Friday, August 1, 2014

Painting and Writing – Twins, Some Say


Petroglyths were the first forms of both writing and art. Before man invented an extensive language and lived long enough that events and people needed to be remembered, it didn’t matter that you could not draw or write, that you had no artistic talent. Some educators today define literacy as a human being who has the ability to write legibly and express meaningful thoughts. Art literacy is considered expendable. What a lot of us do not comprehend is that writing and painting/drawing (hereafter referred to as painting) share similar attributes enough so that we can easily find parallels between the two and use both to strengthen our main interest.

You cannot sit down and paint the perfect picture or write the perfect book. There is always a part of creating of which you are not so confident. You can paint people but you cannot do as good a job on animals. You can describe a scene so the reader feels like he is there but you have trouble writing dialog. You need to scrap off the paint or delete sections reworking until it is satisfying.

Are you able to visualize the completed painting before you start? Do you have a general idea of the composition of the painting but rearrange and change your mind as you continue to work? A detailed outline helps many writers get started. They feel they have done the majority of the work so the writing part is easy. While in Carrera, Italy, we visited an outdoor marble sculptor who first carved an entire, detailed replica of what his large sculpture would look like. It gave him an idea where problems may occur, if it looked in reality like it does in his mind and if his perspective is correct. 

I can easily buy into the right-brain, left-brain theory. Some people are not suited for the structured classroom and rigid curriculums. Right-brained people are described as thinking visually, intuitive and subjective and are often people who can solve problems creatively because they do not think linearly like right-brained people. Left-brained people are attentive to details, logical, analytical and objective. Into which side do you fall?

Writing must have plot and story to keep the reader interested. So do paintings. If you see the sunset  in the middle of the painting and move on to the next picture, you may miss the spider web in the lower right corner and the partially hidden canoe in the background. Those details tell a story.

Paintings express the artist’s thoughts, feelings and emotions even if it is a commissioned work with specific parameters. Novels are the same. We bring to these tasks our experiences, knowledge, feelings and emotions

If you look at Renoir’s “Luncheon on The Lake”, we can follow the yellow color from the tips of the shade cover, to the food on the table, the men's hats and background flags. In Gone with The Wind, we follow the lives of Scarlett, Rhett, Melanie and Ashley plus Miss Pitty Pat. In both instances, we look for the connections and why and how do these things and people tie together. What is their relationship? Why did the painter use yellow and why can we both like and dislike Scarlett? Artists and scribes use themes to give the viewer or reader a satisfying experience through development of these alike techniques.

Since painting and writing are so similar, I think the next time I am stuck in my writing, I may put it aside and draw. Maybe the art muses will talk to the writing muses in the room.

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