Tag Archives: painting

Guest Post at Lisa Romeo Writes: “Whatever Works: Looking at Visual Art to Write Inspired Prose”

7 Feb
Self_Portrait_with_Seven_Fingers (1)

Marc Chagall, Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers

Paintings helped me grope through the dark of my first draft of Daughters of the Air. I wrote a guest blog post about that process on Lisa Romeo’s blog. Here’s how the piece begins:

When I was just starting to write seriously, I fetishized notebooks—and, like an eight-year-old—stickers.  I preferred black, hard-backed notebooks with graph paper that forced my writing into small, neat boxes.  My favorite treat was popping into a stationary store in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, to buy a cheap book of Dover Art Stickers depicting famous paintings by Michelangelo, Kahlo, Goya, and the like. I was trying to write the first draft of my first novel, Daughters of the Air, using Hemingway’s supposed model of 300 words a day, no more, no less, stopping mid-sentence and all that jazz.

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Years later, still enraptured with the process, I ended up teaching several classes on writing from art for Hugo House at the Henry Art Gallery (you can see my students’ work alongside the art that inspired them in these e-booklets the Henry made here and here) as well as several blog posts for Ploughshares, including this one on writing from abstract art. And, my next novel features an artist. And, many of my essays engage with art in one way or another, like this one on Goya, in the Los Angeles Review of Books. All this writing about writing—it’s time for me to get back to a gallery and refill the well!

Garden of Earthly Delights

17 Jan

Well, it has been eons since I’ve written anything here. Since I last wrote, I’ve gotten married, been to Spain, changed day jobs, spent two weeks in Wilmington, DE for work, and…whew. That’s enough of an update on the personal end of things.

Tonight, M. is taking me to Martha Clarke’s Garden of Earthly Delights. On our honeymoon, we gaped at Bosch’s masterpiece in the Prado, but had to jostle with the expected swarm of tourists to enjoy all its bulbous glory. Now we are going to see this dance based on the painting, originally performed in 1985 and now resurrected for your viewing pleasure. The website has a fun feature where you can click on each part of the painting’s triptych and gaze at all Bosch’s details, both glorious and horrible. (Click on “the painting”.) Enjoy!

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