one's perceptive does...and I have learned to really read again items I have read many times over the years ...we tend to think we know the contents and glace them over it.  In this way gems are missed. Some of CB's letters one must study word for word. She says everything, but often it's hidden in an understament.   


I'm not painting at the moment since I want to get this book in shape. However I did paint a pretend  transom for over our front door( the original was covered over! ) and will post a photo when it is installed. I decided to make it as real as possible. I hope it will fool the eye for at least a few  moments !

I do plan to paint other Romanov pictures in the future , but it's full stream Bronte novel right  now 

Okay, back to work!


Friday, February 12, 2016

Moor meetings and talks

Brontë Novel

There are many aspects of the Charlotte / Arthur story that seem tailor made for the novelist . One of the greatest is their secret meetings on the moor. If it didn't happen, I would have to invent it But it did!

It must of given Charlotte a thrill. Heretofore  such a meeting was an event found only in her  wild youthful  writings or mature novels.  Arthur Bell Nicholls was not the dashing and dangerous   Duke of Zamorna , the dark hero of Charlotte's juvenile  writings (  a great understatement! )  but Arthur Bell Nicholls  was REAL, perhaps disconcertingly so,  and  he adored her ...that has a charm all its own particularly at this lonely time in Charlotte's  life.

I have so many moor conversations  between them,   that I must carefully weave them  all together in terms of drawing the two  people slowly together. Charlotte and Arthur  both witnessed the same  things at the Parsonage over  the 8 years Arthur was there before declaring himself. But these events were seen  from  their very different view points  Their perspectives need to be expressed and exchanged. They have a lot to talk about and in doing so they  inform the reader.

 In fact I have a number of different  versions of the  same conversations. It's interesting to see the same idea in different words  Now  I have decide which of these conversations best convey the given  idea  and WHERE  to put  what  in the 18 months  of courtship . It also means splicing/ blending  different conversations together.

My on going research is often chagrining things too , which require rewriting scenes  . I believe one of the reasons Charlotte told her father about her proceedings when she did  was so she and Arthur  get out of the cold! lol

It's Ellen

Ellen Nussey
About 30 years ago a photo was discovered that many believed was of Charlotte Brontë in profile. ( seen here on the left) I've been on the fence about it for some time. It did seem like Ellen Nussey...yet  the nose did not seem the same  to me. ( as you can see here between the two photos ) But  I felt one day something indisputable would come  my attention  to help me decide  either way  and it has . Its the hair ..the ringlet .

 When I saw the first photo, said to be CB , it was so dark, I could not see the  ringlet  in the ear area.  It looked like the hair in the Richmond portrait.  Much later  I saw a lighter print and there was a complex ringlet. That didn't seem some thing Charlotte would have . I recently saw a good many photos of Ellen Nussey over the years and that ringlet is in them all. She only turns to a bun in old age. The hair tells me  the photo purported to be Charlotte  is sadly , of Ellen. We are still without a photo of Charlotte Brontë

Looking at writing from the inside out

Reading is a  very different  experience since I have been writing for three years now. It's like looking at writing from the inside out . Like the words are superimposed  on glass and I see them from behind is the best way to explain it . One sees the under pinning

E. M.  Delafield

The Brontes, their lives recorded by their contemporaries

E. M.  Delafield was an author best known for her book, Diary of a Provincial Lady. I found she compiled a book about the Brontes in 1935  that  grouped  referances by subject. It's interesting to see the material grouped together in this  manner

 She also wrote a enjoyable book called " Ladies and Gentlemen in Victorian Fiction"

An over view of Victorian fiction . Her introduction  begins 

The lover of the Victorian novel is not made, but born and not always in the Victoria era"

How true! I find this book a great help in writing my own " Victorian" novel  I gain a great deal by looking at Brontë books of  the past . There is a feast of them

And now for something silly;

 Baseball cards for Team Brontë

I found a web site that will allow one to make baseball cards from photos . Wouldn't it be fun to make Brontë baseball cards? So I did, with nicknames too!

They will be bigger if you open a new window for them

Trade 'em , collect 'em! lol

It's been so chilly in my studio, I haven't been painting , but hope to soon! 

okay, back to work!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Hill House, now Charlotte's Way B and B
My husband and I are back from  our journey to Banagher, Ireland .We made a quick, highly focused trip,spending  the entire 5 days of our Irish stay  at Arthur Bell Nicholls former home, Hill House, now a beautiful B and B called Charlotte's Way 

Mr. Nicholls in Banagher 1904

same spot today

We are still pinching ourselves from this grand experience

 I did a guess post about our trip for my friend Geri at Bronte Sisters blog . Here is a link

Our Trip to Banagher

As I say in the post , we were obviously American and some people wondered  why we were there...a farming community in the Irish Midlands. We said we were  Bronte fans and were visiting Charlotte Bronte's   husband's  home and his grave...and you know , a few people still wondered why we were there LOL.  But the area has a great deal to offer!

Then people  asked "  well where else are you going in Ireland ?"  We said we are staying here during our trip. We were there to be in  Banagher.   However our hostess did  hook us up one afternoon with  the local historian , Mr. James Scully. He  kindly took us to Clonmacnoise , a monastery established fifteen hundred years ago, by St. Ciarán  


My husband Ed did a blog post about our visit on his Art blog
 Art Eyewitness. Here's a link to  his post

A Journey to Clonmacnoise

It was almost overwhelming.  You really feel you have been to Ireland after being at Clonmacnoise. Plus it was a privilege to have Mr. Scully accompany us.  His passion for the area's history  and well being was evident. 

We loved every minute of being in Banagher. Loved the town , the people , the house, the inn keeper,  the church, the turf fires,  the list goes on and on . Just like with Haworth last year,  we feel  a bit of  ourselves was left behind in  Banagher .

Ed and I loved sitting in front of the turf fire and just be in the house  where Arthur, Mary Anna and Aunt Bell lived for so long and a treasure trove of Bronte items resided.  The house  has been beautifully restored by owner  Nicola Daly  and her amazing family. Even  without its rich history,   the house is a marvelous place for the traveler  to stay.


It's great to be able to scratch off the " someday " list ,  going to Haworth and Banagher .
We will never forget our trips to these special places  and hope to return !

Alan H. Adamson 1919-2015

I was surprized and saddened to recently learn of Prof. Alan Adamson's passing.  Mr. Adamson was a relative of Arthur Bell Nicholls and the author of the 2008  book, " Mr. Charlotte Bronte"

There is a photo in the book of him  and he looks to be a man in his 50's . I thought that was a fairly  recent photo. There is no date given. But the fact he and his  small son were in a door way of Cuba Court, should have told me that photo was taken many years ago. The Adamsons live long! He was in his mid 90's and by all accounts a very wonderful man.

Aunt Bell was born an  Adamson and she lived to be 101. Alan H. Adamson is a descendant of Aunt Bell via her  2nd daughter, Harriet Lucina ( 1834 -1911.) Harriet married an Adamson cousin and that is how Aunt Bell's maiden  name was carried down the family.

It's interesting to learn how Aunt Bell's children went around the globe, just as  Canada, South Africa and India. So her adopted son,  Arthur,  thinking of going to Australia wasn't an unusual notion in the family.

Bronte Novel

I have been struggling with organizing  the mountain of book material I have written and then I had an idea ;  get  all the notes books in one place. I got a laundry basket and dug out the nests and piles of filled note books from all over the house. There are still some out there to dig up

I should have done this a long time ago

If the flow of words stopped today, I would have more than enough material to publish...but the writing keeps coming !

 It seems to help to have most of them in one place. Much has been typed into the computer already , but vasts amounts remain to do.  I will  pick up a note book and type its contents  into the computer , then place the typed in note books into  another basket. This way I will know everything has been incorporated  .

I certainly have not written the story  in chronological order! I  can jump from 1845 to 1895  and back to 1855 in a flash and every where else in between. That is why I title all my entries when I write . So I know what is it about later

Some entry  titles  found in a typical note book

CB and G.Smith in Scotland,Sowden's advice ,Honeymoon,On the moor,Joe Taylor'54 ,CB about her writing, Whit-sum '53 , Waterfall Nov54, The Brown's house,livings offered '53, The sin of pride, Martha ill in Leeds '55, Reading Mrs.G's book ,How PB came to Haworth ,Miss Anne goes to Scarborough

....and lots , lots more!

Okay! back to work!

Tatiana Romanova 1916

Monday, August 31, 2015

Rev. Arthur Bell Nicholls

Rev Arthur Bell Nicholls 2015

Mr. Nicholls

My first Bronte related painting is completed!  It's a 9x12 portrait of Charlotte's husband, the   Rev Arthur Bell Nicholls .I used a photo from Rev Nicholls middle  years.

I painted Mr. Nicholls before the other Bronte subjects  for a special reason. Arthur's Irish home in Banagher ,called Hill House in his time,  is now a B and B  called Charlotte's Way . My husband and I will be traveling to Ireland to stay at Charlotte Way  this fall .

It's exciting to think of spending time in Arthur's  home and at the site of the first Bronte museum for Arthur filled Hill  House with relics of the Brontes and his Yorkshire life. The Parsonage's  hall clock boomed in Banagher  for 40 years before returning to Haworth . We have many Bronte items  today because Mr. Nicholls  held on to them . He was called possessive. As a Bronte fan I'm glad he was! Arthur  understood the  importance of the Bronte  items, few better; but he wished to keep them for himself while he lived.  Given all he lost when Charlotte passed ,  I can't begrudge him the first 40 years of what we will have for all time thanks to him

The painting is a gift for the owner who is doing much to keep the local Bronte connection bright as well as  local  fame  thanks to Anthony Trollop.  His first post office job was in Banagher

This story is a good illustration of how I work.  The idea and inspiration  for a painting   comes in a flash. I never know when this sort of inspiration will strike. Usually I " see"  the painting  in my mind  and then it become an itch I have to scratch so to speak and I paint the vision

The photo I based the painting on

When we return from Ireland, I will plunge into painting  Papa and Charlotte and another one of Arthur set at the time of his and Charlotte's marriage. The Bronte  have waited for some time
for their pictures!!

Mr. Nicholls did not write poetry,  but he was known for enjoying it and reciting  it with his fine voice  for friends . George Sowden, younger brother of Arthur's great friend, Sutcliffe Sowden recalled

On one occasion, he ( Arthur)  repeated by heart,  from the beginning to end , and without a single mistake or a moment's hesitation, Tennyson's long and exquisite poem "The May Queen" With the charming Irish pathos which he threw into it,it was delightful to hear"

As Charlotte said  of Arthur, he was  " one who has to be known to be appreciated"
George Sowden also recalled Arthur's humor. He certainly showed this attribute as one of the few who relished Charlotte's  curates in " Shirley"  . Mrs Brown , his landlady , though Arthur had"  gone off his head " he was laughing so hard. Turns out he  was reading about the curates.

 George Sowden called Arthur's humor "Irish"  and perhaps that is why he roared over the curates and the English people in Charlotte's life ( CB's  publishers and Mrs. Gaskill ) thought them tasteless and even " course"   ...One had to be Irish to get it

Among the  ecclesiastical quotes, poetry also filled Arthur's common day book as well    One of the  poems he wrote down  was "  The Echo"   A  very popular piece though much of the 19th century . 

It's always interesting to see what poetry speaks to an individual . Given Arthur;'s great grief when he lost Charlotte, this poem is particularly poignant


  I stood on the bank of a swift flowing river
 While I marked its clear current roll rapidly past
It seemed to my fancy forever repealing
That the dearest enjoyments of life could not last

Oh!  tell me I said rapid stream of the valley
That bears in thy course the blue waters away
Can the joys of life's morning awake but to vanish
Can the feelings of love be all doomed to decay
And Echo repeated -----"All doomed to decay "

Flow on in thy course rapid stream of the valley
Since the pleasures of life we so quickly resign
My heart shall rejoice in the wild scenes of Nature
 And friendship's delights while they yet may mine
Must all the sweet charms of mortality perish
And friendship's endearments ah will they not stay

The simple enchantments of soft blooming Nature
And the pleasures of mind must they too
fade away
And Echo slow answered --------"They too fade away "

Then where I exclaimed is there hope for mourner
 A balm for his sorrow a smile for his grief
If beautiful scenes like the present shall vanish
 Where where shall we seek for a certain relief

Oh!  fly said my soul to the feet of thy Savior
Believe in his mercy for pardon now pray
 In him there is fullness of joy and salvation
Thy gladness shall live and shall never decay
 And Echo said sweetly "  ------------Shall never decay"

The poems he choose to record seem to always end in redemption and faith...fitting for a clergyman

What was old is new again

I recent ran into  some old diaries of mine from the last 1970's . Turns out I mixed Romanovs and Brontes back then too!

Back in the day

 It's interesting to see the seeds of my work today. I did little original art work then . I used photocopies to make collages

Bronte Novel  Update

I have been writing my Bronte novel non stop since Dec 2012 and yet I feel I'm just starting to really write now ! Perhaps one has to build writing musels  lol. I know in any applied art,  an apprenticeship is necessary. One can plunge into a new  act of creation  as I did,   zen like ( as in ; just do it )  but  you cannot avoid the work ...and as always, that's not a complaint! A shape to the novel is finally emerging and I'm still filling note book after note book. Back to School sales are a boon to me! I stock up on  the composition books on sale!

Recently I was looking at Wildfield and Wurthing Heights again ...if one wants to  truly visit with the Brontes , read their works! One get such a flash into the Bronte brain there. The time between we and they  vanishes! It's also hugely useful to see what words they used. And the HUMOR found in all Bronte novels is largely over looked, but some passes are hilarious . 

Okay! Back to work!

The Romanov children 1915