Tourmaline .

Miniature Diorama Photographer

Using Writing 201 as a Guide for any Creative Endeavour (part 3)

I missed the sign-up for the February 2016 Writing 201: Finding your Story WordPress Blogging U course. But, that’s okay – I’ve decided to follow along with the ebook version found here.

While I do write poetry and short stories from time to time, my chosen artistic outlet is photography. And in any case, I like seeing all artistic and creative endeavors as intertwined in process. Each begins, whether writing, painting, performance art, with an idea and a desire to create. A need for expression. In that sense, every piece of visual art or writing is a story waiting to be told. Once the process of creating begins, the process of editing coincides. Each brush stroke, key stroke, click of the shutter is a conscious decision. Each pressing of the delete key, re-paint, crop is another conscious decision to pair down, fix, edit. The end goal is to make the result, the art piece, reflect your initial vision – to be what you consider complete and ready to be shared with the world.

Week 3

  1. Finding your Angle
  2. Intros and Hooks
  3. Finding your Key Moment
    1. “…much of the writing process involves not writing, but simply observing and being; thinking about how to translate our life experiences onto paper; and then rewriting.” – Writing 201 eBook
    2. “Being a disciplined writer isn’t just about creating a finished product, either. It’s about the steps behind the scenes, in between our published posts, and reflecting on ideas and themes that appear in our writing again and again, and then improving what we’ve written.” – Writing 201 eBook
      1. Observe your life – find what really speaks to you, what defines and moves you, what you love – that will lead you to what you have to, need to, have the drive to create.
    3.  Revisiting your drafts
      1. “Oftentimes, if we’re not happy with a post after taking the first stab at writing it, we trash it. We forget about it.” – Writing 201 eBook
        1. Revisit & Revise. Revisit & Revise. Revisit & Revise.
          1. Most likely some part of your idea that you decided to commit to paper, canvas, digital space is good and usable. Don’t completely toss something out – I mean maybe that piece of paper yea, maybe the original photograph, but keep the idea in the back of your mind. Meditate on it and make it bigger, fuller. Smooth out it’s edges and try to represent it again and again. The more personal, the more important to you, the more the idea will stick with you. Don’t let unsuccessful attempts get to you.
            1. From color to black and white: Babies: CribCrib
            2. Experimenting with color feels: capture capture2
    4. Mining your material: finding the key moment
      1. Present a grand idea by thinking small
        1. “Show me you, as a human being.” – Writing 201 eBook
        2. “Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.” -Edward Hopper
          1. Revisit your old work. I mean stuff you did at least a few years ago. Do you remember your original goal or artist statement? If so, try to put it our of your mind. Look at your art with a fresh perspective. If you were looking at your pieces without any back story what would you see? What story would come to mind? What appear to be the most important details? Compare those thoughts to your original them/story for the work. Do they align? If not, this may be a time to revisit that thought, that story line. To make it new, fresh and more easily represented to the viewer. Want more feedback? Go to a friend, family member, etc. Don’t ask for compliments, just ask what they see. What stands out, what they think the image is about, what experiences in their life it reminds them of. Take notes. Then, go and ask someone else. Not everyone will take away what you want them to. Everyone sees things differently and that’s part of the beauty of art. Don’t get distraught, if even one of the few people you talk to sees your vision, you’ve been successful and discovered your key audience all at once.
            1. A brief conversation with my mom about my series ‘Routine.’  capture
      2. Consider universal themes, describe human emotions
        1. “Personal and emotional takes on universal topics like loss, death, friendship, family, and love always garner responses because readers can relate, even if their experience is different from yours.” – Writing 201 eBook
        2. “I am of the mind that emotions should be shown and not told.” – Matt Salesses, A Month of Revision, Writing 201 eBook
          1. A perfect quote to relate back to your visual art. Feel something? Find a way to visualize it. Emotional work speaks volumes.
            1. While we all have different experiences, emotions are something we all share. That’s how you make your work relatable.
      3. Take a cue from the art of filmmaking
        1. While the Writing 201 ebook talks about screenwriting here, I’m going to try to shape this discussion around cinematography. (for some great examples of cinematic photos visit Patrick Jenning’s blog, Pix to Words)
          1. Think about your favorite movies and TV shows. Which sets astonish you? Are there any scenes you’d consider beautiful?
            1. With each piece of art consider shadows, lighting, color, composition – really all the elements and principles of design. Are you going for mysterious or moody? Choose dark, dramatic shadows. An old fashioned film feel? Think warm light and film grain.
              1. WWII: 1 (2011)
      4. Tear your work apart – literally
        1. Gone is the era of printing our digital creations. But do it! Print out that picture you’ve been stressing over, and just like described in the ebook, literally cut or tear it apart. Print multiple copies at different contrast levels or color balances, experiment with different ways to crop the image by literally cutting the edges. Create an abstract piece by making a composition out of a torn up photo re-imagined or tons of photos placed together (see David Hockney).
          1. And okay, you don’t actually have to do this, but the idea is to experiment over and over until you truly have found your voice.
    5. An introduction to structure
      1. The key here is to learn the techniques. Know the rules and then you can break them. Structure and rules exist for a reason. Once you learn them and understand their purpose, you can bend them to support your artistic vision.
        1. Some great sites for photo advice (feel free to comment with your favorite sites and I’ll add them to the list):
        2. Challenges to join or revisit to brush up on your photo skills: Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge & Imagecraft Bootcamp\
        3. This advice can be applied to more than just photography – sculpture, painting, etc. etc. but I am completely unaware of good resources when it comes to other mediums. If you have any favorites let me know and I will add them here – if not google is your friend – search for things like ‘painting techniques,’ ‘painting tips,’ ‘getting started with oil paints,’ ‘how to relay emotion in abstract acrylic painting…’
      2. But how do you decide the order of things?
        1. The structure of a piece of writing can be compared to the composition of an art piece – right, left, center, top, bottom. Consider the rule of thirds:
          1. Imagine a grid separating your image into 3 equal parts is placed over your image (many digital cameras and smart phones even have grids you can have overlayed in your digital display, for painting, drawing, etc. it can be helpful to lightly mark the edges of your page or canvas). The 4 spots where these lines overlap are the best spots to place your subject. The negative space leaves room for your subject to breath – it also brings in the viewer’s eye to said subject.
            1. Capture
            2. Read more in-depth information and see photographic examples or the rule of thirds and other compositional techniques here:
              1. wire
      3. Establishing a notetaking system
        1. Like with writing, it can be useful to write out and sketch your ideas for your visual art piece – grab a scratch sheet of paper or a nice sketch book and write down whatever comes to mind. What’s your idea, theme, goal? What type of lighting, color, feel do you want to achieve? Will you need any additional equipment or props? Do you need to find a location to create in?
  4. Setting the Scene

Stay tuned for Week 4.

How do you plan and compose your images? What stories do they tell?

I’m afraid this is turning into something too talky, but am fairly determined to finish the 4 part series. Is this useful to anyone or should I keep my mouth shut?


6 Responses to “Using Writing 201 as a Guide for any Creative Endeavour (part 3)”

  1. angloswiss

    Of course it is useful. I discovered a whole new world when I began to blog. I met interesting people on the way. I learnt to use photography with the written word. It is so interesting to take part, but, and a big but, I am now retired and the day still has only 24 hours. I like to do it all. Take care of a household, cook, go shopping, take walks in the nature (with the camera of course), read books and, and, and. At the same time do not want to neglect the people that surround me, so how do I put it all into one hat. Somehow it works, but has it limits. I would love to do more, but I would eventually become a sort of nun in isolation which is not what I intend. People like yourself are always there to prompt me and I partake where I can, but with limits. i did 101 twice, but had to stop at 201 as it was asking too much of me and my time.



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