Descriptions and What We Can Study From (Visual) Artists

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by Rosemary Johnson

My colleague, Kathy:&nbsp “Tea, Rosemary?”
Me:&nbsp “Yes please.&nbsp My mug is on the tea tray, the white 1 with flowers on.”
Kathy: “I can not see a white mug with flowers on it.”&nbsp Pause.&nbsp “I can see 1 with butterflieson it.”
Me:&nbsp “Oh yes.&nbsp It doeshave butterflies on it.”
I have to confess that this conversation was true and took location, at my operate, final week.
My drawing of my cup is
much better than this.&nbsp
The scanner tends to make it appear awful
As a writer, descriptions are not my ideal point – due to the fact I often want to get on with the story.&nbsp When I am reading, I have a tendency to skip more than descriptive passages, particularly in Victorian novels exactly where they have a tendency to go in for that sort of point.&nbsp Lately, for my church book club, we had been asked to study Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and Wide Sargasso Seaby Jean Rhys.&nbsp Flaubert described the nineteenth century France countryside in photographic detail, and Rhys’s depictions&nbspof the Caribbean had been vivid and deeply emotional.&nbsp Nonetheless, I have to admit that I didn’t finish Madame Bovary, due to the fact it bored me rigid, and I’d only award two stars to Wide Sargasso Sea.
Flaubert and Rhys clearly had created brilliant observational expertise.&nbsp Flaubert lived in nineteenth century France and Rhys in the Caribbean.&nbsp In The Oaken Heart (which I’ve also study not too long ago), Margery Allingham relates how a village coped with wartime Allingham’s descriptive powers had been also astute and she created her topic-matter fascinating, possibly due to the fact she was describing folks rather than scenery.&nbsp All of them had been writing-about-what-they-know – to quote the usual writers’ adage.

My buddies who draw and paint inform me that they commit much more time seeking than applying pencil/charcoal to paper.&nbsp Probably, I could boost my observational expertise by way of art.&nbsp Just after that incident at operate, I drew my tea mug and a water bottle – which had been each in front of me.&nbsp Then, recalling a funny incident which occurred the prior weekend, I drew my granddaughter wearing my footwear – 1 higher-heel and 1 flat – but I couldn’t bear in mind her expression specifically and this is essential.&nbsp To my thoughts, it is much more productive to describe a character’s facial expression when they’re experiencing a distinct emotion than to state “She looked angry/ delighted/ surprised… etc’.&nbsp Descriptions of folks, in my opinion, engage the reader in way that descriptions of attractive scenery do not.
I’m operating on my descriptions.&nbsp A lot of authors do it much better than I am, but – I am afraid to say – numerous other individuals are in the identical location as me.

Rosemary Johnson has had numerous brief stories published, in print and on-line, most not too long ago at The Copperfield Evaluation, 101 Words and Café Lit. &nbspShe has also written a novel about the Cold War which she is – take deep breath – attempting to get published.&nbsp In true life, she is a aspect-time IT tutor, living in Suffolk with her husband and cat. &nbsp

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