Writing for Art

My tradition the last few years has been to choose a “word” for the year, starting in January. My word for 2015 was “Write,” and while I confess that I did write a fair bit, my greatest efforts weren’t in the form I’d imagined last year. Instead of the usual creative outlets like journal entries, poetry or even that book I keep promising to self-publish, I spent a huge chunk of my time in the throes of the hardest writing of my life — along with the blinking cursor of an online grant application that I filled out last fall.

As a grizzled veteran of numerous English research papers and an agonizingly procrastinated Master’s thesis, this is no small claim. The precise language and focused nuances required in proposing my project and asking for funding threw me into a strange new world, since I struggled to accurately portray a vision that would benefit the public as well as my own personal pursuits. You see, this particular grant focuses on creating art outside in state parks, and in my case, that art will be visual rather than verbal.

That’s right, my battles with the written page have been transferred to the terrors of a blank canvas, all in the name of celebrating art in nature. And I will gladly take on that challenge if I can convert even one person to the joys of spending artistic time outdoors, whether it’s to write a poem, compose a song, dance a jig, or set up an easel to paint.

Plus, I’ll be able to travel to some of the most beautiful natural settings that Indiana has to offer with a trusty assistant (my husband), and invite the great outdoors to be my personal work space. In the weeks to come, you’ll see a new WordPress blog called Paints in the Parks detailing my journey as I paint scenic landscapes in six state parks while I research my painting subjects and interact with the park visitors who stop by my easel. I hope you’ll join me on this artistic ride, either by blog or in person.

I believe that in our modern society, we spend too much time cooped up in homes or offices that can become self-made prison cells, preoccupied with the flickering screens of fake connections and false avatars, while a sentient world lies just outside our doors, at the bus stop, on the bike trails, in the parks, and under the shade trees in our backyards; all waiting to be celebrated through ART — my word for 2016.

4 thoughts on “Writing for Art

  1. From battles with the page to the terrors of the blank canvas. Oh, yes, I see a most intriguing year ahead. This will be amazing, and I can’t wait to follow. I congratulate you on endurance and victory!

    I love the photo. What a beautiful amalgam of openness and shelter. ART is about such amalgams, yes?

  2. highlyreasonable

    Your project sounds brilliant, original, and worthwhile! I’ve visited many state and national parks and have never seen anyone painting, but would really welcome this intersection of art and nature. A blank computer screen and a blank canvas can be daunting, but I bet you are up to the challenge. I wish I could stop by your easel in person, but am so looking forward to your blog posts. Go forth and celebrate and make art!

    1. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, Bonny. You give me reason to document this journey in the hopes that others in faraway places will want to do the same inside their parks and green spaces.

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