Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Painting-Inspired Writing - or is that Writing Inspired Painting?

The Franklin Street Gallery, located in Watkins Glen, NY (yes, they have more than NASCAR racing there!) is an art gallery that promotes local artists. My husband has shown pieces there several times. For their spring show, however, they're doing something a little different: each painting needs to be accompanied by a story or poem inspired by the painting.

What a cool idea! My painter husband, of course, turned to his writer wife and and said, "So, have any of my paintings inspired you?"

Please understand, he primarily paints landscapes, I write mostly character-driven stories. The two subject matters are very different. So I had to answer no, with a caveat.

Early on in his painting career, he painted a small picture (12x12 Acrylic on Canvas) of small mountain range in winter. I took one look at it and told him he couldn't sell it. It was going in my study. Why?

For several decades now I've been working on a fantasy. Without going into too much detail, there is a mountain range that extends the width of the border between two countries. Nothing grows there and no one who ventures along the Stone Road into the mountains ever returns. From either side. As a result, these mountains serve as a very definitive divider to keep the two peoples apart.

My husband had painted the Stone Mountains.

Of course, he didn't know that he had. He was just painting what was in his imagination. Scary that it was in mine, too. Or a sign that we've been married for a long time (34 years coming up in June!). :)

I brought down the painting to show him and he sighed. It was an early painting and he's a better painter than that now. I don't see anything wrong with the painting as it is, but then again, I'm no art critic. I just know what I like. And I like this painting.

Another problem arose as we talked about it. All paintings shown in the gallery have to be available for sale, and I want to keep this one.

Solution? He'd paint another painting of the same set of mountains and put that one in the show so I could keep the one that spoke to me. Is it any wonder I love him?

He can submit three paintings and their accompanying written piece to this show. "Stone Mountains" will be one of them. The second one is a painting my daughter wrote to. The third? I chose a painting of his and used it to inspire a short scene of a brand-new piece. His painting is entitled "Empty Arms."

Almost two years ago I wrote a writing workshop on using paintings as inspiration, and here I am, putting my workshop into practice. Whether we're talking photos (See the stories inspired by James McAvoy and Chris Pratt), or paintings, other media can inspire some fun writing.

I'll post the paintings and their companion writings in a separate post. Watch for them coming soon. And, if you're in Watkins Glen, stop in at the Franklin Street Gallery on the main drag. The opening reception is this Friday night and the show runs for a few weeks.

Play safe,

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