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March 27, 2014

WILLIAMS: Finding a love for the arts

Recently, I have gotten into art. Well, not real, museum-quality art. I will never be an art expert and I’ll certainly never be able to afford to be a collector on that level. Art snobs will always hold me in contempt for my ignorance, I’m sure, but I needed something to put my stamp of individuality on my house, the way dolls and teapots had for Mom. (I did keep several of the prettiest ones of each, so she is still here in a way).

This all began because of writing. (Doing research for a book is also how I first discovered my passion for NASCAR, and Ireland, and the Atchafalaya Basin, and wild horses). In my latest novel, my main character bought a Creole Townhouse in the French Quarter of New Orleans and I followed him to art galleries and upscale antique stores as he furnished it. (Unlike me, he could afford to purchase anything that struck his fancy and oh, he bought some of the most wonderful things!)

Along the way, I became attracted to an artist, William-Adolphe Bouguereau. It would be fascinating to know why a certain artistic style reaches out and grabs one person with such power while the next one is moved by something entirely different. Does the art we love say something profound about our personality, do you suppose? There’s an idea for someone’s master’s thesis, if it hasn’t already been done.

Bouguereau specialized in both biblical scenes and portraits. It was the portraits that I was drawn to. His original paintings sell for millions of dollars but I bought a print of one of his young girls, “Petite Mendiante,” 1880. It was still rather too rich for my blood but I did it anyway.

My friends are startled by my new incarnation.

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