I’ve found myself in an odd place with my new novel The Arrowsmith’s Daughter. The story deals with Buddhism and artists and was influenced by the many connections in the mid-century art scene between Buddhist philosophy and minimalist/abstract art. The novel takes place in modern time but the back story involves a fictional famous painter who took his own life in the seventies after discovering he had dementia (now known as Alzheimers). In the present, my narrator, also a painter, becomes involved with a mysterious street art collective. So there is a lot of writing about painting involved.
I’m not a painter. I have several friends who are and I’ve been doing my research, reading bios of abstract impressionists, notably deKooning and Rothko and their contemporaries like John Cage. I’m also immersed in the global street art scene which is really where the action is in the painting world these days.
I’m at a point now where I’m describing the paintings of my famous artist, Richard Telmarine. Like deKooning, when he experiences the onset of Alzhiemers his painting changes radically. In my story those late paintings have never been shown and my protagonist is offered the opportunity to view them. He is having a love affair with Telmarine’s daughter who owns the art. The challenge here is to create, in my mind’s eye and the reader’s, a description of art that is transformative but never existed. I have an idea how it’s going to go but with this stuff I’m continually surprised by where the story takes itself.
This should be interesting!