A - Z Challenge 2016

A – Z Challenge 2016, C is for…

Cis for Cox, Robert, and maybe for con?

Does it matter who the artist is if you love a painting, surely it shouldn’t? I bought two paintings twenty years ago from a second hand market stall, I got them both for £25, bargain. But being the curious creature I am with the internet came the chance to research them and try to find the artist. The first had a dodgy signature, hard to make out but was done in a French impressionist/Monet-ish style, research uncovered it was the work of a group of artists working under a banner name to mass produce the paintings for mass market sale, I didn’t care I like it. The second was clearly marked Robert Cox, my initial attempts found nothing then I would find the odd painting on Ebay or listed as for sale with an auction house but still nothing. Then I came across a few posts like this one…

I found several paintings by this artist at a local thrift shop. I also found the biography below on several sites. I think this may be some sort of a scam or perhaps similar to the many “Burnett” paintings from Mexico. All of the paintings in the local shop bore the stamp of “Creative Interiors” and “Hecho en Mexico”. I could not find Robert Cox with the birth and death dates given below in either the Social Security Death Index or in the California Death Index. I could find no mention of a company called “Mayhew Peakes”. There is a Katherine Gibbs School, but it appears to be a 2 year college. The Art Workers Coalition was founded in New York City in 1969, seven years after Cox supposedly moved to California, and only existed until 1971. The only mention I can find for the Brown Hammerson Medal of Honour (or Honor) is in this biography.


“Born on July 14th, 1934 in Mt Holly, New Jersey, he studied at the Katharine Gibbs School of Art from 1953 until 1956 before joining Mayhew Peakes Inc. as a graphic designer. Dissatisfied with his progress he resigned in 1962 and moved to California where he married Marjorie in 1966. The new Californian environment gave him unrestricted floral subjects for his painting and he painted furiously to make up for the lost time he felt he had spent in Philadelphia. It was important to him that art was available to the general public. He appreciated that most people could not afford thousands of Dollars for original works and, often to his own financial detriment, he strived to keep his sale prices low.

Although generally shy and unassuming, he was a founder member of the Art Workers Coalition and very active in promoting the rights of artists. He was awarded the Brown Hammerson Medal of Honour for services to art in 1986.

One of the most prolific painters of the 1970s and 1980s, Robert Cox established a huge reputation in the United States for his almost neo-Victorian style and his early adoption of the pallet knife in creating stylised flowers. His work is represented in many American museums, galleries and private collections as well as having been frequently exported to Europe and Australia and has been auctioned at Christies, Bonhams and Cheffins.

Robert Cox died on June 18th, 2001 in Escondido, California after a long illness. His wife, Marjorie, and his daughters, Kate and Ginny, survived him.”

I found this summary on Robert Cox’s bio  here, and I have to say I pretty much agree with his assessment. The question is does it matter? $_57

So this first painting I found on Ebay just for comparison purposes ‘Pink Roses in a Brown Vase’ the paintings are all floral arrangements and one could take that as evidence of the ‘scam’ in itself, after all surely a painter would paint other things not just sit day after day painting the same things, secondly the sheer volume of paintings out there suggests one man could not be responsible for them all.

I found around fifty just on the UK Ebay site ranging in price from £45 to £300 buy it now, the frames range from plain brown to highly ornate gold frames, personally I think mine had been in a more ornate frame and that the frame was taken to be used for something else and it was re-framed in a plain one just because the framing is not done very well and is not as well centred as many others seem to be. This is my painting…

Blue flowers Oil on Canvas by Robert Cox
Blue flowers Oil on Canvas by Robert Cox

The fact is it does not matter if a painting or a book is created for mass enjoyment rather than for a small group of academics to enjoy, what matter is that the individual finds pleasure in it, when I saw it along with the other painting at the second hand market I was not thinking I wonder what this would be worth, I saw it and thought I want that, I love it. Of course I worry a group of what could be incredibly talented painters are locked in a room somewhere being forced to paint vases of flowers from morning till night but is it any different to those who work in ceramic factories hand painting designs over and over again, maybe doing this during the day covers the bills so they can paint stunning sunsets for their own pleasure or under their own name.

The going rate for both the paintings I bought for £25 for the pair is £200 based on the size and subject/colour would I ever sell them nope not if you offered me double that amount, they were bought for the pleasure looking at them gives me and an authors name does not change that.

7. Sunday · Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday #2

I have discovered my new hob top kettle takes longer to boil than the old electric one but there is something exciting about hearing that whistle that signals coffee time has arrived.

This mornings brew is once more a double choca-mocha, one of my favourites but has been set aside for just a little while as I consumed my porridge. I am trying very hard at the minute to actually eat breakfast when I get up not an hour later, this is something I struggle with, I am not a morning person.

Breakfast eaten I put the empty pot to one side and begin reading blogs, mug in hand, I read, smile, hit the like button and begin the task of deciding which posts I shall share this week, I search through my inbox for the couple I spotted during the week that grabbed my attention and I marked with a star so I could find them again.

So let us begin with this weeks choices…

  1. I love photo blogs, they say a picture says a thousand words but it can also show a thousand worlds, places I will never travel to, moments that can never be reproduced. I will never go on a camel ride through the desert, that it not self pity or a complaint that finances will not allow but a reality that with my dodgy back, even if I won the lottery tomorrow (reminds me I must check last nights tickets lol) I could possibly manage to get on one and sit for a few minutes but never travel great distances, my back simply would not take it. I have ridden horses in my life time and would love to do that again but from people I know that have ridden on a camel the ride is a little bumpier and harder on the body, but there will always be a part of me that would like to imagine that journey across the desert, though of course the fell provisioned tourist experience not the starving explorer version. You can see some great photos here https://exxtracts.wordpress.com/2016/02/20/camel-ride/
  2. I want to wish the lovely Cara a happy blogiversary! Those of you who have followed me for a while know I do have a little bit of a naughty side, and though I could never write erotica I do read it occasionally and I love the way Cara writes, I only wish I could wave a magic wand and give her the confidence in her own work that the rest of us have in it, then maybe she would post the rest of the Hunter story I was loving that she suddenly stopped hint hint you can wish her a happy blogiversary here and explore her blog a little more if you enjoy writing that gets the blood pumping in more ways than one lol https://closed2.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/happy-blog-iversary/
  3. Next up is a blog post with a video embedded, if your coffee is running low you might want to go refill before you start on this post. Sandra’s enthusiasm is contagious, I have no idea how she manages to juggle so many things at the same time but this post focuses on one of aspect of her life and interests, asexuality. Until Sandra started talking about it I really did not get what they meant by asexuality and I will be honest I can not really comprehend not having those feelings (just consider my previous share) but as she says everyone in individual and I think part of that is accepting that we do not have to fully understand everyone else but we should respect their differences https://quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2016/02/25/new-asexualise-com-website-coming-soon-update-and-news/
  4. The next one is from my dear friend Rhonda, now she is lots of things, a great friend, hilariously funny at times but she has a way with words that can also evoke such deep feelings from within, I grew up thousands of miles away from the place she is describing but that nostalgia and feeling of being connected to a place resonates with me every time I take a trip back to the village I grew up in where my parents still live, if I had to pick a negative about Rhonda it would be that bloody woman just does not write enough and needs a kick up the butt to make her post more often lol http://50-shades-of-gray-hair.com/2016/02/23/home-is-where-you-learn-to-walk/
  5. I don’t always read the next blog in order and do occasionally wonder if I miss out not reading it that way but as it states the stories are disconnected so I don’t feel too bad dipping in and out and each is in a way its own little vignette, I love the fact the blog is both visual and imaginative and am awed by the talent of Cheryl https://cherylmoore.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/unbound-boxes-limping-gods-disconnected-stories-issue-231-alexand-merek-part-13/
  6. Final one for today and if you have not already refilled your cup you will want to for this one, it is a flash fiction which leads you down a path but lets you chose which fork in the road you want to take at the end, I won’t say here which I took but if you want to come back in comments and tell me what you thought we can discuss it there https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/the-letter-flash-fiction-by-jane-risdon-c-2013/

So my cup is empty and I need to wash it up before playing fetch with the dog in the garden for a while, I won’t let him bring his favourite ball in the house, it is a grubby leather football he has punctured a dozen times over but it is his favourite so I resist the urge to bin it for now. The I shall do a load of washing, tiddy the house a little before heading back here to the desk to write tomorrows blog post and do a little creating.

Enjoy your Sunday and please let me know if you enjoy these blogs I have shared with you xxx

Fact Vs Fiction

Books, Nerves and Self Doubt

This week has been tough, Monday was the first anniversary of my grandma’s passing and in my determination not to get to broken up over it I have managed to stick my head so firmly in the sand that when I pulled it out I started panicking.

Saturday is Voices book launch, I am still tweaking, I am not sure if I am now tweaking for the sake of tweaking or if this is my self destructive side showing it’s head. Normally I function best under pressure and so I should be flying right now but of course I am doubting my own abilities and scared stiff but one way or another at least the Kindle version of Voices will be on sale over the weekend, I have delayed, rewritten, deleted and procrastinated so many times over this book, partly because it does mean so much to me and partly because of the dedication and the special little man who inspired it. There will not be a vlog on Friday instead on Sunday you will get a special one with the launch included.

I will be sending out a newsletter on Friday and there is still chance to pop over to my website and sign up to the newsletter to be entered in the draw for a copy of the book, everyone who opens the email gets their name in that hat.

There will also be a swag bag give-away for the actual event and another for responding on the Facebook page here

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Marketing · WIP Wednesday

How To Avoid Getting Your Hopes Up?

At the end of the post on Sunday I mentioned I had submitted my novel to a publisher, or at least the first 15 pages. Their website and submission guidelines tell you to expect to wait 2 -4 weeks to hear back from them while they decide if they want to read the rest of your manuscript.

So I had taken the plunge hit submit and immediately afterwards realised I had failed to include the word count. Obviously the first thing I did was slap myself for my stupidity, one of the main things you are taught as you go through education is read the questions in exams, well for writers the thing you drill into your own mind is always read the submission guidelines and do as they tell you.

Slightly disheartened I went off to make dinner for my kids and watched TV for a couple of hours, by the time I returned to my computer a few hours later I had convinced myself that I had screwed up my chances completely and that everyone wishing me luck had wasted their breath.

Then I looked at my emails!

Now, I debated discussing this, would it be tempting fate? But I decided you guys have shared so much of my journey with me and been so supportive I cannot imagine keeping it quiet, well I didn’t exactly a few people got squealing messages or calls that night but I get ahead of myself and make it sound like more has happened than has actually occurred.

The email sat there had been sent within a couple of hours of me submitting my first fifteen pages and basically was a request to read the rest and to know a little more about me as an author (everyone be on your best behaviour in case they read this!).  I scanned through my novel, corrected a couple of issues in synopsis and sat staring at the screen. I hate writing bio’s, ask he to write one for someone else I will make them sound like a Nobel winning rocket scientist, but the minute I have to write one about myself I turn into a five year old trying to do cursive handwriting with a crayon! I suspect I am not alone in saying that I am a failure as my own cheerleader, part of me wants to read back through all my blog posts and remove anything vaguely personal or ‘unprofessional’, remove evidence that I am human and had a bad year last year, but part of me thinks it is a frailties and how we overcome adversity that makes us who we are far more than our successes and I like who I am (well most of the time).

So once I managed to string together a few sentences which hopefully made me sound at least competent I sat back and now a wait really will ensue, 6 to 8 weeks for a decision on whether they want to go forward with me. I can hear you asking why this is different, after all I have submitted before and done the whole waiting game. I should know better by now than to get my hopes up only to have them crushed with yet another rejection letter but this time it feels different.

The more I looked at the website for this publishers the more convinced I am that they would be the perfect fit for me, they like publishing series so would most likely take the whole trilogy not just one book, the sample pages included one of the first scenes of graphic sexual violence (I class it as dark medieval fantasy so raping and pillaging has to be included but friends have suggested I may still have issues lol), they read that and still wanted to read more.

Every other publisher I have submitted to I have done so while thinking that they were not going to be right for me, that they would either just see my book as erotica or want me to go full fantasy and cut the sex. It scares me that this feels different, that I might get my hopes up only to still receive that rejection email at the end, I fee like a kid waiting for Christmas, I have sent my letter off to Santa but am nervously awaiting that special present and not really able to believe I will get what I want but desperately hoping nevertheless. It is like meeting Mr Right but secretly being convinced he is too perfect and therefore must be gay or about to dump you, you are scared to think of it in terms of having a future but then you risk sabotaging yourself through fear.

The next few weeks are going to be hell, at least for the next couple of weeks I have the Voices launch to look forward to but once that is done my finger nails may suffer!

2. Tuesday · Telly Box Tuesday

Splitting the Audience

Television

So we begin with something that seems to have divided viewers from the comments I have seen…

Personally I thoroughly enjoyed this but I can see where people who had not watched all the previous series struggled with it. The idea of him taking a Victorian case to act as a form of mind palace was inspired and my only complaint is damn that Moffat and I hold Mark Gatiss equally responsible that I might have to wait a while year for another episode. I appreciate it involves scheduling these big name stars together but come on boys you could have at least had it written by now instead of being about to just start work on it. I do enjoy the way they play with the modern and canon views of Holmes and the juxtaposition of other characters both as plot devices and reflections of the roles they would have been expected to maintain in the the Victorian era fascinating.  One bonus feature was the inclusion of a quick clip of The Woman aka Irene Adler and for those who are interested I had read a very interesting article you can find here speculating as to whether she could have in fact been based on a real person.

Film

This week there is no film, I sat racking my brains trying to think of one I have watched this week but the truth is there hasn’t been one. However you still get a clip, this was on over Christmas and though I didn’t watch it I, like a while generation or two probably know the whole thing more or less word for word, when it was on a friend commented on Facebook just how amazing to think this film is now over 75 years old and it just goes to show you cannot reproduce true star quality, no matter how many remakes, reboots or spin offs they try to make only one person will ever truly be Dorothy.

Youtube

I love these even when they are picking at songs I quite like lol

Song

I love both the song and the video for this