The Joy of Art

We're talking about how art influences writing this week, and I must admit that this topic terrifies me.  I am analytical, methodical, corporate.  Art and I are still in the getting to know you stage after a few false starts.

My initial forays into the art world were largely unmitigated disasters.

*  There was the etched glass project in art class with a central image that looked more like a pile of doggee doo than a campfire. Easy A?  Right.  That class almost kept me from getting into college.

*  There was the Art History class in college (I made it- that will show you Art!) in which I managed to wake myself (and 300 other students) during a lecture by snoring so loud my head shook.  To be fair, the university should think twice before scheduling a 2:00 p.m. class that involves a dark room and slide presentations.

*  Then there were the Christmas cookies that were so pathetic I lied and said my small children decorated them when passing them out to neighbors.

Yeah, me and Art were off to a slow start.

But then, there was the year I decided I needed a hobby.  I spent two hours in Michael's and came out with a bag full of watercolors, paint brushes and paper.  I had no training, no technique and no clue.  And I painted.

A weird thing happened.  I was inspired.  I dub it my silly-animals-doing-silly-things phase. Collectors take note:  only four paintings survived.  One is hanging proudly in my parent's living room above the couch.  The second belongs to my sister.  My ex's parents might still have the third (or it may be out there somewhere-waiting to be discovered).  The fourth is the painting on the right.  I labeled it "At the Barre."  When the movers came to pack up our house, they labeled it "Child's Artwork."

So what?  So what if my art looked like a nine year old's school project?  I learned something from the process.  Art isn't about talent.  It's about inspiration.  Creation.  Filling the empty spaces inside.  Surprising yourself.  Art is taking risks even if the result is less than perfect.  It means never being afraid to try something new.

And having fun.

That's what I try to take with me into writing, the sheer joy of creation. The wonderful surprises that your characters spring on you just when you think you know exactly what's going to happen. Art is about discovery.  Seeing the world from a different perspective.

And so Art and I have a made a tentative peace.  I no longer despise it.  It doesn't put me to sleep.  I'm not intimidated by it either.  Art is just me letting my subconscious play.

This is a photograph taken in Monterey a few years ago.  It was a happy accident that the waves broke just as I snapped a shot of my daughter leaning into the wind, but the combination of movement and stillness in the picture perfectly captures the teen experience to me:  Something is coming that you can't stop.  It's overwhelming and beautiful and scary and inevitable.

 Art and I had a rough start, but I think this might be going somewhere.  We'll have to see.



Very nice, Talia. Actually, you seem to be pretty good! Keep on trying!

The sheer joy of creation! You've captured it exactly, Talia. In the beginning stages it's just you & the art, alone, nobody judging, nobody listening (to snores, or off-notes, or odd metaphors!).

Capture that joy...what a great reminder. Thank you.

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