The Art Part

When writing commercial fiction or nonfiction, there's a lot of emphasis on the business side. We hesitate to use such a lofty word as "art" to describe our own work, particularly in the literary "ghettos" (in terms of respect, if not money) of genre fiction and ghostwriting.

But once in a while, something reminds me that art isn't limited to the lofty, that it wasn't simply something that happened during the Renaissance or is limited to lauded works printed in hardcover. Art is made from the most commonplace materials, such as British Sculptor Heather Jansch's brilliant driftwood horses. (Pictured are her works "Apollo" and "Nightmare and Daydream II". Amazing, aren't they? Check out her website to see more.)

For Jansch, it's all about the selection and arrangement of ordinary, commonplace materials and the artistry that goes into making them extraordinary. For writers, it's the same. We choose from among the everyday words, characters, and bits of story that form the flotsam of life's tides, and with time and care and... dare I say artistry... we craft them into something special.

So for today, I'm celebrating art as well as craft, and this excellent reminder that the ingredients are all around us.


Jo Anne said…
Thanks for the great artwork, Colleen. I love horses. And thanks for the reminder that art comes from the commonplace.

An old friend of mine does what he calls 'relief sculpture'. He uses plaster, sand, stone, iron oxide, cotton sheets, cheesecloth - whatever to create his artwork. The textures fascinate him.

Wayne told me that when he was a kid, he once asked his cousin which brick he liked best in a fence they were playing on. Each brick was unique to Wayne.

As you noted, as writers, we take ordinary 'bricks' and put them together in such a way that they are unique to our stories.

Cool analogy, lady. :-)

Jo Anne
Ciara Gold said…
You might also take a look at the art of Deborah Butterfield. I'm thinking maybe there's an influence here with this art??? Gotta love the creative mind though.
Thanks for sharing these links, ladies. I particularly like Wayne Leal's nail circles and the one with the quail eggs.

Butterfield's work is somewhat similar, but you can certainly tell one artist's style from another. I think it's interesting when two artists (writers included) or inventers independently come up with something around the same time. Happens incredibly often, proving the adage that when a great idea comes into the world, it does not come to you alone.
EmilyBryan said…
I know your post is touting art of the more "everyday" sort (though those horses are lovely and unique) some of the most memorable days of my life have been spent in art museums.

One day with my two daughters when they were very young, probably 8 and 10, we went to the National gallery in DC when the Annenberg collection was on exhibit. It's a wonderful collection of impressionistic work, very accessible and made instant art devotees of my kids. To this day, the youngest adores Renoir.

Another day was in London at their National Gallery by myself while the DH worked. They have an impressive collection of sacred art and I have to say the entire day was a religious experience I likely won't have again in my whole life.

Art speaks to us with words only the heart hears.
How lovely, Emily. Thanks so much for sharing. I enjoy many different sorts of art, too.

Speaking of art, I recently discovered which offers affordable (as low as $20) archival prints of emerging artists weekly. Jen Bekman's goal there is to make art less scary and more accessible to regular folks. Must be working. I bought a print there about two weeks ago and had a lively debate about its possible meanings with my son and husband, two of the *least* artsy folk I know.
My cerebal comment is: Wow! Very cool!

Christie Craig said…

These are great Colleen.

Thanks for sharing.

I'm going to send my daughter, the artist, over to enjoy it as well.


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