Through the Eyes of an Artist


As writers, we initially tend to be either more cerebral or emotional than perceptive. Its occurs to me that writers are driven to express what they actually haven't figured out how to say verbally, but long to say somehow. Then, we at least have the struggle down on paper where we can move it around, erase it, start over and add to it. Seeing the words will perhaps give us a better chance of revising to something close to what we want to say.

Written expression is a bittersweet struggle, according to most writers who've written about writing. The need to write seems to come from a deep need, as I expect does most art. When the words work, we are elated, and when they don't and especially after a long struggle, we're often dismayed or despondent.

We learn when our writing says what we want that it has begun with what we see, touch, smell, hear, and only then with what we make of it by way of our minds and emotions. Surprisingly to both the new writer and the new visual artist, our art, when it is art, comes directly and spontaneously from our senses. It feels almost instinctual and sometimes spiritual when it's right and maybe that tricks us into thinking that art comes from a mystical place. We see the painting or we read the words that make our hearts sing and we almost assume some magical origin.

As we learn, though, when we attempt to create from a mystical place within ourselves, art eludes us. Still, art is an expression that reflects us in some, however obscure, mysterious ways. This said, art is not a quick Polaroid, a case study of a character or the facts of a story laid out upon a page either.

Art intimates a sensual reality, rather than imitating it.

Picture a Van Gogh in your mind. Let the painting flash across your mind's eye. A simple room, the color yellow and other bright and contrasting and complimentary colors; a rough blue shoe bent and shaped to the form of a man's foot; a bright flower open and screaming its vibrant life at you, the viewer; and a tall, dark and texturally swirling tree contrasted by bright white and yellow stars colors. We see that art is shades, values, structure, relationships, textures and forms. We feel a kind of wholeness or joy.

Now, think of Joyce Carol Oates' writing, a woman sitting tensed upon the edge of her seat, holding herself rigid, dressed in gray, a small stain at the white-ringed wrist of the dress. Through quick and telling detail of sight, Oates hints to us of character, scene and thereby, story, without ever filling in all of the numbers. She gives us not an entire snapshot, but an intimation. We strongly suspect that we know the current attitude of the woman. Aha! We read on.

Perceptions, whether expressed by a visual artist, a Van Gogh, or an excellent writer, provide us with sensual hints, drawing us in and wanting more. How exactly Van Gogh will execute the form, what Oates will have her character say and do, are almost imperceptably secondary to the perceptual hints at the realities shared with the viewer or reader. Without these perceptual glimpses, we turn from the work, bored, as bored as by the case study or the Polaroid.

The perception of alertness of Oates' woman begins with a woman. the woman's alertness is told to us in how she actually sits at the edge of her chair. Oates' needn't say, "The woman is alert," because she has shown us. Van Gogh does not need to correctly diagram the shape of his yellow room for us. He has made it just enough the shape of a room and containing what a room might plausibly contain that we instantly believe it to be a room. A diagram of the room would be of little interest.

Upon and through the artist's perceptions, character and story are both built and conveyed, whether painter or writer. In our quest to become fully human, we seek the arts, whether our own creations or others'.

Jolyn Wells-Moran, PhD, wrote while working in the mental health field for 24 years and is now a full-time freelance writer and oil painter living alternately in France and Washington State. She has written four published non-fiction books, many articles, short stories, curricula, business materials and is currently working on a novel, "Another Margarita Please." Another book is planned for 2006. Jolyn's website features one of her specialties, writing policies, procedures and other materials for non-profits at reasonable rates: See http://www.webspawner.com/users/writing adventures/ Her novel is at her fiction website: http://jolynwellsmoran.com and she can be reached at reasonablewriter@yahoo.com


MORE RESOURCES:
RELATED ARTICLES
Writers: Dr. Phil Goes Fishing with Oprah in His Tackle Box, Shouldn't You?
Dr. Phil's Life Strategies, #1 New York Times Bestseller catches us on page one.
Create Confidence With Your Writing
Whether you are writing a magazine article, composing a press release, or editing the sales copy on your website, the end goal is always the same - to influence the thinking, and probably actions, of other human beings. To do that, your writing must instill confidence in a mind that is inclined to doubt you.
The Cost of Being a Writer
You are the only one who knows what being a writer means to you.You are the only one who knows whether you consider it to be a career, or a pleasant hobby.
Write Possibilities
We writers are a powerful lot. We control time.
Trying Too Hard
If you dread the thought of writing, if you fear your desk, and if you hate your computer, then you are trying too hard.If the thought of writing makes you feel guilty, makes your heartbeat quicker, and makes you sweat, then you are trying too hard.
A Freelancers Journey, Part One
Today it begins.I have always known I was a freelancer.
Boost Your Income With Trade Journals
Why would anyone want to write for trade journals? Aren't the topics are dry? Don't they require specialized knowledge? Not necessarily. You may want to consider trade journals to increase the potential market for your articles - and for the money.
Learning How To Write
As a student of Spanish, my goal was to think in Spanish. Skipthe word-by-word translation so I'd have the necessary speed tospeak and listen.
Editing
EditingExpect, allow, and accept that every first draft will represent your lowest standard and have at it.A first draft is just that, a draft with its lack of organization, lack of cogent thought, poor syntax, grammatical errors, typos and spelling slip-ups, and other inaccuracies.
Creating a Writing Space
It's important to have a space set aside in your home for writing. It can be a big cushion in a corner of your closet with a notebook and pen, if that's all you have room for, or perhaps the back seat of your car because that's the only place you can get some peace and quiet, but it should be all yours, waiting for you whenever it's time to write.
Journaling
How many of you take the time to really write down your thoughts?Do you know that journaling not only lets you "work" out problems but releases tension and gets the problem off your mind.I started journaling about 10 years ago right after I had my first son.
Are You Feeling Dash-ing? Using Punctuation for Effect and Influence
The dash--that curious mark of punctuation people use in their email and letters. Not the hyphen (-), but the dash (--).
Check Your English Grammar With This Easy Technique
As an International language, English has been used widelyin online world. Whether you use it to write a sales letter, afollow up, ads headline, an article, and so on, youneed to use it correctly.
How to Have an Effective Reading Group
Writing leads to reading. Therefore, it's only fair to supply my readers with sufficient information on creating an effective reading group, since the last article was based on writing groups.
Another Way to Show Your Expertise: Write a Book!
Maybe you should write a book! This is not as difficult as it sounds. You're already an expert in a field by virtue of your work experience and/or academic credentials.
Whats in a Name? Giving Birth to your Characters
So you've got your plot outlined, a title lined up and the research is done. You're ready to start writing your novel.
Ten Quick Tips for Inexperienced Writers
One of the biggest problems that inexperienced writers have is simply knowing how to get started. If you've unsure of your writing skills, then here are some quick tips to help you get started.
Advice for New Writers
With the advent of email communications in the workplace, it's not uncommon to exchange dozens of messages daily. Sometimes, I sense a writer's "voice" in such messages.
10 Secrets For Everyday Writing Success
During my 25-year career in a variety of professionalpositions in both the private and public sectors I have written literally thousands of letters and memos andhundreds of reports. If I had to boil-down everythingI've learned about practical day-to-day writing for bothpersonal and business purposes into 10 key points, thiswould be my "top 10 list".
The Unwritten World Of The Reality Of Letterwriting
You may wonder why I have chosen this title of this post. Well from my experience is that it is really hard to put the feeling into words about what letter writing means to me.

Home | Articles Site Map