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Sketching with Words, Writing with Pictures

January 13, 2010

William Blake was reputed to have said that writing and art are “ways to converse with paradise”. Numerous other writers and artists have also commented on the parallels between these two modes of expression and in my experience, creativity seeps through every particle of an artists life and experience. Although it would seem that there is a natural connection between language and art; I wonder how many of us allow ourselves the time to explore these other types of expression.  I also ponder that if our creativity is not fed through a variety of outlets, that it is the reason for a period of withdrawal of the muse, writers block, frustration and blankness of the page.

Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Ll...

Literature, painting, music, dance, photography, films can be seen as a form of expression which intend to evoke a reaction from its audience be it a better understanding or insight, emotions or provide an environment for dialogue about the reactions.  Artists, regardless of which form they express it, seek to share their experiences, observations, and their “truths” through the medium that most effectively lends itself to their personal skills and abilities. Most often this expression is a response to the culture and events of particular time period.

A gifted artist may capture creatively what an audience can feel but cannot express themselves; evoking images and emotions which in turn key into an audience members personal experiences, making it a powerful and personal event.

Regardless to the form an artist undertakes, it would seem that there are certain process-oriented thinking skills are inherent in all. These include comprehending the subject matter and composing, regenerating the ideas and personal reaction towards it, culminating in the application of techniques and skills involved with producing the form of artistic creation.

From research too, it would seem that there are several characteristics of artistic expression which can also be identified as being similar across formats. Each requires the artist to undertake planning, drafting, aligning, revising, and monitoring of their work. Creative works share certain expressive elements, such as structure, theme, and tone.

Given all of this, it would only seem natural that an artist could lend their creativity across mediums – but do they?  Julia Cameron often refers to our creative well – a place where our inspirations and energy flows.  Like any well, it needs consistent replenishing and it is often through expressing ones self through other forms that this is achieved. My creative well is a barren, stony hole and one I am desperate to fill again with sweetness and virility. For this reason, I began my research into the parallels and ways in which to ‘fill up’ again. Artistic expression connects human beings to each other and  allows us to share each other’s perceptions, emotions, and experiences. Perhaps too, by expanding the creative outlets that we as writers box ourselves into (eg “oh – I only write sci fi”, or “I’m only a non fiction writer”) that we can gain access to the universal creative flow; thereby filling our own wells and renewing our passion for what we do.

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Paul, decided at the start of this year to undertake a variation of a 365 day challenge which  Jodi had started (also being undertaken by a regular contributor Ben )- whereby she takes a photo each day to represent that particular day or theme.

As I believe that creativity needs to be fed in order for it to continue to flow, I have decided to follow suit. Paul has committed to posting a sketch every day, Jodi has committed to posting a photo. I am committing to post EITHER a photo or a sketch every day – here.

Its my intention that this extra creative outlet will feed my fiction writing. After two months of non fiction, very dry research articles and thesis type work, I am feeling depleted, shrivelled and sparse. I hope that by diversifying my creativity that it will multiply, rather than deplete… well thats the theory anyway.

Photo of Hemmingway from Stock picture in Flickr

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Annie Evett welcomes your comments  and encourages you to either join in or visit the others to show your support. Also pop over to Chinese Whisperings: The Red Book, available now as an eBook, and coming soon in Spring 2010 as a paperback. Follow Annie here on Twitter and catch her growing amount of websites and blogs here

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