Thursday, April 25, 2013

Those Crazy Bohemians (Artist's Living Quarters)

As an indie author there are times where I get so busy that I don't even have time to think about blogging! It's been awhile since my last "Those Crazy Bohemian" post. That's because I released the final book in The Gastien Series and during that process all energy is devoted entirely to that process.

I'm glad to be back for a post, though. You know those crazy bohemians have a special place in my heart. After all, I'm a painter, too. It all sounds like great fun, reading about those Impressionists and other artists who gathered in Paris during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. And, in many ways, I'm sure it was. Still, we need to remember that they were struggling. Many times they had no money to put food on the table. Many times they were lucky to even own a table!

The living quarters of these poverty-stricken artists were anything but fun. Not so many years before they were at least guaranteed a warm room and food every day from their benefactors that hired them to paint family history. Now with their new found freedom came the reality that room and board was no longer something they could count on. If they were going to eat or have a place to keep warm, they had to provide it themselves.

Most of these artists didn't have fancy studios or apartments. Oh, sure, as time went by a few of them were very successful. Renoir, Degas, and later on Picasso all saw fame, along with a few other lucky chosen. They ended up with beautiful homes and gardens, but not until they were quite a bit older. Picasso was a rare exception that did very well before he was an old man. Renoir and Degas, like I mentioned in a previous post, sometimes sold paintings door to door in order to get enough money to buy a meal. Even Picasso lived in the tenements that were called artist's quarters when he first started out in Paris. Interestingly enough, in his later life he said those days of struggle were when he was the happiest and did his best work.

When Picasso first arrived in Paris, he became friends with Max Jacob, a journalist and poet. They shared an apartment and Jacob taught Picasso French. The apartment was one small room. Poor and very cold, many times they burned Picasso's paintings just to stay warm. This or may not have been in the infamous Le Bateau -Lovoir. I do know Picasso and Jacob did both live in this building.
 birthplace of cubism at La Bateau Lavoir
Le Bateau-Lavoir was an artist's commune. Really it looked more like a trash heap. When it was windy the whole building swayed and creaked. Dirty and dark, there was no heat and no plumbing. The way it was set up inside was like an ocean liner. In the whole building there was only ONE water tap. One of Picasso's lovers was known to have stayed in bed all day because it was the only place that was warm. In addition, she left a cup of water out all night, and found it frozen solid in the morning. Yet this notorious building housed a ridiculously high number of creative geniuses who would make art history. Click here to read the names of many of those great artists, under "history". Renoir was one of the artists who lived here for awhile, and Suzanne Valadon (who would herself become a painter) was his model. In 1970 it was mostly destroyed by fire, but the facade remained. It was rebuilt in 1978.

So, although those crazy bohemians partied hard and painted free, life was hardly easy. Just like now, artists lived in the cheapest places they could find, hoping against hope that somehow, someday they would become popular and at last have money to live on. A great number of those artists from that era did become famous. Unfortunately, most of them were old or dead by the time it happened.

No, life was not easy. These artists didn't paint because it was fun or because it was popular or easy. They painted only for one reason. They painted because they had to. It was why they were born.
I promise to come back to "Those Crazy Bohemians again soon. I hope you are enjoying my blogposts about these wonderful artists who changed the face of the art world forever, in the most creative and wonderful ways.

Caddy Rowland is a novelist and painter. Her social media links follow.
To find out about her novels (including The Gastien Series, a story that begins with a bohemian artist in France) visit
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Introducing the Final Book in The Gastien Series! Gastien: Circle of Destiny

Today is a day for tooting my own horn. Yes, I'm going to be selfish and talk about my books. You see, I have finally finished my frist series. The Gastien Series in a set of five full length novels. They are adult drama/family saga steeped in history. From the womanizing grandfather, Gastien, to his very conventional son, and now his darling gay namesake, we travel over one hundred years from Paris to the U.S.A. and back again.

This series is very dark and emotional. It is raw, gritty and contains adult scenes and themes. The sex is extremely graphic at times. Why? Because this family lived life to the fullest and didn't hold anything back. (It took the son, Tristan, awhile, but he came around.)

Most of all, the story is about decisions and choices, and how those made in the nineteenth century go on to affect the family for generations to come. The books ask the question of exactly how far you would go to achieve your heart's desire, be that one of love, money or fame. How bad do you want it? Do you have a choice?

I hope you have been following the story. Here, at last, is the final book of The Gastien Series.

Gastien Beauchamp will discover that destiny has a way of completing what it starts. He is the final link of the Beauchamp destiny – a destiny that will not be denied. Being the new darling of the cutthroat New York City art scene is wonderful, but a kiss from his mentor opened a door to a new and terrifying world. America in the 1940s is no easy place to be gay. His secret could cost him more than just his blossoming career. He could lose his life.

As his fame and wealth grow, Gastien’s personal life plummets out of control. Finally embracing who he is, Gastien meets the man of his dreams when he moves to Paris. Unfortunately, that man has vowed to never give love a chance to break his heart again – and everything about Gastien sends loud warning signals to his brain.

Gastien wants it all: fame, fortune, and love.

Maybe that’s asking for too much.

This historical fiction novel is book 5 of a 5 book drama/family saga for adults (The Gastien Series). Each book can stand on its own, but is most compelling read in order.

Please let me know how you like the series. All fair and honest reviews are appreciated at Goodreads and the site where you purchased the books. For Kindle readers (Book 5) For NOOK readers (Book 5) For kobo readers (Book 5) To order paperback (Book 5)

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Twitter: @caddyorpims