Looking & Seeing: Generating Prose with Paintings

22 Jan

I’m teaching a one-day class at the Hugo House on Saturday, February 11 from 1-5 pm. The class, Looking & Seeing: Generating Prose with Paintings, will use paintings as prompts for fresh writing.

Here’s the description from the Hugo House website: We’ll mine a range of paintings (representational, surreal, abstract, etc.) to unearth new prose projects or add depth and breadth to works in progress. Rather than focusing solely on ekphrastic writing, making the writing an interpretation of a specific work of art, we’ll use visual art as prompts. These prompts will approach pieces from different angles, focusing on character, story and landscape (both internal and external). We’ll also experiment with style. To help with the creative percolation, we’ll take a look at a range of short published works that have been inspired by visual art. Students will write fresh material (from one to four pieces) and leave class with the tools to keep going.

This is something I’ve been doing with my own writing for years now, both for short stories and for the novel I’m finishing up, so I’m excited to unpack the process for others and see how they use it.  When I taught fiction at the University of Washington, bringing visual art into the classroom (or the class to visual art) was always great fun.  More fun will be had on February 11 and you can sign up for the class right here. Hope to see you then!

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