Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Art of "When Love Called"

The Art of When Love Called, Book I of the Glenfield Series

First, let me say that I love the artwork for the cover. I discovered this artist, Burak Ulker, who is from Turkey. I can't imagine an image more appropriate for Lily and the storyline. Burak has graciously agreed to provide covers for the rest of the series! What a stroke of luck!

If you are interested, I am going to be selecting artwork for the short stories and novellas I will be publishing as free/supplemental material that will accompany the Glenfield Series. So, if you have artwork you think should be considered for those free downloads, shoot me an email and we will discuss it.

I’ve had many comments from various people indicating they are curious about the works of art I mention in my novel, When Love Called. Well, the best way for me to satiate your curiosity is to present my pitiful attempt at art appreciation. Art is a fascinating and wonderful expression of our culture. It’s also a gauge of how healthy our culture is. All of us vary on what we consider good art and bad art, so please don’t thrash me for the art I used in my book; it was simply a tool used to “paint a picture” in your mind.

One very important piece in the novel is a giclée on canvass by Tomasz Rut entitled, Campaspe. As you see here, Campaspe is a young lady with soft chestnut hair. She is tastefully arranging her hair, as if she’s preparing to retire for the night. I chose this work because when I see Campaspe, I see Mary, Caton’s first wife. Mary was graceful and elegant, and Caton saw the same qualities in that painting, so he purchased it. The problem was, after Mary died, he wasn’t able to take the painting down. God challenged him as to whether he was in love with the memory of Mary or the painting on the wall.

*Note: In giclée, the ink is sprayed on to your choice of media in millions of colors utilizing continuous tone technology, retaining all the fine detail of the original.

Perhaps the most controversial artwork in When Love Called is also by Tomasz Rut, Exsomnis. Exsomnis is a very passionate and sensual illustration of the desire shared by two lovers. I hesitated over using this piece for several reasons. First, many conservative, old-fashioned readers might view this work as inappropriate. My readers tend to be very old-fashioned, and that’s a trait I identify with very well. While no nudity is revealed in the work, it leaves little to the imagination. Second, this reveals a private moment and I am cautious about taking a private moment too far.

Please, allow me to explain further. I think Christian stories tend to be so filtered that they become sterile. It is my opinion that Christians should be the most passionate lovers when it comes to romance. Christians operate out of genuine and generally unselfish love, as the model union is a man and his wife, not a man and his mistress—or girlfriend. The passion between a married couple should be that of a lifetime of commitment and desire, not a fleeting moment of selfish indulgence. Caton and Lily share a deep desire for each other, and their desires are blessed by God. I believe the passion represented in Exsomnis is indicative of their love. Therefore, I share it with you not as a lusty love scene, but rather the passion of a man for his wife.

Another artist featured in the book is a man from Ajo, Arizona named Joseph Gulick. Mr. Gulick is a master at desert paintings, but with seascapes, his art leaps beyond the skill of a master, and takes on the qualities of genius. I met the Gulicks several years ago when I was spending the summer in Ajo, and when I saw a series of seascapes, I sacrificed what I had in order to secure those paintings.

The first is an oil on masonite entitled, Pacific Sunset. We had trouble getting the photos of the paintings to come out with the precise coloring intended by the artist, but you'll get the idea.

The second oil on masonite is a light house near San Francisco called, St. George Reef Lighthouse.

The last is an accompanying oil on masonite named, Full Sail.

You can see the depth of the waves, and if you stand in front of the original, you can feel the waves as they crash against the shore. Mr. Gulick has captured the sea, and he makes it look easy. Caton and Mary lived their lives in the beautiful Sacramento Mountains in New Mexico. How ironic that they would live in the crux of beauty and still find seascapes enchanting. One can never be satisfied when trying to embrace the grandeur of God’s creation.

Another painter I mentioned is an artist named Alexander Chen, who has a canny ability to seize serenity and beauty. His grasp of heavenly women almost creates a mystical work. His work has been described as sensual but not provocative. I chose his art because of the innocence and wonder alive in the mind of a child. While I never mentioned an exact piece, I will provide you a demo of his work.

Finally, as I take my leave, let me give you one more thought that connects When Love Called to modern art. Jayne is a familiar character, and perhaps the character who draws the most comments. She is dangerous and determined. She is controlling and beautiful. She is a user and a taker. She is selfish and narrow. Yet, she is broken inside and still has the heart of a little girl looking to have a father reach out to hold her. I have made both Lily and Jayne to be musically inclined, and I often thought that the following artwork would depict Jayne’s plight, especially as she comes through the tragedy brought on by her lascivious lifestyle. As is common with the trend I established earlier, it too is a work from Tomasz Rut, Communia, which is a depiction of a young woman expressing a deep spiritual moment.

More of Jayne’s life will be revealed in Book II of the Glenfield Series, Then Came Grace.


Interested in When Love Called? Find out more at


Alison said...

So how did you find Chen and Rut?

Travis said...

On our first carribean cruise. I stumbled across the art auction and absolutely fell in love with their work. The art auction is a really cool event where you can grab some great steals if you enjoy or need art. I've bid on a few items--If only I had a house large enough to hang my trouphys... Chen might be my favorite of the artists mentioned, but I'm a big fan of Rut's work, mostly because his art lends to the style of writting that suits me best.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for publishing the art work that you so aply describe in your novel. After all a picture is worth a thousand words. An avid fan

Travis said...

Thank you for your comment. The various seemingly pointless or vague elements to my stories tend to be placed there because they amplify the story line. I appreciate your thoughts and I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Kerin said...

Hello! I recently joined the Coquille Valley Art Association in Oregon State. This is a wonderful little gem of a place and I was so surprised to learn that they didn't have a web site. So consequently I began working on one in earnest!

One post I wanted to get in right away was the raffle for a sea painting by Joe Gulick. He was an association member here prior to moving to Arizona.

I wasn't personally familiar with Mr. Gulick's work so upon researching him online, I ran across your blog.

How very interesting that three of his works are part of your novel "When Love Calls". I've added a link to your blog along with the photo and other information on the painting he so generously donated to our Art Center. Surely the winner of the raffle and other association members will now very much want to read your novel.

If you'd like to see this post it is at If that address doesn't work, please try as we're in the process of remapping to the permanent domain name.

gzusfreek said...

Travis, this was a great post. I felt like I was at an event. I'll have to read it again.

I have to look up more on Gulick --Ajo, AZ? I've been there. It is the most unique place I've ever been. Not much there except abandoned mines and a really, really cool litte church. I'll have to send pics.

My dad has some Rut in his bedroom and above his sunken tub. I like his passion.

Can't wait to pick up "When love Calls"

Travis said...

Thanks for stopping!
Ajo is a very unique place. You have to intend to visit or you'll never find it. The Gulicks are great people, and Joe is my favorite artist--hands down!

If I could figure out how to do it, I'd do a post on the music I featured in When Love Calls. Sadly, it is beyond my ability. The force isn't with me.

Travis said...

Oh, KM--
I did a book signing at the Barnes and Nobles in Tempe last year. I don't know if any are left, but I left 5 signed copies at that bookstore...

Tracy said...

Very interesting, Will. I really know nothing of art except for a bit of Thomas Kincade and Ron Dicianni. And I love Monet. It was nice to be able to see what you were talking about in the book. Can't wait for the next one!

Travis said...

Thanks, Tracy.
I was told years ago that art appreciation is like drinking wine. Either you like it or you don't. I think it should be that simple. Most art I could care less about. But there are a few that I really latch on to. I do like Kincaid, but his pictures are so big! I have a small house already!

sharilyn said...

wow. what a great idea, will... to let us into the mind of the author and his use of seemingly small bits of his book. i must admit i never put much thought to what the paintings looked like while i was reading the story... but i love seeing them now. thanks for sharing!

i love the lines of the woman in the first painting (the Mary representative). i also really like the one of the couple... it is a beautiful, yet not vulgar or "too much" depiction of the passion and love between a husband and wife. nicely done.

Travis said...

Thanks for the affirmation. I often wonder how many people Google the paintings to see what they look like. I know of a few, for they have contacted me to say so.

Anonymous said...

I will have to find the book you mention here, as Joseph Gulick is my grandfather! I have one of his seascapes that I received for my 16th birthday, and I have always treasured it. It is proudly displayed above my fireplace!

Travis said...

To my anonymous friend-

Your grandfather is my favorite artist of all times. To me he is better than any contemporary in his genre, and a good man to boot.

Anytime I'm close to Ajo, AZ, I try to stop and visit. Please tell him hello for me and tell him that I think of the Gulicks often!

Sorry it took me so long to respond to this post. My email sent your comment to my spam folder!

Kristen M Jackson said...

I am curious if you know how I could contact Mr. Gulick? I have one of his seascapes entitled "Midnight Glow." It was my late father', purchased back in 1979 before I was even born. It was always one of my dad' favorites. I'd like to see where I could find more of his beautiful work.

Travis said...

Thanks for stopping by. If you email me, I will send you the contact information you have requested.


Travis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
julia said...

Alexander Chen is just as amazing, you can find his and Ruts hand signed limited edition work here:

Anonymous said...

I have three paintings by Joe Gulick. One of them he painted for me personally in memory of my mom...who loved him dearly!! I lost touch with him when he moved to AZ. He is one of the nicest men I have ever met. I would love to re-connect with him if possible.

Travis said...

Thank you for stopping and saying hello. It's always a pleasure to meet a fellow Gulick fan!

Gloria said...

I too would like to contact Mr.Gulick,having bought one of his seascapes many years ago when he was at a Masters show in Santa Cruz,Ca.
I want to THANK HIM for his generosity in telling my mother how he made the waves so transparent.
2 days later she returned with her own seascape--Exactly capturing the
transparency of His Waves!
Both Paintings are my Treasured possessions! (gloria lorenzo, 12-4-11
Gloria Lorenzo (

Travis said...

Thanks for stopping by, and I'm sorry it took me so long to respond. I will contact you via email and help you locate Mr. Gulick.

Anonymous said...

We have an a Gulick seascape on masonite purchaesd in Gold Beach, Or. at the time Joseph lived there. We love the painting and are wondering what it is worth.

carol hood said...

my husband and I just left Ajo yesterday where we once again spent time with the Gulicks . I am fortunate to have had the privilege of having Joe as my art mentor and teacher - and although he's now 90, he'a still painting and his work (I think) is more breathtaking than ever. I appreciate all the kind words about Joe's work and I know he will appreciate them too - so I will pass on your comments next time we talk. If anyone is interested in purchasing more of his work, I can be contacted through my website www and will gladly help you in connecting with this extronary man. If you look on my website, on the "about the artist" page, you will see that he's noted as my mentor and teacher - I honestly feel that he is one of the most talented but not widely recognized seascape artists of all time - Carol Hood

Travis said...

Carol, Thank you for your generous words. I can see that we mutually share deep appreciate and even affection for the Gulicks. I couldn't agree with you more, and I'm happy to leave that link available for anyone who is lucky enough to purchase some of his work. Please extend my warmest greetings to them, and tell them that their work hangs on my walls to this day.

carol hood said...

Thank you for responding and I will certainly pass on your message to The Gulicks. My walls are also adorned with Joe's work and I love talking to anyone who appreciates the genius of his work - thanks again and take care - Carol