What I Learned as a Writer From an Artist

A writer’s life can only be understood by another writer or someone else dedicated to the arts. We look at things differently…more intensely, more sensitively. The world is our teacher, and we store all of our experiences and images in our minds for future use.

I was never very good at art. My mother is an amazing artist…oil paintings. She is 90 years old and still painting, even more creatively as the years have passed. I’ve always loved art, drawn to color and subject and placement. For over 20 years I played at watercolors, but about five years ago I attempted an oil painting and had a little beginner’s dumb luck. When I tried to replicate my minimal success, I ended up destroying more canvas than I salvaged. What was I doing wrong? Well, just about everything. Below is my first oil painting, and those of you who are artists will find many mistakes, I’m sure.

Castle Painting
Castle Painting

My mother, who tried to give me art lessons as a child and gave it up as a lost cause, finally decided to teach me about perspective and vanishing lines and color and shadow. Below is one of my mother’s paintings that she did many years ago, but I just love it. Art, to me, is something you can look at everyday and never tire of it, and the more you look at it the more you see. This painting is by Mary E. Bowman:

Two Young Girls
Two Young Girls

I’m sorry that my photography leaves a little to be desired.

But the point of this blog and my thoughts today is what I have learned. By looking through an artist’s eyes, I see so much more of the world than I ever did before. Instead of a hillside with a forest in the background, I now see a single wildflower, an unusual tree, the different shades of green in the hills that fade to light blue mist or violet shadows. Each element of a beautiful scene could be a painting onto itself or be written as a scene in a book. My lessons have taught me to see more by concentrating on less. It has enriched my life, my happiness, my focus, and my writing.

As I look at my mother’s painting, above, I see it with fresh eyes every day. A single wrinkle in one of the girls’ dresses can captivate me, or I wonder where the little road goes in the painting that’s in the background. Each flower has its own uniqueness and the texture in the chair is woven like magic.

All the arts (words, paintings, photography, music, theatre, dance, sculpture, drama, comedy) capture the sensitivity of the soul and open up the mind to new creations as unique as the individual. I may never be a great artist, but I do enjoy it as a hobby, dabbling in color and arrangement, but the way I look at the world has forever been heightened and enhanced.

I leave you with my latest oil painting that I’m at least not embarrassed to show:

Owl in Flight on a Moonlit NIght
Owl in Flight on a Moonlit Night

 How do you look at the world? Try looking through an artist’s eyes.

5 thoughts on “What I Learned as a Writer From an Artist

    1. Thank you, Carol. Yes, I believe this concept of slowing down and paying attention to all the individual parts of a whole image or idea or work of art creates a synergistic reaction in the brain. Looking at anything less gives us more to retain and broaden our creative horizons. So glad to see you use it too.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Debbbbbbbbbb, lol, twin, I had a very high, high school average, particularly in languages and math, only to be brought down by FAILING ART, lolllllllll. We try to master everything, but we are artists as writers, so everything else helped to bring us to this point. And btw, your picture is way more than I could ever think to draw. Gratefully, my art is in my head. I mentally design my book covers and have my graphic artist construct them from my vision. So that, my friend is still art! xoxo


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