Art Inspirations

The art world has always been a mystery to me. That part of my education was sorely lacking. Picasso's blue period? Monet's watercolors? Van Gough's ear? Abstract vs. Realistic? Walking through a gallery, leaves me slightly intimidated, but mostly confused. Is this painting good? What makes it good? Combine that lack of knowledge with a complete lack of any artistic talent, and you have me. My parents hung my sister's artwork on the wall in the den. They put mine, after carefully praising the effort, under the bed.

I did try. Truly I did. Once I took this pottery class (right after I saw the movie GHOST). Not only did Patrick Swayze NOT appear to coat me in sexy mud while humming a Righteous Brothers song in my ear, but I was by far the worst student in the class. My pottery mug looked more like the cow patties lying out in the field by my grandmother's house (But I still stubbornly drank coffee from it until it "broke" six months later). Although I've finally let go of that particular personal expectation of the artist life, I still fulfill my artistic cravings for expression. For me, though, it's not going to happen with paint or pottery. I create through words, not in mud, and that's a good thing for everyone involved.

So, how do other kinds of art inspire my writing? It was an interesting question the Muses posed for this week's blog topic. To answer it, I looked around at the pictures I surround myself with in my own home and I quickly identified a theme. A couple of years ago, I began buying pieces of art when I traveled--picking up images to remind me of the place and the trip. In the dining room, there's this lovely long stretch of sandy beach from Hawaii. On the staircase, a skewed color burst of a house that is the craziness of New Orleans (see photo above). In my bedroom, a collection of small prints featuring bright Caribbean flowers and ocean views. In my study, a grouping of prints of Napa vineyards. Every time I glance at one of these paintings or prints, I'm instantly back in that setting--hearing the music of New Orleans, smelling the salty sea air of Hawaii, or seeing the burst of colors from Tortula.

The art that inspires me most connects me to place and that's exactly what I hope I accomplish with my writing as well. I want someone reading through a paragraph to instantly be transported to the colors, sounds, and smells of that moment in my story. The writing is my narrative snapshot of an image I want to linger in the minds of a reader long after they've come home from my book.

So what inspires you?


I don't know anything about art either, but I find that the paintings I like are the ones that seem to tell a story. The ones that leave me wondering about the people or places in them. I also tend to buy posters of penguin book covers that I like and hang those on my walls. I hadn't really thought about it before, but I think everything comes back to books with me!

I like the site btw! I live in a very small place (Ireland) and it's surprisingly hard to find other aspiring YA writers to talk to (and by 'talk' I usually mean 'moan and complain') so I've been trawling the web for likeminded lunatics and you've got a whole site full of them! Whoo!

So glad you found us, Overdue! YA authors are probably one of the few people in the world that be completely flattered by the label "likeminded lunatics." Loved it and so agree!

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