From Child Scribbler to Global Success: Art Inspiration in ‘Connectedness’ @SandraDanby

Connectedness is the story of Justine Tree, a globally successful artist who goes in search of the daughter she gave away when she was an art student. To get an idea of Justine’s success think Tracey Emin, Paula Rego, Tacita Dean, Phyllida Barlow. Key to Justine’s story is the risk she takes in searching for her lost daughter. She has built her career, her public image, her reputation, on baring her emotions for the world to see, of searching the depths of her soul and putting it into her art. Except she has been hiding a large secret for twenty-seven years.

In order to understand the adult Justine, I had to know how she started out as an artist. So I set her childhood in a location I know well, the East Yorkshire coastline where I also grew up. There are two key influences at this stage of her life.

The first, Pablo Picasso, is mentioned by her father when her attempt to draw a pigeon is proving a challenge:

The woodie was getting restless in his box in front of the Rayburn. He could move his wing and her mother was making noises about him being shifted from the kitchen to the shed. Justine wanted him to get well and fly again, but she wanted to keep him too. So far she had thirty-three sketches of him. On Saturday the touring library van arrived, and she quickly found a book about Pablo Picasso. She flicked through the illustrations and found one of a dove, but it was not what she expected. It was a black line drawing on a white background. Pigeons weren’t white. Davy Jones was mostly grey with a pink breast and two white patches where his collarbones would be, if birds had collarbones. Justine made a mental note to ask her father.

She closed the book with a bang.

‘Are you all right, dear?’ The lady who drove the library van was sitting at the tiny desk where she kept the wooden box in which were stored everyone’s library cards. They were little envelopes, really – blue for children, red for adults – into which the library lady slipped the ticket for each book borrowed. When you returned the book, the ticket was put back into the book, which was returned to the shelf.

‘Are you searching for something in particular?’

Justine was standing beside the adult section of the bookshelf, out of bounds to children.

‘I’m trying to find out about Picasso because my dad said he drew a pigeon and I’ve got a pigeon. Davy Jones.’ She waited for a reaction.

‘Davy Jones,’ she said again, ‘like the Monkee. The English one.’

There was no sign of recognition on the library lady’s face.

She started to sing ‘Hey Hey We’re the Monkees’, including some dance moves popular in the playground. The library lady did not smile. Justine stopped dancing.

‘He’s not a pet, he’s wild. But he’s injured and I’m trying to make him better. But,’ she held up the Picasso book, ‘this isn’t a drawing of a pigeon. It’s white.’

Maybe Picasso didn’t draw a pigeon after all, or maybe it wasn’t Picasso who drew it but another artist altogether. But her father was always right. He knew everything about birds: where swallows went in the winter; why owls sicked-up their poo; why a woodpecker’s beak didn’t break with all that hammering.

‘Well now, let’s have a look.’

They both leant over the page, studying the illustration.

‘Yes, I see what you mean. This is actually a print, a lithograph. The title is French for dove; it’s called ‘La Colombe’. Picasso made it in 1949 when he drew another very famous dove picture, ‘La Paloma’, which is also sometimes called ‘The Dove of Peace’. I know it’s confusing; two pictures of doves, made in the same year, one title in French and one in Spanish. But, you see, although he was born in Spain Picasso has lived in France for many years.’

The second influence on the young Justine is a real place, the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull. Justine visits on a school trip and is disappointed with the absence of Picasso works hanging on the walls. When she finds a picture of a tiger, it makes her reconsider what she is looking at:-

Justine trailed from room to room without a glance at her questionnaire or her study partner Susan Pratt. Painting after painting, wall after wall, room by room, it all seemed the same to her. Just like those sea paintings in the library at Brid. Dark brown and grey. Ships tossing on the sea. Fishermen pulling in nets. Mariners shipwrecked. And then she turned a corner into another room. It was empty of people; just four paintings but dominated by the largest. At first it made her think of a tiger, with a large eye, and green-striped fur. Then she thought it was a paper cut-out of a tiger, laid flat, like the dresses you could cut out of Twinkle magazine with tabs to attach to the body of the paper girl. Then she wasn’t sure at all what the painting was of, except that it definitely wasn’t a shipwreck. She read the small plaque on the wall. It read: ‘The Archer by Eileen Agar, 1967.’ That was all.

I was seven when this was painted.

She took three paces backwards and, with her arms folded and fingers neatly tucked in, studied the painting. Then with her sketch pad and best HB pencil, specially sharpened last night, she sat on the polished floor opposite the painting, her back leaning against the wall. She thought there was probably a rule saying ‘no sitting on floors’ but had purposely avoided reading any signs so, if caught, she could honestly say she didn’t know it wasn’t allowed.

‘The Archer’ had two outlines, one inside the other, which she drew. Each had shapes that were a bit like legs, a head, a mane. The outer shape was solid black and was the shape she imagined an animal skin would be if it was cut off the animal and laid out flat like a rug. What a disgusting thought. Surely that couldn’t be right. She concentrated on the inner shape. She sketched in the green tiger-patterned parts, though now she wondered if it was meant to be grass. At the top left, where the animal’s eye should be, there was a daisy.

She stopped and examined what she had done.

That’s not right.

She tore the page out of the pad, folded it into two once, again, and again, and then slotted it in at the back.

This time, she decided to really study the painting. To wait before drawing anything. To see what she could see.

She could see a tiger.

 

About ‘Connectedness’

TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALSO HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING

Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.

A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.

 

About the ‘Identity Detective’ series

Rose Haldane reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz.

 

Author Bio

Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, Ignoring Gravity and Connectedness, Sandra is not adopted.

 

Author Links

Ignoring Gravity and Connectedness at Amazon

Author website

Twitter @SandraDanby

Facebook

Goodreads

Pinterest

 

Photos [all © Sandra Danby unless otherwise stated]:

Book cover: Connectedness
by Sandra Danby

Photo: Sandra Danby, author
(c) Sandra Danby

Photo: Ferens Art Gallery
(c) Sandra Danby

Picture: Ceramic fragment of brick decorated with the face of a woman, Pablo Picasso, 1962 – Musée National Picasso – Paris
(c) Sandra Danby

Photo: “Three Doves” by Pablo Picasso, 1960
(c) Sandra Danby

 

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The Halley Branch is Released Today!

Dear friends and readers,
Please take a closer look at this wonderful author’s new book.

Trent's World (the Blog)

The-Halley-Branch-Front-600An evil 300 years in the making.  A trap set 150 years in the past….

Yes, today is the day!  It is here!  I wrote, and posted, the first chapter of The Halley Branch just a little under 3 years ago (about 20 days short!).  And now it is here!

Order Here (or go to Amazon and search “The Halley Branch”):

View original post 289 more words

Recently published: Manual for a Murder by Goncalo J. Nunes Dias

Cover: Manual for a Murder
by Goncalo J. Nunes Dias

 

Synopsis (by Amazon)

Marina, a 38-year-old accountant in a crumbling relationship, falls in love with a charming colleague who is married with a son. The two begin a torrid relationship. One commits a murder.

Oscar, a homicide detective, is assigned to the case. He is a man dedicated to his work and to his family, and he likes to joke about and mock the typical American police series.

 

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F 3VXTHL

https://www.kobo.com/es/en/ebo ok/manual-for-a-murder

https://www.goodreads.com/book /show/40662434

 

Genre(s): Suspense
Series: n.a.
Length: 122 pages
Release date: 2018-06-24

Excerpt:

“You know, Marina, I have worked in this profession for a long time, and I know that sometimes we think that the only solution is for someone to disappear, a mere accident, a murder, and, even though we know this idea is stupid and crazy, we are unable to see anything beyond that. It’s just like insects with light. On a summer’s night, we can watch these insects drawn to the light again and again. The insects know it will lead them nowhere – in fact, they can even get burnt and die – but it’s their nature. I think it’s called phototaxis, the internal substance that makes them attracted to the light. But I’m not sure; I’m no expert on animal fauna. But the point is that we humans also become obsessed when we cannot find a solution. We find ourselves in the deepest darkness, and when we see a light, even though we know that this light is a mirage, an illusion that will only harm us, we cannot stop thinking about it, and no matter how hard we try to forget about it, we cannot put it out of our minds; it keeps on coming back until we let it become the focus of actions. It was the light that blinded you, Ms Fonseca. And however much you thought you had committed the perfect crime, you did not. That is why you are here today.”

 

About the author

Gonçalo JN Dias was born in Lisbon in 1977, and graduated in Environmental Engineering and Natural Resources of the Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco. He lives today in the Basque Country, Spain.

The Good Dictator I, was his first novel. It became the most downloaded book in Portuguese last April, on Amazon, and it has now a good English translation.

Before writing the second part of the Good Dictator, he’s now writing a crime fiction

Besides writing he is a fan of birdwatching, cork trees, movies and running.

Connect with the author

Website:  http://gjnd-books.blogspot.com/
Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/goncalojnunesdias
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/GoncaloJNDias

 

Additional information

Translator:  Timothy Came

Original title:  Manual de um Homicídio

Synopsis in Portuguese:

Marina, uma mulher de 38 anos com um relacionamento desgastado, apaixona-se por um colega de trabalho, casado e com um filho. Os dois têm uma relação tórrida. Um deles comete um assassinato.

Oscar, um polícia de homicídios, é encarregue do caso. É um homem dedicado ao seu trabalho e à sua família, que goza e brinca com as típicas series policiais norte-americanas.


Dear friends and readers,
As I did not read this book (yet), please consider this an introduction.
Peace, coffee, and a cheesecake. 🍀

 

Upcoming book release: The Sentinel’s Reign (Silent Sea Chronicles, #2) by Suzanne Rogerson

The Sentinel’s Reign – Silent Sea Chronicles Book 2

Cover: The Sentinel’s Reign
(Silent Sea Chronicles, #2)
by Suzanne Rogerson

 

>>> Release date 29th June 2018 <<<

99p for a short time only

To Buy Link

Add to Goodreads bookshelf

 

Blurb

The new Sentinel’s reign is doomed to failure unless Tei can prevent the Kalayan people from plunging into war.

With the new Sentinel initiated and the magic restored on Kalaya, life is flourishing for Tei and the exiles. But Rathnor’s plans for war soon escalate and thwart any chance of peace.

Brogan’s position on the Assembly is uncertain as rumours circulate that he is an exile spy.

After an attempt on his life, Farrell is more determined than ever to build a home for his people on Stone Haven. But the council have their sights set on Kalaya and Farrell struggles to steer them from war.

As trouble brews within and outside forces gather against them, can the exiles keep their hold on the magic, or will this spell the end of Kalaya and its people?

The Sentinel’s Reign is a heroic fantasy. If you like character-driven adventures then you will love The Sentinel’s Reign.

This is the second book in the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy and follows on from The Lost Sentinel.

Publicity – ebook and paperback

Author Bio

Photo: Suzanne Rogerson, author

 

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

Social Media links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon Author page

Chapter One Excerpt

The wind whipped at Tei’s cloak. She gathered it around her body and held it close, but the feel of her father’s magic was gone. All the magic had gone.

She opened her spirit to the island and felt the stark emptiness surrounding her. She turned and scanned the horizon in every direction. Nothing but dust and broken mountains stretched into the distance. Her soul ached to connect with another living being, but there was no one. Kalaya was a dead husk – a barren, dust-covered shell.

She screamed, her voice echoing in the nothingness. She looked down at herself; her boots were worn to scraps, her hands were thin and frail, the cloak threadbare and faded. Her body was wasting away but, despite her emaciated state, she knew death would be a long time coming.

Something on the ground caught her attention. Her dragging footprints covered the earth in every direction, criss-crossing the terrain in her never ceasing search for life…

Tei sat up in bed and glanced at the familiar interior of her dorm room. Her only dress lay discarded on the floor and her father’s cloak hung from a hook on the wall, still as pristine as the day he’d given it to her. Her hair was damp with sweat against her neck and her head pounded from drinking too much cider. The evening’s celebrations had been a release, but now the dream images marred the happiness of the Sentinel’s initiation ceremony.

Tei wondered why she’d had the nightmare at all when the new Sentinel had already connected with the island. They’d all witnessed her restore the magic; but more than that, she’d restored hope.

Deciding the dream was just a residue of the past, she untangled herself from the covers and got up from the bed. But she couldn’t shake the feeling of foreboding as she washed her face and dressed in her usual travel attire. She hung up the dress she’d worn the previous evening, pulled her father’s cloak around her shoulders, and, invoking the concealing spell, she slipped from the room.

Banner – Suzanne Rogerson’s books

Connectedness by Sandra Danby – The Picasso Link

My second novel Connectedness tells the story of an English art student studying for a year in Spain, and how what happens to her influences the rest of her life. In truth the choice of Málaga, in southern Andalucía, was a pragmatic one. We spend part of our year in the countryside west of Málaga, which made research easy and gave me a reason for frequent visits to its museums and beaches. From there it was a short leap to making Pablo Picasso, who was born in the city, an artistic inspiration for Justine Tree.

Justine arrives in the city in 1982 during the transition from dictatorship. General Franco had died seven years earlier and democratic elections were taking place. It was a time of huge change and opportunity, but still of poverty and tradition. The city today is transformed, now an art destination with museums including the Museo Picasso, Museo Casa Natal [Picasso’s Birthplace and gallery], Centre Pompidou, CAC [Centro de Arte Contemporáneo], Museo Ruso, Museo de Málaga, Museo Carmen Thyssen, Museo Jorge Rando, Museo Revello de Toro and the Museo del Vidrio y Cristal. The city has popular walking tours visiting landmarks in Picasso’s life and historic locations such as the Alcazaba fortress and Castle of Gibralfaro. Not to be missed is the Tapas Route around the best bars.

Living an hour’s drive away from the city gave me the opportunity to visit throughout the year, gauging the climate as experienced by Justine. I walked the streets and beaches she walked, I watched the people and ate the food. She arrives in September when temperatures can reach 28°C/82°F. The coldest month is January when it can still be as warm as 17°C/63°F; very different from her childhood in Northern England when in January it is more likely to be 4°C/39°F. Throughout the novel I used my experience of living in Spain to inform Justine’s story and add realistic detail; speaking the language, exploring the food, the customs, the culture. You can read more about my life in Spain at my ‘Notes on a Spanish Valley’ blog.

 

About ‘Connectedness’

TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALWAYS HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING

Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.

A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.

 

About the ‘Identity Detective’ series

Rose Haldane reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz.

 

Author Bio

Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, Ignoring Gravity and Connectedness, Sandra is not adopted.

 

Author Links

Connectedness’ at Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2q6qy5Z

Ignoring Gravity’ at Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1oCrxHd

Author website:  http://www.sandradanby.com/

Notes on a Spanish Valley blog:  https://notesonaspanishvalley.com

Twitter:  @SandraDanby

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/sandradanbyauthor

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6563021.Sandra_Danby

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/sandradan1/

Photos [all © Sandra Danby]:

Book cover:  Connectedness by Sandra Danby

 

Photo:  Sandra Danby, author
© Sandra Danby

 

Photo:  Málaga – Picasso’s birthplace
© Sandra Danby

 

Photo:  Málaga – Centre Pompidou
© Sandra Danby

 

Photo:  Málaga – Museo Picasso, entrance
© Sandra Danby

 

Photo:  Málaga – view from the Alcazaba
© Sandra Danby