Straw Legs

BOUNTY, acrylic on canvas, 11×14

MORE AND MORE these days I find myself applying my experience as a writer and editor to painting.

As means of expression, the two obviously share a lot. But until recently, I have tended to compartmentalize them. Writing and painting require different ways of thinking, and represent different parts of my life.

I have deliberately kept them apart at times, in fact. The structure and strict rules of writing are antithetical to the unrushed, uncensored world I enter to paint. My writing has by and large served a purpose, to educate or motivate or explicate. My inspiration as a painter is more eclectic and personal.

But lately I’ve begun to see ways in which some of the structure required of writing can help me as a painter. It began when my friend and mentor, Al Lachman, reminded me that above all, I am a storyteller. That is the defining thread that links my past with my present, my writing and painting.

A story may be mysterious, but it has a beginning, middle, and end. It must stick to one or two themes, stripping any excess, if the reader is to see what the writer sees.

Have something to say that hasn’t been said before. Make every word count, avoid clutter.

Writers are expected to produce, and to meet regular deadlines. Painters are allowed to take their time. Despite these wildly different expectations, we expect quality work from both.

THE GARDENS DRAW TO A CLOSE, acrylic on canvas, 16×12
GARDEN FOLIAGE, oil on canvas, 24×18
FIVE APPLES, oil on canvas, 12×16
STRAW LEGS, acrylic on canvas, 9×12
FAST RIVER, oil on canvas, 16×20
SWIMMING UPSTREAM, oil on canvas, 24×18

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