Thursday, March 09, 2006

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary." ~ Pablo Picasso

Since it turned out to be such a nice day today, I decided to go out and paint before I came in to write. While I was out there, it occurred to me that painting and writing are very similar. In both, you are expected to turn a blank canvas (or page) into something beautiful, using the most basic of tools: your own imagination. The process often takes you to surprising places and the end result may not always turn out the way you thought it would.

When I paint, there is an ease and fluidity to it that isn't always there with writing. I can let my mind disengage and the picture paints itself. With writing, it doesn't always come as easily. On the one hand, this discourages me somewhat. Certain things you expect to come naturally, and when they don't, there is often a sense that you have failed somehow.

When I paint something I don't like, I have no qualms about painting over it and starting again. When I write a story that I'm not happy with or I can't find the just-so phrase that I want, it sends me into a tailspin of anxiety. What does this mean? Am I not meant to be a writer? I'm always wondering what the great test of my life will be and maybe this is it.

Sorry for being so philosophical/confessional. It must be the paint fumes.


Blogger Neil said...

I've never painting, but I've always fantasized that it was a very primal experience (at least that's the way painting is portrayed in movies). You're actually using your hands and material objects to create something -- like pottery or a house. The very fact that writing uses words makes it once removed from "reality." There are days when I don't feel like writing and I wish I could just throw some splashes of color to better convey my mood than words could do. That's great that you both write and paint. How's your cooking?

3/11/2006 2:17 PM  

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