What attracts you to a given work of visual art? How does it speak to you? Capture your imagination? How might you, a writer, borrow the persona and techniques used to create an intriguing piece of visual art to enlighten and invigorate your writing?
For the last five years as a LitCrawl event, The Writers Studio has partnered with Creativity Explored to explore these questions. Our writers have found this so helpful in their own poems and stories we’re now offering it as a six-week summer course.
The class will build on The Writers Studio use of persona narrator, mood, tone, and other elements of craft. As such it is particularly suited to returning and continuing students. Instead of using another writer’s narrator, students will use a visual artist’s persona to tell their story. Students are free to work from any artwork they choose. Some of the questions we’ll explore are the emotional relationship between the writer and the art work; and the concept or point the artist is using their persona (point of view) to express. For example, look for the persona behind one of van Gogh’s paintings and use it to look at some aspect of your own story, or personal life. Imagine looking at your reflection in a mirror through those eyes, the interior drama and struggle that narrator would explore. Or imagine looking at a scene in your childhood through Cezanne’s eyes, the impressionistic use of color and light to express emotion. William Wordsworth tells us, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” What is any work of art that fascinates telling us? How did the techniques an artist selected shape and share a moment, a question, a culture, a story, an investigation, and/or insight? How does this combination of techniques reveal the creator’s persona?
Students will apply The Writers Studio “read like a writer” techniques to the art they select, and then create a piece of writing using these techniques each week, or stick with one art piece to create several consecutive pages or even an entire piece.