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Back when I was single and fancy-free (in other words, without a date), I spent a Saturday wandering a local outdoor art show. It was a perfect spring day in Texas and a good many people strolled through the park, taking in each exhibit and buying their favorite pieces of art.

I stopped at the booth that displayed the wispy, watercolor prints of  Texas artist Michael Atkinson. One, titled Secluded Manor, caught my eye. (You can see this print on the Earth Impressions website.)  

As with many of his other works, only the top two-thirds contained the painting. The rest was blank, with the exception of a mare and foal, and his signature v-shaped birds.

Now, anything with a horse receives my wholehearted approval. But something else drew me to this particular print. Rather than only imagining it in my mind, I felt as though I were seeing the setting of a gothic suspense novel I’d read. From the horses in the foregound to the mansard roof of the tree-enshrouded house, the artist had captured, not only the way I’d envisioned the scene, but the romance and suspense of the story.

Though I didn’t buy the print that day, it made such an impression that I saved the amount needed to purchase and frame it. Today, I couldn’t tell you the name of the book, but the writer had painted the setting so strongly that, even now, when I look at that scene on my wall, I remember the emotions evoked while reading the story. I’m right back in the attic room with the imperiled heroine, anxiously looking out a window at the fog-blanketed landscape below. 

Later, I bought another of Michael Atkinson’s prints. It shows a Victorian-era woman waiting on a bench at a train station. Funny, but it reminds me of a scene in my current work, Wings of Refuge. Maybe someday, someone will see it and say to themselves, “That reminds me of Rorie while she waited for the train to Jeremiah.”

Has there been a time when something you saw or heard suddenly transported you back into the setting of a book? What kind of emotions did it bring to mind?

Good ones, I hope.

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