Saturday, January 28, 2012

Letter from Home

My Dad sent me a news clipping in an antique envelope--How cool is that!
And who knew that the Hotel Times Square was ABSOLUTELY Fireproof!
...and, did you know that "Letters mailed in hotel envelopes if not delivered, will be sent to the dead letter office unless the writer gives a return address."? 
Dead Letters?
Might we have an Inciting Incident?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

W.I.P. from My W.S.K.

It’s gray and cold outside. Our yard is a patchwork of dried grass and opaque ice that won’t even reflect blue skies on that rare day when the sun shines. Yes, it’s the dead of winter, and having no snow makes the season feel like a pointless stream of dreary. No, I’m not depressed, thanks to my W.S.K., but I will admit I’ve been teetering. I don’t go outside much these days, not even in the virtual world of the blog-o-sphere (I have no idea what's going on with anyone--yeah, a little self-absorbed and myopic)—I guess it’s my way of hibernating. 

One tool in my W.S.K. is my set of watercolors. I’ve been painting. I’ve done some revisions on Girl Running (the next novel I hope to publish), but I’m a little sick of writing for now. That’s where the painting comes in. It seems to boost my serotonin levels enough to keep me getting out of bed in the morning. My latest project is a nautical scene (I thought it would be cool to paint something that might be seen in Wesleyville, Maine—the fictitious setting of UNCHARTED). So, I guess you could say it’s writing related. Besides that, I’m painting from an image provided by Liza Carens Salerno, who is a phenomenal writer and copywriter—not to mention beta-reader extraordinaire—so that makes it even more writing related in a way…

I’m down to the nitty-gritty eye-crossing part of the painting (yeah, that's right, the grass), so it may take a little while to complete it…but that’s just me…slow and steady…

So, here's a W.I.P. from my W.S.K.:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Layers: Writing and Painting

I write with a painter’s eye, and paint from a writer’s perspective, and so one activity is never entirely separate from the other. The more I write, the more parallels I find in both pursuits—the only difference is, when I paint, I have a photograph to work from very clear vision of what I will produce, whereas I’m never certain just how a story will develop. If you're curious about how "layering" is intrinsic to both endeavors, go check out my latest post on the Rhemalda blog!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Comparisons: "Get off me!"

I know this post is supposed to be on writing insecurities but this week I could just as easily write about painting insecurities—the principles are the same. These past few days, I've spent a lot of time studying the portrait of Marlena I just completed, and I really love her. I captured the innocence and beauty of her character, and so by that standard, the project was a success. I feel good about it—really good...until...I look at Pascal Gentil's painting* my painting lacks luster and well, I begin to realize what an amateur I am...Please don't misunderstand; I'm not slamming my own work, and I'm not begging for reassurance. I'm simply being realistic. (Yes, I promise to get that short-term Empowerment Therapy!)

...This is where the writing analogy comes in...

I feel really good about my novels, until I start comparing them. It might be my story line or characters or the actual writing—doesn't matter. As soon as I put someone else's writing beside mine, the first thing I notice are the flaws in my own work. If I can, I go back to the drawing table/keyboard and make improvements. That's fine! But more than likely, I'll only be indulging my propensity for overworking a project—it's the paper, scrubbed and so saturated with paint and water that it begins to peel. It's the never-ending edits and revisions, tweaking characters to the point that they scream, "Get off me!"

At some point I have to say, this is mine, it's complete and I own it and I love it for what it is, in spite of the flaws. This is such a basic concept—the earlier in life we learn it, the better. Comparing ourselves—our life, our work, our progress or lack of it, our dreams and expectations—to anyone else is counterproductive. It's easy to justify comparison as that which spurs us to greater achievements, and sometimes it does, but such a shaky foundation leaves us too vulnerable. We will constantly need external reassurance and will always be standing on the edge of that slippery slope of mental/emotional malaise.

Just say NO to comparisons! "Get off me!"

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, sponsored by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

* Edited to say that I just found Pascal Gentil's Website only to discover his "painting" is in fact a digitally enhanced photograph, which takes a great deal of talent and in no way diminishes my esteem of his work. Oh my, how I'd love to paint many of his subjects! And in a way, it makes me feel all the better about my work.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Another Version of Marlena

by Pascal Gentil

And here's the painting* by Pascal Gentil, that inspired my Marlena (the painting, not the character--she's all mine!) See how sneaky I am, not placing them side-by-side in the same post!

I believe this is an oil on some sort of plaster or rough canvas*. Gentil's other work is pretty amazing, but there's not a lot about him online, just an obscure Website. Beautiful and sensual work!*

This Marlena has a little more chin than I wanted, and although her hair looks a bit matted, that actually fits into the story. Todd voted for prettier hair, so I conceded on that!

*if naked bodies offend you, don't click on the link!

* Edited to say that I just found Pascal Gentil's Photography Website only to discover his "painting" is in fact a digitally enhanced photograph, which takes a great deal of talent and in no way diminishes my esteem of his work. Oh my, how I'd love to paint many of his subjects! And in a way, it makes me feel all the better about my work.