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Violette Leduc

February 15, 2009

I’ve been completely immersed in reading La Bâtarde , by Violette Leduc, lately. I’ve had the book for a while, but never seemed to get around to starting it.  Which is really crazy, because I have a good friend who’s been writing about her for years.  Maybe I sensed that once I stepped into her world I would be completely absorbed.  There’s something almost Proustien about it.

And it begs that old “what is art?” question.  Why are we so taken with some works of art, be they paintings, films or novels, and not others?  It certainly isn’t the subject, or even the style.  It’s something else, altogether indefinable.  The last time I was so blown away by an author was when I read  Sybille Bedford for the first time.  There’s a similarity between the two writers – they write over and over about their lives and people they have known, and you close the book with the feeling that you lived that life, that it was you who met that person described so briefly but with such acuity.

So here she is, as seen by me, of course.  I was watching the Virgin Queen,  when I started working on this, and, yes, there is a slight resemblance with Cate Blanchett that was not intentional It flatters Violette a bit, and I’m sure she’d appreciate that, as obsessed as she was with her own perceived ugliness.

Anyway, I found myself incessantly looking up her picture on internet, trying to work out who she was really.  And so I drew her from a photograph, to exorcise her from my life in a way.  And it sort of worked, except that now I have an incredible urge to read and draw Maurice Sachs, one of the people so beautifully described in her La Bâtarde.  A suivre….

13 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2009 5:33 pm

    Wow! I think it’s beautiful, and now that you mention it, there definitely IS a Cate Blanchett look about her that appeals, too! Such a French face here, too!

    Don’t you think that traditionally “beautiful” people are overrated? I guess what I mean is that I find “attractive” people far more fascinating: those people who reveal themselves slowly and become beautiful the more you know them. Wonderful job, Casey, and now you’ve got me adding her to my list of people to read.

  2. February 15, 2009 5:38 pm

    Oh, wow–I found the photo you used to do this, and your portrait is just remarkable, Casey! What a fabulous job. You really captured her!

  3. February 15, 2009 5:38 pm

    What a wonderful portrait!!!

  4. February 16, 2009 2:15 am

    Isn’t it great to find a book that really draws you in? I’m in the midst of one right now but doubt that it is as meaningful as La Bâtarde. I read Sybil Bedford’s biography of Aldous Huxley in my early 20’s, have hung on to the very same copy all these years, and still refer to it from time to time – it’s wonderful.

    That’s a fine drawing you’ve made of Leduc. I think that she resembles Blanchett some in the photo you worked from. What a wonderful exercise and tribute as you read her memoir.

  5. February 16, 2009 10:18 am

    Somehow I have missed a number of your posts lately and had a delightful time strolling through such a variety of work. Loved the colour touches in the curled up life drawing a few posts ago, and cant get over how well you are working with oils when you have only created two – amazing. Now down to the Leduc portrait – love the simplicity of line and softness of colour. Her personality comes over and she is so French. Is it the beret?? Does La Batarde come in an English version??

  6. February 16, 2009 4:16 pm

    Thank you for visiting my blog. I love this drawing; have to check on the book too.

  7. February 16, 2009 5:43 pm

    What a lovely enhancement of the reading experience, Casey to sketch the writer. It’s a very sensitive portrait. I think Leduc would have been touched.

    I’ve never read her, but have put this book on my wish list now because I have read a lot of Simon De Beauvoir and actually, all the wonderful French writers who encouraged Leduc.

    Do you find you don’t read as much now you are making art? I was once such a book worm.

  8. February 17, 2009 1:26 am

    how are you Casey?
    this portrait is beautiful…thanks for the book recommendation, i love to hear what people are reading!

  9. February 18, 2009 12:26 am

    Your work and your words are lovely as always.

  10. February 18, 2009 10:18 am

    This is a rich and sensitive drawing, Casey. I guess I have to read Violette Leduc now (;D), especially since you told me she’s NOT the person responsible for Disneyfying Vezelay. I have to confess I wasn’t as enamored of Sybille Bedford as you were, but you may not like Bleak House as much as I did, either! I agree with Robyn, though, I don’t get as much reading done as I used to, now that I’m a maniacal drawer and painter.

  11. March 1, 2009 4:19 pm

    Very nice work, as always.
    That ineffable attribute infused in something well ‘built/drawn/written’ was called “the quality without a name” by Christopher Alexander (The Timeless Way of Building). I’ve always thought that was a useful, compact phrase worth remembering.

  12. veronica permalink
    July 13, 2009 10:33 pm

    A very wise late friend of mine loaned me La Batarde long ago in the 1980s and it truly gave me a new outlook and awareness as well as inspiring my ownwriting. I re – read it every so often, and i’m not suprised that others do also. He was a great friend. I enjoyed your art work and admire your talent ! Thank you so much !

  13. July 16, 2012 3:27 pm

    A fantastic lightness – amazing author!

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