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The Birth of the Trolls! You’ll remember Alex met his muse, Daphne, on The Orient Express.

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Now, Alex begins to paint, on his latest serene landscape, the Trolls, strange, wailing creatures which magically materialize from his brush.  They shock his art dealer, James Helmsworth, and drive Alex onto the Orient Express to Venice where he meets Daphne, his muse. 

From The Drawing Lesson

Alex Wainwright rocked gently to and fro at the window of his studio overlooking the Thames. He could see Westminster Bridge in one direction and Tower Bridge in the other.

embankment

Suddenly, he sprang up and, with a furious blow of his cane, shattered the globe of his studio light. Tiny shards of glass exploded like slivers of light in the air and rained down upon the floor. He stood hunched over in the middle of the room, his eyes ricocheting from one painting to another.

The naked bulb swung in wild arcs from its cord. In the light, the artist’s massive shadow swept like a demon in flight to and fro across the wall. Only his harsh breathing could be heard. He wiped his forehead with his sleeve. Shivering, he sank to a stool and covered his eyes.

 At last the bulb grew still. Alex looked upon his most recent canvas. With soft greens and grays, he had painted a river, beyond which lay a grassy plain. A smoky ridge of hills lay huddled on the horizon. In the water, he had painted the reflection of several trees, which now looked like shadowy boatmen silently drifting toward Hades. Lost in contemplation, he stared at his work of serenity.

The Trilogy of Remembrance, The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde, Night Crossing, creativity, painting, subconscious, muse, influence of muse, Alexander Wainwright, Rinaldo, Mary E Martin, spirituality, inspiration.

The violence of creativity!

For months, he had been cursed with a darkness of vision. But recently, new forms had persistently floated at the edges of his dreams and reveries. Sometimes images bathed in a golden light broke into his consciousness. Rinaldo would have said that those forms, that light meant nothing—they were nothing but the random product of millions of cells dancing a meaningless dance in his brain. Rinaldo

As he gazed at the painting, tiny fragments of thought rose up from the dark and into his mind. He knew how the creative process might grow. If he were quietly attentive, sometimes he could court the muse.

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                  The Muse

 

He sat motionless and invited it to unfold its treasures. The tiniest wisp of thought or pulse of emotion might grow into a shimmering, golden strand leading him on to creation. Or it could suddenly grow coarse and slide back into the murk. 

The Trolls are born!

With the deft strokes of his smallest brush, he painted one tiny black figure seated underneath a tree on the riverbank. With his finest brushstrokes, he brought the creature to a life of intense pain and sorrow. Alex muttered the word “bereft” as he added strokes of yellow and red. He stood back to contemplate the figure who now stared in terror from the canvas.

Rising suddenly, he seized his brush and palette. He squeezed out a blob of black oil paint, then a fat curl of crimson. After rooting through his paint box, he found a tube of cadmium yellow and smeared it on the palette. Then he pinched nearly empty tubes, making dots of purple and green. Cautiously, he advanced toward his painting.

With the deft strokes of his smallest brush, he painted one tiny black figure seated underneath a tree on the riverbank. With his finest brushstrokes, he brought the creature to a life of intense pain and sorrow. Alex muttered the word “bereft” as he added strokes of yellow and red. He stood back to contemplate the figure who now stared in terror from the canvas.

The Trilogy of Remembrance, The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde, Night Crossing, creativity, painting, subconscious, muse, influence of muse, Alexander Wainwright, Rinaldo, Mary E Martin, spirituality, inspiration.

                      The Trolls 

Suffused with passion, he began work on the near side of the riverbank. First, desperate looking clusters of beings appeared with their eyes cast upward to the leaden sky. Then under the trees and shrubs, he painted wailing faces attached to puny bodies. With conscious zeal, he created their suffering and finally painted three naked, trembling figures hidden in shrubbery.

By dawn, he was finished. Exhausted, he stepped back to see twenty-three tiny human-like figures huddling along the riverbanks. But now he saw that the naked ones cowering behind distant bushes had become the focal point of the painting.

The Trilogy of Remembrance, The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde, Night Crossing, creativity, painting, subconscious, muse, influence of muse, Alexander Wainwright, Rinaldo, Mary E Martin, spirituality, inspiration.

                           The Trolls

Briefly, he was troubled by technical points of composition and wondered if he should paint them over. He walked to the far side of the studio to examine his work. Squinting, he rubbed his grizzled face and tapped his foot. They were not at all what he had expected, but he knew better than to dismiss them. He peered at the canvas until finally a tiny smile of satisfaction broke over his face.

“Who in God’s name are these pitiable creatures?” he asked aloud. “Where did they come from?” In the breaking dawn, he sat on his stool and stared at them. At last he said, “They are the trolls.” He fell upon his bed, fully clothed. While I still have my vision, I will paint these creatures. That was his last thought as exhaustion swept him downward to sleep.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Trilogy of Remembrance, The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde, Night Crossing, creativity, painting, subconscious, muse, influence of muse, Alexander Wainwright, Rinaldo, Mary E Martin, spirituality, inspiration.

James Helmsworth

James Helmsworth, Alex’s art dealer arrives at his studio. He is aghast to see the Trolls.

I am James Helmsworth. Naturally, I was worried that I hadn’t heard from Alex all morning. When I banged on his studio door at noon, he finally appeared.

Smiling strangely, he muttered, “Ah, it’s you, Jamie! The angel of light has come to illumine the dark.” He nearly staggered backward to let me in.

I gasped at the sight of him. “My God, Alex, what have you been doing? You look terribly ill.”

Alex teetered on his stool and waved toward the canvas out of the light at the far end of the studio. “Can’t you see? I’ve had a breakthrough.”

I turned abruptly and gaped up at the canvas. Even in shadow, its ugliness was horrific. “Good God! What have you done to it?”

“Look, my friend!” Alex waved grandly and began to chuckle. “They are my creatures. They are the trolls. They’ve always been there, but I only just found them.”

I could not prevent my eyes clouding with tears. It wasn’t just the painting. I feared for my dear friend’s sanity. “I don’t understand Alex. Why would you desecrate your own work? That painting was one of your very finest.”

“You don’t approve, Jamie?” Although Alex spoke mildly, he rushed on, not waiting for my answer. “They only came to me last night in a vision.”

“Why,” I stammered, “would you paint such ugly creatures, especially in that lovely setting?”

He shook his head. “I don’t blame you for failing to see. Only now am I beginning to understand.” He touched my arm and drew me closer to the canvas. I feared the glimmer in his eyes was madness.

In tones of reverence, he said, “Those pitiful creatures are God’s work. For years, I’ve sought to capture the beauty and serenity of nature and, most of all, the lightalbeit only in fleeting glimpses. But I omitted the creatures who inhabit that landscape. That has been my great mistake. It changes everything.”

Carefully, he peeled the cellophane from a cigar. “My landscapes create serenity. The trolls express their horror at the randomness of such a serene but abandoned landscape.” He lit and puffed on the cigar.

“Abandoned?”

“Yes. Abandoned by their creator,” said Alex solemnly. Then he laughed, “So, there it is!” He waved his cigar at the painting. “The collision of two world views—serenity and horror.”

I paced slowly from one side of the painting to the other. Helplessness swept over me, and I sank to a chair. Although I knew I must choose my words carefully, I could not contain my rising anger. “Damn Rinaldo! He’s the cause of this, isn’t he?”

Alex looked thoughtful and then said with a smile, “Only in a very roundabout way.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

Alex shrugged—a mannerism he had adopted from Rinaldo.

“You have allowed that—” I stopped, not knowing what word to use, “that devil—that Satan to destroy you and your work. You, not he, won the Turner prize. What happened to your vision, your light, which no one but you can see and convey to the world?”

Alex put his arm on my shoulder as if to comfort me. Softly, he said, “That light is too dim. It has gone out. But don’t worry. I think something new is replacing it.”

I was nearly at my wit’s end. “But Alex, you have a following, a reputation!”

“A polite way of saying I’m a cheap, commercial hack?” Alex smacked a paintbrush on the palm of his hand.

“No, of course not. You may be compelled right now to express this new perception, but I can tell you, buyers will be difficult to find.”

His face pale in the noonday light, Alex snapped the brush in two. Towering over me, he shouted, “You think I’m mad, don’t you?”

I backed away. “Of course not. But please, Alex, take a break. Gain some perspective. I understand you’ve been seized with a vision, but please take time to let it percolate. You may see things differently after a rest.”

“Do I need a new dealer?” he demanded. “Money? Is that all that counts for you? You want me to keep doing the same old hackneyed job over and over until I’m dead? Just a petted lap dog for your clientele?”

“Alex, are you all right? This is very strange. My job is to promote your work, to guard your career. Please give this vision some time. This is a huge departure for you.”

Wainwright stood silhouetted against the windows. “You think I’m sick,” he whispered.

“Not sick, Alex. Perhaps overworked.”

“You said I’ve desecrated my work.”

“Well, no. But this is so new. It’s a bit of a shock to me. Some time and a second look would do no harm.” I took a seat next to him. “You need to get away, Alex. Why not a trip? Off to Paris or Vienna.” Not having heard from Peter, I hesitated, but then said, “Or you could visit your friend, Peter, in Venice.”

Alex snorted. “Ah, yes. But my friend may not wish to see me.”

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        The Muse


“I’m sure he will. You’ve always called him your muse. Why not get in touch with him?”

For long moments, Alex continued to stare down the Thames River. At last he said, “I suppose Venice might be good this time of year.”

“Perfect in the early fall. No crowds. Not so hot. You could wander around. Consider your vision at leisure.” I joined him at the window.

“Good idea, Jamie. I thank you.”

I was vastly relieved that he had agreed. But it was worrisome. Alex never gave in so easily. “You’re sure, Alex?”

His gaze seemed ancient, as if he had lived for a thousand years. I felt like a mere passer-by in some long ago century. And yet he seemed serene, and I at least was glad of that.

The Trilogy of Remembrance, The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde, Night Crossing, creativity, painting, subconscious, muse, influence of muse, Alexander Wainwright, Rinaldo, Mary E Martin, spirituality, inspiration.

                               Venice

“You will take my advice?” I prodded.

With his eyes focused on the painting, Alex nodded. “Yes, don’t worry. I will.”

“I’m so glad you agree.” We walked toward the door. “So you’ll get a flight?” I asked.

“No, dear boy. I think I’ll take the train. All the more time to think. Perhaps I can get a ticket for the Orient Express.” He held the door open for me. “I’ll see you when I’m back in a month or so.” 

“You’re not just saying that?”

“I give you my word,” he said smiling grandly. “Such a fine idea of yours! Thank you.”

I rushed down the stairs to the street. I could only trust that time away from London would help Alex. At least it would free him from Rinaldo.

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 recently released and final installment of The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing. Although all novels are available virtually anywhere online, you’ll find them easily at Amazon below in the carousels below.

 

 

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