Monday, May 10, 2010
I recently went on a field trip with Drama Queen to our local Museum of Art. Now, our town isn’t tiny, but it isn’t huge either, and our Museum isn’t the biggest. Though under expansion, right now it only hosts 3 small galleries outside of the main room. But I’ve enjoyed every trip I made there, roaming the rooms to investigate the mixture of modern and historical paintings, sculptures, and mixed media pieces. I can’t wait for the expansion to be complete next year.
On our field trip, we toured the galleries with a docent (a tour guide) who discussed various pieces and the significance of them. This particular docent did a wonderful job tying in the art with the reason the students were there (a field trip for the school’s Poetry Club). So many of the things she said resonated with me, and I hope they did with the children there too, since they obviously have an interest in writing.
According to her speech, art is defined as “any creative avenue of learning”. I’ve finally reached the point in my development as an author that, even though I’m unpublished in book length fiction, I can actually think of myself as an author without feeling unworthy of the title. After all, I’ve written 7 novels and novellas, numerous short stories, and non-fiction articles, with a number of articles and short stories that have been published. But even though I think of myself as a author, I’ve never really thought of myself as a artist.
Authors are artists.
As authors, we paint and sculpt a world for the viewer to lose themselves in, only we use words instead of paint, metal, or other, more tangible materials. Yet the viewer steps into the world just the same. The medium is used to create mood, atmosphere, and to evoke emotions in the viewer, whether serious, fun, happy, doubtful, or sorrowful.
This was a totally new idea for me, one that I probably would have understood long before on a logical level, but that just happened to hit me on a psychological level while I was standing in the still, reverent atmosphere of a museum devoted to ART. The feeling was reminiscent of the library I so enjoyed visiting as a teenager. And why not, both are devoted to the preservation and presentation of artistic endeavors.
The docent also mentioned that often the artist tries to create a focus or theme that pulls the viewer in, because most patrons look at each piece for an average of 15 seconds, then move on. The artist wants to catch the viewer, enticing them to stay longer and discover the secret nuances of the piece before them. Writers do the same, hoping in those first couple of pages to interest the reader enough that they continue to read, curious about the secrets of the characters and the intrigue of the plot. We have a short time to draw readers in; without that hook, they might move on without ever discovering the delights to be had within the pages of the book.
So what is your favorite type of art, besides books, of course? J Any preferences? What was your favorite museum to ever visit? My rush through the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Instigator was breathlessly inspiring. I’m hoping for a more leisurely tour on my visit to New York next year.
PS. The winner of Free Book Friday is BlackRoze37! Please email SP at smartypants@writingplayground com to claim your prize within 7 days.