Monday, July 13, 2009

Arts & Crafts: Writing and Painting

Occasionally, I like to slap a painting up here on the Booknapped, and offer a few facts about its artist or the period when it was painted. Perhaps pictures deserve their own blog like Artnapped or The Painter’s Almanac, but that will not do.

This excerpt from an interview with Ernest Hemingway explains the connection between painting and writing:
Interviewer: Who would you say are your literary forebears, those you have learned the most from?

Hemingway: Mark Twain, Flaubert, Stendhal, Bach, Turgeniev, Tolstoi, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Andrew Marvell, John Donne, Maupassant, the good Kipling, Thoreau, Captain Marryat, Shakespeare, Mozart, Quevedo, Dante, Virgil, Tintoretto . . . Goya, Giotto, Cezanne, Van Gogh . . . I put in painters, because I learn as much from painters about how to write as from writers . . . I should think what one learns from composers and from the study of harmony and counterpoint would be obvious.
Painters, writers, musicians: we are all telling stories, creating atmosphere, using perspective, pacing, and color to create feeling in our audience.

For instance, the image above this post titled Du Mourron pour les Oiseaux by Raymond Peynet, a French illustrator, offers a nice example of how big a part description of buildings should play in a love story. Translation in words: Not big at all.

You can see more art by Peynet at this site that wouldn’t let me copy its images. My favorite is this drawing. The saying at the bottom comes from the French idiom “On ne peut pas vivre d'amour et d'eau fraiche.” In English, “You can’t live on love and water alone.”

Apparently, this is what French people say to French children who don't want to work, just want to bang on the drum all day.


  1. I have learned lots from paintings--but thank you for reminding me of that. For me, it's subtle symbolism. I love the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and it's the little details you get when you examine it that makes it so much better.

    Actually, I find this very inspiring! I think I'm going to go write a blog post myself about it!

  2. Beth,

    I'm so glad you found a post that spoke to you and inspired something for your blog.

    I hopped over to Writing it Out and read your post; it's awesome. I recommend that all you booknappers check it out. Why? There's a naked person!