Thursday, June 2, 2011
Paint a story
Original oil painting 24x18"
by Susan Roux
A blogging-writer friend recently sent me an excerpt from a book she's writing. It's a very rough draft she told me. I have to tell you it was very interesting to experience the work in progress. I've never stopped to think about writers and their creative process, but suddenly I couldn't get it off my mind.
It fascinated me how the idea she created needed to be "hatched" before outlines and chapters could be written. Just reading a short bit opened my eyes to how the many pieces of the process come together. It gave me a glimpse into her idea and made my imagination run wild, almost to the point of making me feel like I wanted to write this story...
But who am I kidding?
The funny thing was, afterwards I couldn't shake it from my mind. As though clear as freshly washed glass, I realized the aspects that make art good are the same aspects needed in all forms of art, be it writing, dancing, singing etc. The comparisons flooded my head...
Words, like brushstrokes, could be colorful or dull and grouped together to suggest a unified idea. Every paragraph, every chapter needs a focal point. Needless brushstrokes or words only get in the way, busying up the composition. Making it hard to follow. The more I thought of these things, the clearer and clearer creating art became to me.
It's not about painting a girl or a fruit or a tree. We learn to do that very early on in our painting lives. The juice of the matter is to capture these elements with passion. The colors, the strokes we use need to be so unified that a single one missing would render it incomplete. Imagine a song with a crucial note missing? Everything must work harmoniously together, supporting one main idea.
More than an idea, really.
A painting must tell a story. It's what pulls the viewer in, lets their imagination run free therefore keeping them engaged.
A book must paint a picture. It's what pulls the reader in, lets their imagination run free therefore keeping them engaged.
It's the same thing. But with a switch. The painter must tell a story and the writer, paint a picture. As painters we are not painting pictures. Why didn't anyone tell me this years ago? We are telling a story with paint. All you writers, you are not writing a story. You are painting a picture with words. Why was this easier to see through a different form of art?
So in conclusion, if you can follow my skewed way of thinking, artist should be grouped with writers. They'll be the ones who'll let us know if we told a story. Conversely, writers should be grouped with painters so we can help them paint a picture. After all we know how to paint a picture. We could be very helpful with that.
Paint a story. A passionate story.
Now that's a challenge. Go find yourselves writers to help you.
Note: Coming Out was painted from a black and white photo. It's the first time I've attempted this and found it to be completely freeing! Colors weren't dictated at all. How would I have painted such a rainbow hat with suggested colors hampering my imagination?