Finalist, Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition, 2018
Excerpt from Eleionomae, The River Nymph
.Sir Alfred rose and strode across the hall, his dressing gown fluttering. He paused in front of his masterpiece, ‘Eleionomae, The River Nymph’, the painting with which he had established his reputation, a gold-medallist at the Paris Salon. He scrutinized it intently. He had rendered the nymph life-sized and nude, pale-skinned and smooth, against a background of brushwork that was intended to evoke a riverbank and bulrushes. Her dark hair was highlighted with droplets of water and in her right hand was a waterlily. Sir Alfred recalled the youthful passion with which he had executed the painting. Striving by day-light and lamp-light in that grimy studio in Tottenham Court, impelled by the necessity to prove his talent, to fulfil his ambition - or else be forced to return to his job as a corset-maker in his father’s shop in Charing Cross Road. It occurred to him then that it was Eleionomae who was the love of his life. His obsession with her had preoccupied him for over forty years as he recreated her beauty in a series of celebrated paintings. He got down on bended knee...
I loved inventing stories when I was a child – I spent my childhood curled up on my bedroom floor writing and illustrating stories – but I didn’t return to them until earlier this year when I took an evening class called ‘Find Your Voice’ at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Open Learning. Writing in a group situation was an extremely positive experience: it put pressure on me to produce something (rather than just dreaming about it), and I felt that I was writing for the members of the group – for their entertainment. Their encouragement gave me the confidence to enter the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Award 2018 with Eleionomae, The River Nymph.
My background is in the visual arts: I studied painting at Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Academy, and history of art at the University of Edinburgh. I have exhibited my paintings at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and Royal Scottish Academy, and illustrated for Hatchard’s bookshop and the Scottish Storytelling Centre. I work as an arts educator at the National Galleries of Scotland, The Queen’s Gallery, Art in Healthcare and the University of Edinburgh Centre for Open Learning. I love researching and writing about art, and I am particularly interested in Victorian painters and illustrators. I have a studio in a garret overlooking the Pentland Hills, within earshot of the bells of the cathedral.
This is my blog where I post my recent paintings and stories: www.emilylavinialearmont.wordpress.com
You can see my illustrations here: www.emilylearmontillustration.co.uk
And watch a film: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j43kHxT_RA
You can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org