Monday, July 23, 2012

Author As Visual Artist

This weekend I came across the art book Doubly Gifted: The AUTHOR As VISUAL ARTIST by Kathleen G Hjerter. It's a collection of art work by writers. There were many represented: Goethe, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, T.S. Eliot, and Hart Crane among others.

I was particularly impressed by Hart Crane's "Trees", an oil on canvas featuring strong blues and blacks. Even more impressive was August Strindberg's wonderful oil painting of a stormy sky over a bay, "The Town". E.E. Cummings was quite the watercolor artist. Hermann Hesse made a strong showing too. Among the more popular writers was James Michener, Colleen McCullough (acrylics), and John Updike.

I was uplifted by the collection. Many writers have also been painters, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, William Faulkner, and Dylan Thomas. Some of the quots by the authors indicated strongly that painting helped them in their writing.

I was beginning to have some self-doubts about beginning drawing and painting courses (although, for this first course I plan on just taking drawing). But seeing this book has given me new confidence.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Critique of my work in progress

Today, the first 250 words of my novel The Battlefields of Love are critiqued by Kelley Lynn at falling4fiction. I'm impressed by her reading and comments. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Following Your Dreams

I'm beginning a new adventure in August. I've wanted to be a painter off-and-on for years. While I've practiced drawing, I've never attempted a painting. Now I'm going to start on my artistic adventure. I'm signing up for the classes that senior citizens can audit at the University of North Florida. Classes start in August. I intend to take drawing and painting--the basic level courses.

I've always been reticent about drawing and painting. I'm such a dedicated writer that I've been afraid that painting would take over my mind so that I would stop writing. I've been afraid I'd stop writing and be a poor painter. I know that many writers have also been painters. And vice versa. But the time is right to try doing both.

My plan is to continue writing as I have in the past, but to add in drawing and painting in odd hours. Maybe I'll give x number of hours a day to writing and x number to painting.

I love looking at art books and visiting art galleries. My imagination races when I go into an art supply store. It's almost overwhelming, but I feel a connection with what I see. I want that connection to come alive.

I like reading about painters' lives. I enjoy fictional versions of their lives, too. They seem to have the most interesting of lives. Right now I'm reading The Bauhaus Group. I've enjoyed reading about the impressionists and many of the modern painters. I find Kandinsky fascinating, as well as Jackson Pollock, and many others.

I'm a dreamer. Always have been. I'll continue to dream for as long as I can.

Friday, July 6, 2012

What writers need now more than ever.

What we writers need now more than ever is each other. We need to form groups that work together to help each other reach her potential as a writer.

As critique partners, what do we need? We need double-blind critiquing. We need middle men to dish out authors' writings to anonymous readers. Neither the writer nor the reader knows who each other is. We need honest, no-holds-barred critiquing.

I think each writer who submits work through such a system needs to preface the work with what his intentions are. For example: I'm writing a historical romance that I hope will make the bestseller list. Or: I'm a literary writer. I don't care about plot so much as writing that is engaging and explores xyz (some aspect of the human condition). Or: I'm a YA writer of supernatural thrillers. I want the reader to be wrapped up in a world like none he's ever known. By doing this, the critic will not be trying to get the writer to write what the critic thinks she should be writing, but helping the writer accomplish what she is trying to accomplish.

As a critical reader, we need to do our best to give honest, constructive feedback. We should try to read as editor's would read: spot the problems and point them out for the writer to fix.

This could be a long-term endeavor. No one should enter into it who isn't willing to do his best to stay for the long haul. But any one's situation can change and, after starting, finds that he cannot continue. Then he can discontinue without any negative repercussions. Of course, any writer can quit any time for any reason.

What do you think? Do you think this is a good idea? Would you participate in something like that? I don't know that this will go anyplace, but I'd like to hear your thoughts about it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Sometimes, I've just got nothing to say. Have a happy July 4th.