Friday, May 06, 2016
The Process--or Me and Matisse
When I was in college I took an oil painting course. Oils were nothing new to me. In her younger years, my mother worked in oils. I grew up messing around with Ma's paints when she wasn't looking. I loved squishing the oils around and mixing colors. I love the smell of the stuff, which is probably not a good thing but the truth is it smelled like home. I could draw quite well--freehand. I was quite sure I would get an A in the oil painting class, but that was until I met the professor.
My oil painting professor had a fondness for Matisse. Yes, Matisse created some wonderful paintings, but I am a realist at heart. I want scenes on my canvas to have a close approximation to what things look like to my eyes. To do that, I need small brushes and I work very tight--section by section. I love details--grass, hair, and rocks. That makes me happy.
My professor insisted all his students own large brushes. I knew I had no need for a large brush and it was terribly expensive, but I had to buy it anyhow. The professor wanted all his students to work on all areas of the canvas during the process. He did not want me to work in one corner at a time.
He wanted my painting to look like a Matisse. I wanted my painting to look like a Penelope Marzec. We had some basic ideological differences. I did not get an A. :^(
What has this got to do with writing? Everything. I've read plenty of books about writing. I've sat through innumerable writing workshops. I've listened to scores of writers explain their process and I've learned that everyone has a different process. Beyond the great divide of plotters and pantsters, there are various ways to get to The End.
There isn't a right way or a wrong way. There's only what works--for you. It probably won't work for someone else, but that's okay.
Despite that one professor, I never gave up painting. I've gotten some fabulous reviews for my books and some awards, but there have been some reviewers who reminded me of that oil painting professor. Obviously, I cannot make everyone happy. Still, I have not given up writing.
The fun is in the creating. The fun is in the process.
The only real rule is to do it. Put your butt in the chair and write. Now.