Saturday, January 31, 2009

Writing from Art

I got interested in using art as a story prompt when my oldest niece was very young. I went with her and her mother one afternoon to a furniture of those huge places that sets up scores of room settings to show you how furniture pieces can be put together. My niece soon tired of the task at hand and it fell to me to entertain her while my sister pressed on to find whatever it was she was looking for (I don't recall now what it was). We wandered a little bit more and finally found a setting that had two comfy easy chairs side by side facing a large painting of a barnyard. My niece was quite taken with it, so we sat and looked at it for awhile.

I don't remember whose idea it was, but we started telling a story about what we saw in the painting. Julie was as engaged in the story as I was, maybe even more, contributing names, ages, conversation. We sat there for quite a long time, totally entertained until my sister finished her business. I remember thinking about how amazing this little girl's imagination was. I started to think about telling stories about art and even went so far as to sketch out some stories of my own.

Then books like Girl with the Pearl Earring and Girl in Hyacinth Blue were published, setting of a new wave novels with an artist/work of art emphasis. And instead of writing a story myself, I began reading every such book I could get my hands on. I like to think there's still an arts-related book in my future, but for now content myself with connecting my students with art, taking them at least once a year to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts for a creative writing experience and writing along side them as much as possible.


Beth said...

What a great idea for writing. Your students will never lose the knack for letting their imaginations run--they are lucky to have a teacher who encourages it.

Morning's Minion said...

What a fine idea. I can remember pictures that drew me in, made me want to be a part of the scene. I also have a number of old photos, presumably of family, but no identification of the subject. Sometimes I look at them and try to imagine a name and a story.

La Tea Dah said...

Excellent post! My favorite way to write --- always has been!