“Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul —
and you answer.” ~ Terri Guillemets
That’s so true. Especially when it comes to creating art.
Of course, we’re also given an opportunity to connect with a deep down part of ourselves when we experience the art others have created which reminds me of the quote by Rodin: “The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.” Spending time with Family and with Friends does that to me. WRITING (which is me answering the knocking from my soul) does that to me. ART often does that to me.
Think about how music makes you feel when you merely slow down long enough to truly listen. But playing music, that’s an entirely different level of experience, it’s like taking that deep down you at the center of your being and transforming it into sound. Okay, if it’s me playing the music, it might sound more like a cacophany than a euphany (or any sort of harmony . . .) despite the fact that I might be aiming for the latter.
I’ve always loved music. I played the drums until I was nine. Then we moved and my new school didn’t provide drum kits the way my former school had so I retired young. If I could go back in time and become a skilled musician, I’d have pursued acoustic guitar. I’d have wanted to be able to play like this guy, though my gnarly disjointed post-basketball fingers would make that nearly impossible these days.
If I had to choose between being a writer or engaging in some other form of creative expression, I’m pretty certain I’d stick with writing (unless, of course, I finally found enough pluck to pursue acting).
If, however, I could be like some writers and excel in more than one artistic medium, I think I’d be a visual artist. I’d draw.
That’s me now.
As a boy, though, the only visual art I paid any attention to at all were comic books and movies. And, chances are, even if I had been born with a natural ability to draw, there’s no way I’d have been in one spot long enough to sketch anything thanks to that special perpetual motion gene that was part of my childhood DNA.
If I’d been less high-octane, less go-go-go, maybe I’d have gotten mixed up in graffiti like Knee Boots is, leaving my mark on the neighborhood (you know, the cemetery where we played hide and seek, and the back of Jessup’s barn three houses down where we built our go-kart from scraps, or the old alley-fence that ran behind the homes of my friends two blocks away).
But I wasn’t. And I didn’t. And so, it is!
As an adult, I’ve had a few moments where I’ve dabbled at drawing, typically from sight (not merely creating from my imagination the way so many artists do). That would be the most amazing thing, I think, to have an idea in my head and be able to sketch it from scratch without any sort of external guidance.
Of course, none of my sketches so far would qualify as ART (not if judgment is based on technique and on skill, not like these astonishing paintings), though perhaps in a basic sense they are if you go by Guillemets’ definition, for they are a response to the knocking from my soul.
At Spalding, one of the precepts repeated every residency was the value of the interrelatedness of the arts and of cross-genre work. Famous scribes even talked to us about how creating in another medium can accentuate your writing in various ways.
Photography has been another art form I’ve immersed myself in at times as a way of exploring the world and as a way of expressing myself without using words.
I’m curious if you work in various artistic media. And, aside from experiencing the pure joy of creating, if you find one form providing any particular benefits to the other.
Here are just three of the writers I admire who also work in other media:
Click here to check out pretty cool piece on ten famous writers who also made art using other media (from Lewis Carrol to Kurt Vonnegut to e.e. cummings).
And here are a handful of visual artists I know (one way or another) whose work moves me, inspires me, fills me with a variety of feelings:
This past week, I took my very first drawing class with an artist I admire, Laura Charles. I’m so excited.
I’m hoping to learn some basic techniques for drawing because I’ve found connecting with my characters visually has forced me to explore their physical traits as well as their personalities in different ways. It’s given me a greater understanding of them. I’m hopeful that such a new perspective will allow me to depict them more fully.
After all, according to Edgar Degas, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
Here are a few places where I’ve experienced some incredible visual ART:
Do you have any favorite writers who are also artists in other media? Any favorite museums or galleries where you’ve encountered art that moved you?
I’d love for you to share some of your favorites here (perhaps you can leave a comment below).
“Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight,
feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.” – Victor Hugo
To read the complete original post, including reader comments and artists they recommend, click here.
For now, I guess, I’d better get back to working on my visual character sketches. And on finishing the novels themselves. Keep after it!