Art Feeds Art

My experience as a writer is that experiencing other forms of art feeds my writing.  Perhaps it's a painting, a photograph, or the name of a piece of music that triggers something deep inside and the there's-a-poem-in-that voice speaks up.  Or maybe it's a line in a novel or in another poem that calls up the muse with a new line whispering itself into my ear.  Sometimes just the act of Doing Art will loosen me up and carry me into a creative space where words can enter in, unbidden, and coalesce into a poem.

Don't get me wrong -- I am not a painter, photographer, sketcher, sculptor, or any other form of visual artist in any sense of the word.  But I do like to dabble in visual art, and especially in drawing and watercolors.  Said dabbling is always done in secret, except for the time I made a really awesome Yoda valentine and surprised the heck out of the Bean and AJ, not to mention Husband.  But last week, I saw a flyer for a visual journaling workshop and decided to go.  It was held last night at my friendly neighborhood art supply store, Wet Paint (by the way, public service announcement for paper lovers in and around South-of-the-River:  all pads and notebooks are 20% off through the end of this month.  My favorite kind of white sale!).

Visual journaling is just what it sounds like:  keeping a journal of things you can see, rather than a journal made exclusively of words.  The artist who led the workshop has several different visual journals going:  her "life" book (which contains sketches and paintings of things from her everyday life, like the shoes she wore that day or a person she talked to), her buildings book (filled with sketches of buildings, or elements of buildings), her travel book, etc.  As an avid journaler (pretty much words-only up to now) and occasional art-dabbler,  I found the idea intriguing.  Here is a link to some visual journals if you're interested; click on one of the links under "Recent Journals" and you'll be able to click through a visual journal page by page.

While I was at the workshop, I learned about a series currently unfolding on The New York Times called Line By Line.  Here's how the Times describes it:  "A series on learning the basics of drawing, presented by the artist and author James McMullan.  Line By Line begins with installments on line, perspective, proportion and structure, and continues from there, using examples from art history to illuminate specific issues.  Pencil and paper recommended."  There's a new installment every Thursday; yesterday was the second installment so it's not too late to grab your pencil and paper, play a little catch up, and begin.  Free drawing lessons, folks.  I'm in.  Here's the link if you want in, too.

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