Monday, May 16, 2011
Read then Write, Look then Paint
I can use the excuse that it's the fast food pace I've grown up with, but I miss important things because of this mentality. So, like any other in the self-help generation, without much training in anything, I've figured out how to enjoy digging for details.
Was that a cliff-hanger last sentence? I consider myself a slow learner with a lot experience with epiphanies, that wouldn't be epiphanies if I'd learned the first time around. So, what I'm writing here might very well be a 'duh,' to some people.
In writing, I've been reading some great writers. I actually start off writing my novel and when I feel strained or like I'm rushing my character to the good part, I stop. I pick up a good writer's book, this time it was "A Hat Full of Sky," by Terry Prachett, and read for an hour. I get lost in the author's ability to take a mundane detail and make me care about it. He is a brilliant writer. Refreshed and inspired, then I return to my own writing.
I've been especially challenged to include details in my paintings . I've been working on a New Mexico Ridgenose Rattlesnake painting for my next book, and the composition requires a point of view from ground level, close up. This means my foreground, made up of leaves, needs to have a lot of detail. The two animals, the snake and a mouse (his prey,) are the main elements I paint using my dot style. Dot painting is my favorite part, so I rush through the background to get to that part.
Needless to say, I've had a hard time on the leaves. I keep adding more and more because layering them distracts the eyes, so having less detail is not as noticeable. I know leaves are beautiful and have unique, amazing patterns but I can't stand taking the time to add them. I've stopped many times on this painting and referred to my own backyard and other artist's works for inspiration.My husband told me a couple of days ago to just move on "the leaves are fine," but they weren't to me, they felt wrong. Finally, today, after probably 10 hours over five days, I feel I've reached an almost happy place and plan on moving to the dots -- whew.
It's the details that make the writing and painting that much greater. In the end, it's worth all the struggle and stretch outside my comfort zone, if something beautiful is created.