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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Taking the Plunge by Margot Justes

I'm ready to take the plunge and take my novella A Fire Within the Kindle route.
I thought I'd share the beginning, in more ways than one; it is the beginning of a new experience for me and the beginning of A Fire Within.

"He burned. A fire within consumed him. He burned for his lost love.
He burned for vengeance. He burned with hatred.
Rebecca Standish was dreaming. She had to be, but the blaring ringing did not relent. She tossed restlessly in her bed, plagued by a recurring nightmare. Like always, it began with the dissonant ringing of the telephone demanding her attention. In the past the dreams would quickly morph into the hiss and crackle of flames. This time the noise was incessant and did not let up.

Drifting slowly towards consciousness, she turned on her side and put a pillow over her face. Still, the clanging continued. She jerked upright in bed and froze. Not again. Please not again. She reached for the phone waiting for doom.

“Miss Standish.” She heard a curt voice and listened with growing dread as a monotone voice spoke her name. Her alarm clock twinkled the witching hour in big red numbers. Midnight. She switched on the nightstand light, and mentally prepared herself.

“Yes.” she whispered “What happened? Is it a fire?” Afraid to hear the response, she tightened her hold on the phone. Her knuckles turned white from the effort and she forced herself to relax. Her gallery burned down once before. Facing that possibility again absolutely defeated her resolve. I can’t go through this again. Please God, don't let it be a fire.

“No, no fire but there is an emergency. The front window in your gallery was broken. The crash sounded the alarm. The police are on their way.”

“So am I. Thank you.” She hung up and covered her face with her hands. What now?
She threw a long sweater coat over her shoulders, and went downstairs to wait for a cab. Not a tall woman, five six in bare feet, Rebecca always wore heels that added to her height. She had a woman's body with curves in all the right places, and hair as black as night with eyes to match. She was a striking, self-assured woman who at the moment felt anything but; her gallery was in trouble once again, at least this time it wasn't engulfed in flames."

Till next time.
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mysteries of the Art World by Margot Justes

A potential Leonardo da Vinci sketch had been unearthed, more precisely an art historian thought that it was "absolutely Leonardesque" but that it was probably drawn by one of da Vinci's students.

An exam showed that the sketch was done closer to 1473-yes they could narrow it down to the year-amazing isn't it-what science can do? At any rate, Leonardo da Vinci did not have any apprentices or students until the late 1470's. That leaves the work as that of the master himself, or does it?

The mystery continues, the historian is convinced that he has the first portrait drawing the master did.

Now, the fun begins, the research, the absolute proof-that yes the sketch was done by Leonardo da Vinci. That would be lovely, but it is a long road to the absolute.

The paper is tested to check the properties and identify them as belonging to the era, they will test the chalk and pencil for the same reason. They were able to tell that both hands were used in that particular sketch, and it is known that da Vinci was reputed to be left-handed, but at the early start of his career he used both hands.

Would you believe that a reconstructed da Vinci fingerprint exists? It does. Another step that brings us closer to the ongoing search for knowledge about the great master.

Paper was expensive during the era and often re-used, and they found another drawing of an animal underneath the new sketch. Leonardo was known to draw animal figures, and the style matched.

Much is known about da Vinci, much can be found using modern day science techniques to give us a rare glimpse into the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci.

There are art detectives who attempt to solve the mysteries of newly found masterpieces like the first portrait sketch attributed to da Vinci.

There is enough proof that the piece is probably the master's, but the final absolute is still a work in progress.

Till next time.
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Change in Attitude by Margot Justes

I'm going through a change-no, not that change-a change in attitude.

I'm cleaning house, getting rid of stuff I no longer need or use, and Amvets is a frequent visitor. In the process I'm simplifying my life.

I no longer find kitchen utensils enticing, cookbooks no longer viable, because all I do is look at the recipes and all the pretty pictures, and say hmm, that looks delicious and that's it,

I'm done with said cookbook.

Shoes are still a I went chocolate shopping for my daughter for Easter, came home with no chocolate but bought a sexy pair of shoes. Somethings you just can't give up. I still need to get that chocolate.

But I noticed something else too, things are a whole lot less important than they used to be. I put clean sheets on the bed and realized that the fitted sheet was on the bed inside out. In the 'old' days I would have re-made the bed, now I just mumbled to myself -the sheets are clean, we're good.

It's comforting to go with the flow, there are fewer hassles and as long as I have the ability to learn and appreciate new things, and in the process challenge myself...that indeed is excellent.

Till next time,
Margot Justes

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Who Was the Mona Lisa by Margot Justes

Suspense and mystique in the art world is alive and well, thanks to new details about the potential identity of the mysterious model, who famously became the Mona Lisa.

The dig is on-literally- to discover the identity of the Mona Lisa. In Florence, Italian scientists will dig up the bones, using modern science methodology that hopefully will help identify the lady.

The mystery shrouding the identity of the small portrait, has had scholars and writers debating the possibilities for centuries.

Myths have long claimed that Lisa Gherardini, the wife of wealthy silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, posed for the portrait. Hence the Italian name of the masterpiece, La Giaconda.

According to the EarthLink article, the marvels of modern science ala CSI will play a major part in the research. The dig will center at the Convent of St. Ursula in Florence, Italy. The merchant had a relationship with the convent, and it is said his wife is buried there.

Ground-penetrating radar will be used to locate the tomb, and if one is discovered, they will try to match the bones and the age of the skeleton, since it is known that she died in her sixties.

If skeletal remains can be identified, then the next process will be carbon dating and DNA extraction to see if it is a match to her children, some of whom were buried in the vicinity.

If skull fragments are found and are usable, there is a possibility of facial reconstruction.

That would certainly prove she was the model. Or would it?

Silvano Vinceti, art historian and project leader claims to have found "symbols" within the portrait that suggest it could have been a longtime male companion of Leonardo's who was the "main influence for the Mona Lisa."

Dan Brown found "symbols" within La Giaconda as well, and had a terrific unbelievable run as a bestselling author.

What wonderful sources of suspense and intrigue can be found in the art world...the possibilities are endless.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris