Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Story in a Painting

I appreciate the condolences. The memorial service was outdoors at the home where Chad grew up and in the part of the yard where he got married 10 years ago (at which I was the photographer). Balloons were let go by his parents and wife and children. It was peaceful and comforting to be out in the open and watch the balloons (with messages in them for Chad) lift higher and higher following a path where it was natural for them to go--UP. Just like our souls not meant to be here earth-bound forever.

My picture for this week is actually part of a painting I was intrigued by in Venice, Italy, this summer. It was my first time in Venice, but my third time in Italy. I have family in Italy and feel so connected to Italy each time I visit the country and my family. I will have to research the artist and title, as I just snapped away most of the time in Italy. Here is the color photo.

There is such a feeling of story in this snippet of a painting.  Even though our main subject  appears to be the bride (as I'll call her or perceive her) in the middle getting her dress altered, it's the leaning female figure to the left that really tells the story -- for me anyway.  She has such a look of longing and desire to be in the place of the woman getting her dress altered. Her dress looks tattered and she is placed in a position in the painting far back, giving the impression she is not a participant but an onlooker. The bride's face is not shown, telling me this is not important for us to see.  The seamstress appears to be delighted at her task, but a prop figure to give setting to our story.  The fabric piles in the various areas tell of place and profession.  

One could think that there is a lot of detail here, but I was not distracted at all by the strewn fabrics and shelving and chairs. I am even more able because of these details to follow what the real story is!  All art forms help each other and this helps my writing in so many ways to be a photographer and also to really contemplate the meaning of various paintings.  

Of course I had to make a copy of my photo to see how it would look in black and white. See what you think ... I have learned so much from how painters compose their artwork. As a photographer this has helped me realize that each picture doesn't have to be crowded with detail to get a message or feeling across to viewers.  It can even only contain hints of things or people, parts of settings to be as effective or even more effective.  Like when taking wedding pictures taking the bride and groom's torsos holding their toasting goblets, without showing their faces.

Does the black and white image take away from telling the story? Or does it tell a different story?  Paintings can also help us writers, write our stories, by imagining our story scenes like scenes from a painting.  So if you sketch or draw or scrapbook also, you can do different scenes of your story or novel using these mediums. 



  1. Susan, wow, the black and white does make a big difference. I would have never thought of black and white. Great concept for writing, too. Thanks!

  2. That's a gorgeous painting - and wow, the black and white makes it look like a photograph from only a hundred years ago. Very evocative; it reminds me of some of the stuff on The Orientalist Gallery website. Now if only I could write description the way that artist painted it...