Blood, Water, Paint

by Joy McCullough Year Published: 2018 Historical fiction

“And listen to me love, when a woman risks her place, her very life to speak a truth the world despises? Believe her. Always.”

Have you been in the mood for both a heart-breaking and uplifting read? Here is a feminist story about an iconic painter who never received credit. This story is based on the life and legacy of Artemisia Gentileschi who struggled to be a painter for her talentless father, navigated womanhood without the guidance of her mother, and fought to speak her truth in a world that wanted to silence her. 

I love how the story is very colorful, as the book is told in verse and describes every detail as if you’re painting a picture yourself. The story also takes you down some dark paths, from the loss of her mother to reporting the man who raped her. My favorite part about this book is the presence of her mother and the stories she would tell Artemisia about strong women from the past. Her mother and the women from the stories are like angels sitting on her shoulder, giving her strength and advice as she walks this world alone. 

Artemisia was an amazing artist. Still to this day, we have no idea how many paintings she created. She did not receive any credit for the many that bear her father’s signature instead of hers. At first, I had no idea what this book was about nor did I expect it to have such a huge impact on me. I adore this novel and its lessons. I encourage anyone who wants a light read with a heavy plot to give Blood Water Paint a shot.

~Arri