clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Backyard Hockey

At left, pond hockey from Spencer Gillis on wikicommons who graciously donated this image free of copyright. Thanks! Great picture.

I live near one of the iconic North American college towns. It's where I drive into work and play.

However, the little village closest to my home in the country  (just voted to be a city ... size no matter) is quaint and everything one could expect of a holiday town.

The backyard hockey ponds are going up this week. The skating rink in the park at the gazebo is being built. Lights are up. Sleighs are out. Even the hundred-foot spire on St. Joseph's seems a little straighter this holiday season.

We've no snow; but, that's fine too. Bicycles outnumber sleds as Christmas gifts.

I've set-up my porchade box in my library. It is normally used for plein air painting where my meager skills can be covered by the haste of wet-on-wet construction. I'll do some still life work through the winter, I think.

I find painting with oils and drawing in charcoal both help me solve the problems with my long-form fiction. There is something about working pigments in visual arts which frees my mind for working out the intricate dance I need in a novel.

I don't know why; but, some of my cleverest twists come while drawing or painting.

Oh, I'm subject to improvisation when composing a draft. However, those problems we have when working out a novel have this nasty way of being compounded by the dreaded "I don't like that" and at about 2/3rds of the way through for me: "I hate this."

First drafts seem so amateurish when we pause to take a breath.  It's important to find a way to let your problem solving address the holes you write yourself into without struggling to compose a solution.

When we force, we end up despising. Isn't that so?

"Light touch with purpose and a hefty dose of the craft."

I received that advice once when standing by an instructor staring at a painting that had "gone wrong."

Brushes don't fly across the room if we grip them lightly. No fork has flown across the kitchen lately. Grip the brush no harder than that.

When writing the drafts, grip the story no harder than when reading immersive passages of your favorite writers.

Lightly, with purpose. Allow yourself to solve problems in the text without seeming to search for the answer.

Another art can help. I don't see color and tend to paint in one or two color schemes. Terrible stuff.

I'm a writer. Not a painter. One helps with the other, though.

Hope your scenes this season glitter with the master strokes of Velazquez, Eakins, and Sargent.

I'm away until after the feast. Merry Christmas all.

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