Saturday, January 9, 2010

Can you Kandinsky?

(Brieflezend Meisje bij het Venster)c. 1657

An article in Smithsonian magazine (October, 2009), "Teaching Cops to See" provides ideas for writers to use also.  Amy Herman, art historian and attorney, teaches police officers the art of perception. She shows how to fine-tune their visual acuity to translate to investigating crime scenes and to prevent crimes. 

"There are no judgments or wrong answers," Herman explains when she takes a group to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  She invites them to delve into the paintings for the details and notions about the situation. She advises officers never to use the words, clearly and obviously, "What's obvious or clear to you might not be to someone else," she says.

"What do we see here?"  She asks and has one person describe the scene to another who has his back to it.

Writers benefit from paying close attention to scenes from fine art or photography also. Delving into the creative nuances and details of another art form engages its mysteries and awe. It provides fodder for writing.

Spend time looking at paintings of the Dutch Masters.  They painted in detail with story and emotion.  Also, observe abstract and impressionistic painters. Develop your concrete skills to play and write a story from the perspective of Vassily Kandinsky.

Creative Write
: Observe realistic paintings, abstraction and photography. Move right into the scene and describe it from front to back. Then go the opposite way in another. Bring in all the details to evoke the situation. Then add sounds, scents and tastes.

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