Blood Water Paint

Blood Water Paint

A debut novel based on the true story of the iconic painter, Artemisia Gentileschi.Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father's paint.She chose paint.By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome's most talented...

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Title:Blood Water Paint
Author:Joy McCullough
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Edition Language:English

Blood Water Paint Reviews

  • Mackenzi

    I LOVE this book.

    Official blurb/review to come.

  • alice (arctic books)

    Simply put, BLOOD WATER PAINT is a stunning and heartbreaking novel. I finished this in one sitting, partly because it was in free verse so the pages went by incredibly quickly, and partly because the writing and plot were so captivating.

    BLOOD WATER PAINT follows Artemisia, a young artist living in 17th century Italy, who lives to paint, paints to live. In the aftermath of rape, Artemisia tries to find solace in a couple of her painting’s subjects, Susanna and Judith, who ultimately brings an in

    Simply put, BLOOD WATER PAINT is a stunning and heartbreaking novel. I finished this in one sitting, partly because it was in free verse so the pages went by incredibly quickly, and partly because the writing and plot were so captivating.

    BLOOD WATER PAINT follows Artemisia, a young artist living in 17th century Italy, who lives to paint, paints to live. In the aftermath of rape, Artemisia tries to find solace in a couple of her painting’s subjects, Susanna and Judith, who ultimately brings an inner voice of strength to her during the trial. I couldn’t stop reading this novel, as it was so well thought out and harrowing.

    Written in free verse, BLOOD WATER PAINT is an emotional and poignant historical read, based upon the real Artemisia. It’s written with feminist and empowering verses, themes of grief and anger towards a completely misogynistic society. Throughout the novel, there are also portions of other stories, following the Artemisia’s Susanna and Judith in their own struggles.

    Overall, Joy McCullough’s debut novel is one of my favorite books of this year and one of the best books I’ve ever read. If you’re a feminist, like poetry, and enjoy historical fiction novels based on real people, this one is definitely for you.

    Thank you to Penguin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • destiny ☠ howling libraries

    sexual assault, misogyny, suicidal thoughts, violence, brief physical torture, victim-blaming, slut-shaming, murder, betrayal.

    When I was given the opportunity to participate in a blog tour for this book’s release, I was absolutely elated. I didn’t know much about the writing itself, but I knew that it was historical fiction (check), feminist (check), widely beloved by a slew of my favorite authors (check), and about an actual human being (

    sexual assault, misogyny, suicidal thoughts, violence, brief physical torture, victim-blaming, slut-shaming, murder, betrayal.

    When I was given the opportunity to participate in a blog tour for this book’s release, I was absolutely elated. I didn’t know much about the writing itself, but I knew that it was historical fiction (check), feminist (check), widely beloved by a slew of my favorite authors (check), and about an actual human being (check). Those were all of the traits that I was expecting, but what I wasn’t expecting was for the book to be written mostly in verse (incredible), partially in second-person narrative (haunting), one of the heaviest and most heart-breaking things I would ever read (devastated me), and one of the single most

    works of literature to ever grace my shelf.

    Artemisia’s words are beautiful, angry, passionate, and chilling—but if you already know where it’s headed, it’s a tough one to read. Have you ever watched two vehicles collide? It feels like time slows down right before it happens, and of course, you wish you could stop it before it begins, but you’ll never be quick enough. You’ll never manage to go back in time, to put yourself in exactly the right moment, the right space, to prevent these damages from occurring.

    feeling—that utter helplessness—was precisely where I found myself through every page I turned.

    The painter isn’t some flawlessly happy protagonist: she’s angry, exhausted, and bitter, but in all the best ways. At such a young age, she’s already seen enough of the world to become jaded. We don’t have to watch Artemisia learn distrust—it’s already there, right where it’s been since the day of her birth. Right where it’s been since the day any baby girl is born into a world that wants to raise her like a lamb for the slaughter.

    I adored Artemisia’s tenacity, her weariness with the world of men, because I related so strongly to it. After twenty-five years on this earth, I’ve seen and felt enough to nearly lose hope, and in the verses our painter weaves, there’s this beautiful, bittersweet sort of comfort. There’s a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, a voice saying,

    It’s everything I wish I’d had as a little girl. It’s everything I want little girls to have, present and future. I want stories that tell young girls, already red-faced from the touches and gazes of society, that it’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to want

    and

    Alongside Artemisia’s poetry, we get brief glimpses of her late mother’s bedtime stories in prose. Her mother has passed on years before the story takes place, but the second-person narrative we’re given from her is so beautiful and fiery that it makes it impossible not to love her, despite never actually “meeting” her. We instantly see where Artemisia’s fire comes from. More than that, as a mother, I’m reminded of how easy that flame is to pass on when we nurture its spark.

    And if you’re thinking to yourself that all of these words are empty insults flung at kindly, innocent victims, wrongfully attributed with malice where they meant only compliments and courting, Joy McCullough stops you there, too.

    isn’t just a story of anger and assault. Artemisia’s attacker isn’t just the handsome teacher with the roaming hands and hips—it’s the judge and jury, too. It’s the entire world of onlookers, literally

    her in hopes that she will rescind her claims, accept the loss of what was ripped away from her and tuck herself away into a silent corner while the world spins on.

    I wish I could say this was just a beautiful story, but what you have to know is that Artemisia was a real woman. This is her true, brutal story. These are her truths, taken from the chapters that will never make it into most history texts. More than just

    truths, these are the truths of 1 in 6 American women (and 1 in 33 American men, with higher rates for trans women and trans men, respectively). These are the truths of individuals of all walks of life, all gender identities and sexual orientations, all nationalities and skin colors, all religions and ages, all wealth classes and educational statuses, worldwide,

    This book may be historical fiction, but nothing about what happened to Artemisia has been left in the past.

    Perhaps the most important aspect of

    , though, is one I haven’t touched upon yet: how incredibly, desperately, unspeakably

    it is that we listen to victims and believe their stories.

    Through Artemisia’s story, and her mother’s bedtime tales of the biblical Susanna and Judith, we are reminded again and again that we—especially those of us identifying among the same groups who are at highest risk for assault—absolutely

    support, love, and trust victims when they come to us. Whether we are survivors or not, it is so essential that we take the necessary steps to creating a world where we put rapists on trial, not victims.

    I think I could stretch this review on for days, with the way this book impacted me.

    is brutal. It will not kindly lead you into its metaphors and parables; it will leave you breathless from gut punches you didn’t see coming. As a survivor, there are phrases in this book that mirrored my own thoughts so profoundly that my own blood felt like ice in my veins. I implore you, please practice self-care while reading—but

    pick up a copy of this book. Find it in a bookstore, ask your library to add it to their collections, borrow it from a friend. Get this story into your hands and let it break you open and remind you of how far we still have to come. Let it remind you of the actions

    can take to help us get there.

    You can find this review and more on my

    , or you can follow me on

    ,

    , or

    !

  • Kai

    "

    "

    Okay, okay, hear me out: a feminist young adult historical novel written in verse. About a female painter who wins a trial against her rapist - in 1612.

    This is the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, a young woman living in Rome with her family. Her father sells paintings signed with his name, even though it is Artemisia who does all the work. Her mother, long dead now, once told her goodnight-stories

    "

    "

    Okay, okay, hear me out: a feminist young adult historical novel written in verse. About a female painter who wins a trial against her rapist - in 1612.

    This is the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, a young woman living in Rome with her family. Her father sells paintings signed with his name, even though it is Artemisia who does all the work. Her mother, long dead now, once told her goodnight-stories of strong women trying to survive in the world of men. Today she finds solace in these tales. When a handsome young artist comes into her home and promises to take her under his wing and free her from her malicious father, Artemisia falls in love with him - until he does not take a no for a no.

    Now Artemisia faces a trial: she may loose the only thing she has left - her ability to paint - and no one might ever believe her. But with the help of the women from her mother's stories, she fights for truth and justice.

    This was such a powerful and intense read. The first time I fell in love with this book was when I saw the cover, the second time when I read the first page. Most of this book is written in verse; hoewever, there are a few chapters in usual, written form: the stories of Judith and Susanna. We see the hardships and choices these three women have to face and they are all equally terrifying and captivating.

    What I love even more than a well-written young adult novel are books that talk about inequality and injustice; books that teach young readers that, even though all humans are equal, women continue to be overlooked and surpressed. These books point out the injustice done to girls and women around the world while they educate and empower their readers to do better, to make their voices heard, and to fight for the respect they deserve. Books like

    ,

    and

    are rare but so very important and I will keep talking about them until everybody has read them.

    Review to come

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    This is a hard book to decently review.

    I think it's nigh-impossible to review a verse novel well. And this is not just a verse novel;

    If you've read the blurb, you know this follows the story of 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Or at least, the beginning of her story. When she was seventeen, Artemisia had taken on most of the duties at her father's studio and was preparing to m

    This is a hard book to decently review.

    I think it's nigh-impossible to review a verse novel well. And this is not just a verse novel;

    If you've read the blurb, you know this follows the story of 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Or at least, the beginning of her story. When she was seventeen, Artemisia had taken on most of the duties at her father's studio and was preparing to marry a trusted teacher. Yet it was soon discovered that this teacher was far less than the fine man he seemed. She was raped and violated by him, and forced to undergo a trial for her honor that was violating and involved torture on her part.

    After her full ordeal, the man who had raped her and destroyed the lives of multiple other women was given one year in prison. He was released after six months.

    This book is a powerful exploration not only of Artemisia's strength, but also of the strength of Biblical heroines like Judith and Susanna. It's an exploration of the power we have and the power we take, and it is

    I don't necessarily think the prose was the best I've

    read, but it's certainly quite well-done. Verse novels can occasionally have a tendency to come off false, yet that is not at all a category this falls in to.

    This book is

    and

    and

    and I cannot recommend it enough.

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  • Laura

    This was really quite powerful and beautiful and devastating all at the same time. It is based on the true story of Artemisia Gentileschi, an iconic painter from the seventeenth century.

    is written in verse for the majority of the novel with the exception of the stories of Judith and Susanna which are told in prose by Artemisia's mothe

    This was really quite powerful and beautiful and devastating all at the same time. It is based on the true story of Artemisia Gentileschi, an iconic painter from the seventeenth century.

    is written in verse for the majority of the novel with the exception of the stories of Judith and Susanna which are told in prose by Artemisia's mother, who passed away when she was just twelve years old.

    I'm going to withhold details of the plot, but if you know about Artemisia, you already know where this story will go. Fair warning that rape is unfortunately a part of her story. But damn if this isn't inspiring as hell. Between the stories of Susanna, Judith and Artemisia, there is just so much female strength. It is empowering.

    The writing is gorgeous and truly hooked me. It evoked emotion within me and even brought out such rage for these women and what it was to be a woman in the past. There are still issues today, but that doesn't mean I'm not thankful to be alive this century. I always love when I read a historical fiction novel and want to research everything I can after finishing. That's exactly what I did here. Artemisia's story is fascinating.

    There are beautiful moments showing the disparities between gender roles, the expectations that fall upon Artemisia and what her future can and cannot possibly hold, the fact that she herself is her father's property until she marries - in which case she'd be considered her husband's property.

    To be honest, I had so many quote highlighted that it became hard to pick my favorites. The writing is definitely a star here alongside Artemisia's incredibly powerful story. Highly recommended!

  • Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    Wow. This book was so heavy and powerful and important.

    is a historical novel told in verse following the life of 17th century painter, Artemisia Gentileschi, from the loss of her mother at an early age to her rape and the trial that followed. Blood Water Paint is a moving story about women and power and resolve and it can’t be praised enough.

    This was s

    Wow. This book was so heavy and powerful and important.

    is a historical novel told in verse following the life of 17th century painter, Artemisia Gentileschi, from the loss of her mother at an early age to her rape and the trial that followed. Blood Water Paint is a moving story about women and power and resolve and it can’t be praised enough.

    This was so

    in the best possible way. I feel like novels told in verse are incredibly internal and that worked so beautifully here. I felt Artemisia’s fear, frustration, and drive. She was real, so I connected with her on a personal level and her story affected me on a personal level.

    This entire story was a

    and I love how it was handled. Dissecting who’s believed, who’s valued, who’s punished through her art and her personal life was so raw and parallelled both beautifully and tragically.

    Along with the heavier topics, I loved that the story highlighted the importance of

    and having allies who will believe and support you. I loved seeing Artemisia beginning to explore her own beauty and being a painter and

    . We see her her incredible bravery, even in the face of public shaming and hatred.

    I don’t know if it was because this story is so heavy or if it was that blended with the historical period, but I felt like the story was a

    . It didn’t drag and nothing felt like filler, but the story did feel long.

    was a brilliant debut novel that explores and celebrates the bravery of a 17th painter who was not believed or valued because she was a woman, and is finally given her own voice. This was just a really important story and I’m so happy to have read it.

  • Karima chermiti

    Sometimes it does not matter whether you loved a book or not, what matters more is what the book is trying to say or the themes the story is portraying. To say that I loved this book would be a lie because I liked it but did not love it. so the logic would say that I should give this book three stars but that would’ve been a huge mistake from my

    Sometimes it does not matter whether you loved a book or not, what matters more is what the book is trying to say or the themes the story is portraying. To say that I loved this book would be a lie because I liked it but did not love it. so the logic would say that I should give this book three stars but that would’ve been a huge mistake from my part and that’s way I upped my rating and gave it four stars.

    There is an effortless blend of my genre in this book, it is historical but told through verses of poetry, it is also a young Adult book and it feels like a sort of a biography. It is also informative and educative. The story is centered on the Italian famous painter, Artemis Gentileschi who was born in Rome and lived under the thumb of her father until she was a young lady. Through her story, we are living the hardships that she went through as a woman, as a daughter and as a painter in time where women were considered lesser humans.

    Even though her mother’s death was years ago, she is still reeling from that loss that affected her life in more than one way. She is struggling with her life with her father who is exploiting her talent and taking her art and accomplishments as his own, not only that but he is negligent, verbally abusive and does not care one way or another.

    The book deals with a lot of sensitive issues like abuse, physical torture, rape and misogyny. It also deals with victim blaming an the corruption of the justice system when it comes especially to women and also the slut shaming and the way women are perceived as something to own and to exploit, not as a person worthy of respect. I know that the story feels really bleak but our Artemis is a strong proud woman who fought like hell against the man who used her and who did not shy away from the truth. She found a refugee in her art and her talent and the way she evolved at the end was nothing short of admirable.

  • Giedre

    4.5/5

    The Judith in question? The one that beheaded Holofernes. Specifically, Artemisia Gentileschi's artistic vision of Judith beheading Holofernes. Look it up, and then compare it to, say, Caravaggio's version. The difference between the two paintings is apparent. Now tell me you don't want to know more about Artemisia. Tell me and make me believe it.

    Artem

    4.5/5

    The Judith in question? The one that beheaded Holofernes. Specifically, Artemisia Gentileschi's artistic vision of Judith beheading Holofernes. Look it up, and then compare it to, say, Caravaggio's version. The difference between the two paintings is apparent. Now tell me you don't want to know more about Artemisia. Tell me and make me believe it.

    Artemisia Gentileschi has long been a fascination of mine, so I had really high expectations for

    . Joy McCullough's debut verse novel takes on the monumental task of tackling Artemisia Gentileschi's young adulthood. And if you know anything about Artemisia's life, it's quite a daunting task for any writer. Let's just say Artemisia didn't have it easy. Joy McCullough avoids turning it into torture porn by mostly focusing on Artemisia's inner world.

    is a beautiful piece of work that lights a fire in one's heart.

    I do have one caveat. I might be wrong, but I think

    is a richer experience when one is at least somewhat familiar with Artemisia Gentileschi's life. It's a small thing, of course.

    If you want to know more about her, here's a link to the Artemisia Gentileschi episode of the History Chicks podcast:

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