Word Painting

Photo by Ben Wilkins on Unsplash

Hello, This post was written by Patrick Lauser who is doing some traveling right now and had problems with computer connections, so I am posting this for him.

I’ve thought for some time about an idea I like to think of as “word painting”: the idea of just having description, with story only occurring as a part of the description rather than the other way around. The idea of description is to paint a picture after all (or perhaps a map or diagram or what have you).

It would be a good exercise, yes, but also a finished product, a goal. You wouldn’t necessarily be able to take it in in a glance like a painting (made with paint), but it would have its own advantages over other mediums.

In a way people already do this: in the house we’re staying in they have decorations (the like of which I’ve seen before) which are words like “love” and “relax”, and they have duvets with writing all over them like “new day, new start” and “life is better in pyjamas”, and abstract artists will include words in pictures as part of the art. But I wonder what it would be like to hang something like this on the wall:

“The pinnate leaves of the ash tree branches veil the source of the rushing, plashing, and sprinkling sound. The constellation of Orion with his gleaming knife is invisible behind the opaque wall of azure blue above, and behind us there rises a wall of bitter, uncut rock. A refreshing coolness slips down it, and the deep abundant mosses below seem to drink it up.”

Here you have descriptions of sound and feeling and movement and invisible things and things behind you, things you would have to use a lot of artistic tricks to express in paint rather than in text (it is interesting that technically they’re both visual mediums, yet practically are as different as image and audio, or more so). And the artistic tricks used in a painting to express technically similar things as the above paragraph would give a totally different feel to the composition, similarly as if one tried to express everything that a video expresses while using only audio.

You can of course also do surreal and abstract art with text in ways you couldn’t with graphics (as there are effects in graphics that couldn’t be done in text). Imagine this hanging on your wall:

“There. Travels are the light over the hill way. Chalk is dragged along under the bridge, and in the sky is ragged under the fingertip, and under the fingernail (fear not the coarse clouds, innocent in banks and long wasptail bands). Bears comb the sparse threads drawn out of dry, enveloping trains, the underpinnings unseen by human eyes yet. Columns of the hanging colonnade spread to the edge of the precipitous bend, measured carefully hill by hill; thanks and honour to the kind heart, and freshness of tasteless counsel on a clear day. Pax.”

I need practice, but I hope I’ve encouraged some thoughts on the subject of description as a product rather than only as part of a story.

There should be a phrase like “bon voyage” or “bon appetite” for writers or other artists when they go to do their art, “bon creation!” or something like that. If there is such a phrase, you can insert it after the beep. Beep!

Author: kellyfbarr

I became an avid reader as soon as I learned how to read, and as I read, I became fascinated with the idea of one day becoming a published writer. I have written interview articles for a magazine. I write articles for the Almost an Author website. I also write for my own blog and for the Hope, Hearts, & Heroes blog which is a blog by several authors. My first novel should be out before the end of 2021.

2 thoughts on “Word Painting”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: