Painted outline for The Merchants of Light by Marta Maretich

Watercolor and gouache on watercolor paper with permanent black ink notes. 50 X 40cm. Colors key into the moods of the various part sections and the character of their narrators.

My novel, The Merchants of Light, tells the story of a family of painters who lived in 18th century Venice, the Tiepolos. To enter into the spirit of their lives and their visual work, I painted my working outline for the book. Each section is distunguished by a different color, with narrator, place and time noted in pen. Artworks by Tiepolo and his family are key to the story. The important paintings for each section are noted on the left.

I did this outline very early in the drafting process to free up my mind and think in color, not words. I treated it lightly and expected to make many changes. I only made one, which you can clearly see in the outline: switching narrator from Giambattista to Lorenzo Tiepolo in part three. Even I found that amazing.