Yes, you’ve likely heard of me—Daphne Bersault— through Alexander Wainwright, Britain’s finest landscape painter and visionary. I am or was his muse. When it comes to life, love, art and creativity, it’s hard to know just where you stand with such a great artist.
When I first saw him at breakfast in the dining car on the Orient Express, there’s no denying that I was immediately attracted–almost like an electric shock. But because my journey was to make amends with certain parts of my past, I was in no hurry to admit the attraction even to myself. Because I was looking into the past, I believe he saw me as a woman of mystery.
Have you ever met someone when, in that very first moment, you feel your future is unfolding before your eyes? Perhaps that’s how fate—or love— shows up in life. Suddenly everything becomes sharper, clearer and all your senses come alive. I know it sounds absurd but it seemed as if Alexander had been sent to me for some purpose, which was not at all clear. It was certainly no casual meeting for either of us.
But his excitement was not only for me—a woman he had just met under romantic circumstance on the fabled Orient Express. The intense passion was for his art.
He unfurled a roll of paper on which he had drawn charcoal sketches. They were of me. Passion, strength and resilience exploded from each one of these beautiful sketches. I was at a loss to understand how I could have inspired such work.
I was really puzzled and said, “How on earth have I inspired this work? His answer was startling.
“Because you are my muse.”
“I don’t really understand. We’ve only just met. How could…?” He had poured cognac for us. When the glow began rising up in me, I felt as if I were under a magician’s spell. I said simply, “Explain it to me.”
He leaned forward into the lamplight. Every nuance of expression was laid bare on his face. I thought I was looking deep into his soul—and perhaps in that moment I was. His answer, to this day, remains etched on my heart.
“My art,” he began, “comes from deep within. Some places are comfortable, familiar rooms, which I have often visited in dreams and reveries. Others are wonderfully fanciful and enchanting lands. And
still others contain the terrifying stuff of nightmares. But all those places have their treasures and must be explored and intimately known if one is to create.” He touched my hand. “Some quality, an essence, within the muse is like a candle flickering in the dark, illuminating everything in those rooms. That light leads the poor artist through his own private heaven and hell ever onward to his creation.”
“But what is it in me that inspires you?”
For that he had no answer. He just said, “I don’t know. I’m just a painter trying to understand life and to create art.”
My eyes fixed on his hands, which were pale, long and slender. I remember thinking Michelangelo might have painted those hands centuries ago. They brushed mine as he poured more cognac. Fingers touched but did not entwine. This spell seemed cast by a different kind of being–one I had not met before.
Without further thought, I asked, “Why are you here?” Only his effect on me could have produced such an odd question.
“I’m not sure yet but I think I’d better go now,” he answered. “The time isn’t right for us, at least not yet. But I should very much like to see you in Venice. Is that still possible?”
Although my knees felt weak, I nodded and opened the door. What sort of man says such outrageous thing—and then leaves?
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
The relationship was beautiful, difficult and complex. Much more lay ahead. A muse is not asked to consent to the relationship. He or she is more or less “taken” by the artist as such. But I often wondered, if I inspired such creativity, why I had to remain only a mid-wife. Why could I not have a greater, more active role in the entire process of making something from nothing. I learned just how hard it can be to love a creative genius. If you read The Trilogy of Remembrance you may begin to understand. For me, it was a long and painful process which caused many changes in me. But, no doubt, I am forever grateful!
I will come back to visit with you. You’ll find I have many more stories to tell. These stories are developed from the novels of The Trilogy of Remembrance [The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde and Night Crossing] and are designed to entice you to read them. This meeting on the Orient Express takes place in the first novel, The Drawing Lesson.
Alexander Wainwright, Britain’s finest landscape painter and visionary artist, is the star of the trilogy. Think of these blog posts as delightful appetizers. Enjoy and respond.
The novels of The Trilogy of Remembrance and The Osgoode Trilogy may be found on any online bookstore but, if you are in a hurry just click here http://amazon.com/author/maryemartin!
Mary E. Martin is the author of two trilogies: The Osgoode Trilogy, inspired by her many years of law practice; and The Trilogy of Remembrance, set in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Both Trilogies will elevate the reader from the rush and hectic world of today and spin them into realms of yet unimagined intrigue.
The Trilogy of Remembrance is struggling to become a QUARTET. The next volume should be published in 2018
Here is the first chapter of The Wondrous Apothecary
Mary E. Martin is the author of two trilogies: The Osgoode Trilogy, inspired by her many years of law practice and The Trilogy of Remembrance, set in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Both Trilogies will elevate the reader from the rush and hectic world of today and spin them into realms of yet unimagined intrigue. Be inspired by the final installment of The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing.
Coming soon! This trilogy has a fourth novel The Wondrous Apothecary which will be published 2019. Find out more… http://maryemartintrilogies.com/the-wondrous-apothecary/