I had a blog on blogspot until I read recently that it isn’t as popular as it once was. It made me a few friends and snagged me a lit agent with one of the top literary agencies in Beverly Hills and a super manager, though I have yet to sell something. So far, I’ve got two projects in development hell, but the association’s garnered me a Mac, a $1,000+ Wacom pen tablet (you’ll see why that’s so important to me in a bit,) and a week in Beverly Hills at a four-star hotel, gratis.

When I’m not writing, I restore and colorize vintage images of historical figures like Civil War soldiers, classic Hollywood stars, and anonymous nobodies whose names have been lost to the ages. I do that to take the edge off and kill time. If it were possible I’d do it full time because, much as I love writing, it does get old. Plus, restoring old images gives you instant gratification.

The one question I get asked most  (after “How do you do that?!” “How long does it take?”) is about the name Claroscureaux. I’ll explain it once here so I won’t have to again in the future, because it’s as boring-ass a story as every other story about how a name came about.

When I first started restoring and colorizing digital images (which, by the way, came from a childhood wish to know what “old people” in black and white images would have looked like in color) and pimping them on the internet, I didn’t want to use my real name, the one I sign off with on writing projects. For some unfathomable reason, I didn’t think the two should mix. Like pissing in bath water. It just didn’t feel right. There’s writing, and then there’s this. Two different things.

I stumbled across an Italian art term that stuck with me like bad BO.  Chiaroscuro.

1. The pictorial presentation in terms of light and shade without regard to color

2. the quality of being veiled or partly in shadow

It sounded arty and had just the right ring of pomposity to it.  Of course, I don’t speak Italian (French, oui, mon fils d’putain) and would have been hard put to pronounce it correctly, so I looked for its Spanish equivalent.

Claroscuro. Better. Certainly easier to pronounce. Rolls right off the GD tongue. I took it a step further, aborted the final o and replaced it with eaux, a nod to my Cajun ancestry.

Below is a Before/After example of what I do, with an image that comes courtesy of the Library of Congress’s massive Liljenquist collection of Civil War images.